Current Issue: March 2014

 
 

In this Issue:

 
Jagatjit launches Premium Whisky
Teacher's 'The Light is within' campaign
Charles Gordon: The Pioneer of Single Malt
The Vault - India's first fine spirits concierge launched in Mumbai
Hailstorms and unexpected showers act as a dampener for Nashik wine industry
Reduction of carbon footprint: A viable business choice
For the love of Gin
Wine Market in India to Sparkle, says Vinexpo
Anteprima Toscana 2014 (Part I)
Delhi: Getting High on Bars!
 
 
 

Jagatjit launches Premium Whisky

Jagatjit Industries has upped the ante in its foray into premiumisation with the launch of a new whisky blended with single malt called Royal Pride. The brand was on show at the INDSPIRIT 2014 event and garnered much interest.

With this, the company has taken one big step further in its move to move up the premiumisation ladder with the ever-changing landscape of the Indian liquor industry.

Royal Pride is available in Delhi for Rs 600 a bottle and for Rs 570 in Punjab and Haryana and is being bottled at Hamira in Punjab. Jagatjit had also earlier launched another brand, King Henry VIII Scotch whisky, in selected markets. The makers of the famed Aristocrat whisky had acquired a bouquet of brands from Scotland's George Sinclair & Sons, in an effort to tap into the growing thirst for Scotch malts in the domestic market.

The Scottish family-owned firm has brands like King Henry VIII, 16-yearold single malt Clan Sinclair and Spirit Ascending. King Henry, a blended Scotch whiskey, is up against 100 Pipers and Teacher's. The bulk whiskies will be imported and bottled in India.

 

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Teacher's 'The Light is within' campaign

Teacher's, the flagship brand of Beam Inc. takes cue from Rudyard Kipling's poem 'IF' to perk up its face value…

Teacher's is all set to woo the consumers with its global campaign 'The Light is Within'. The television commercial has been directed by celebrated Director duo Anthony Atanasio and Valerie Martinez. Shot in Thailand and creatively directed by Publicis India, the central theme of TVC narrates a story about achievers from different walks of life, who have kept integrity intact, despite all the challenges and debacles. The commercial has knitted the essence of the poetry together through a vivid portrayal of people with intriguing backdrop.

With an aim to identify the passion within, the TVC starts with a ship captain neck deep in the water and a wreck ship in the background. Illuminated with a golden light within the water he says “If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs and blaming it on you”. Besides, other celebrated faces, one of the scene also features Indian actress and model Kittu Gidwani.

 

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Charles Gordon: The Pioneer of Single Malt

Often referred as 'Mr Scotch' by his peers, Charles Gordon steered William Grant & Sons into success and made it a global idea with its single malts.

Charles Grant Gordon, the great grandson of the founder of William Grant & Sons died last year at the age of 86 in New York on December 21st 2013, after a short illness. Born in Scotland on 21 August 1927, Charles Gordon passionately carried the legacy forward and has been ascribed with turning single malt Scotch into a worldwide drink when he decided to put the company marketing force behind Glenfiddich 50 years ago and labeling it as single malt. Though there were some malt that were being exported outside Scotland at the same time Glenfiddich became one of the first with a global presence and helped pave the way for the global boom in single malt sales.

During his growing years Charles spent time in and around several Grant's whisky distilleries and got trained as yachtsman. These were the skills he never lost. He was an avid traveler and went on selling Grant's whisky all over the world, choosing distributors and overseeing the building of innovative new facilities. Charles Gordon became a director in 1953 and in six decades under his leadership Gordon undertook some distinguishing developments in its product range and earned international recognition. In 1956 the company went on creating radical and innovative triangular bottles both for the blended product and for the Glenfiddich single malt, which gave it a unique distinction. Under his tenure as the Managing Director in 1963 Gordon supervised a distillery at Girvan in Ayrshire. Passionate and industrious Gordon relentlessly worked towards expansion and was dedicated to raise awareness about Scotch so as to make it an aspirational drink for the then middle class, which was emerging. He was dedicated to create a higher quality blend. Besides, warmth and magnetism, it was his inimitable discernment and long-term vision that made William Grant & Sons a celebrated name across the world.

 

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The Vault - India's first fine spirits concierge launched in Mumbai

India's first concierge for curated fine spirits experiences, The Vault was recently launched in Mumbai. The handcrafted collection of The Vault's whiskies, rums, vodkas, gins, tequilas and cognacs hailing from far off lands like Guyana, St. Lucia, Trinidad, Mexico, France, England and Scotland are each a story unto themselves. Keshav Prakash, the founder has personally visited each of the distilleries to handpick The Vault's collection.

The passion of the distillers, the stories of their craft, the history of the ingredients, the tales of the stills and the soul of the spirit comes alive with every sip at The Vault. The concierge creates this platform to acquaint connoisseurs and seekers alike to the culture and appreciation of fine spirits. India's first and only BNIC certified Cognac Educator, Keshav Prakash studied distilling at the Herriot Watt University in Edinburgh. The founder and director of The Vault, Prakash whose domain of passion is fine spirits, admits he doesn't know much about wine, and beer would be too much of volume.

A selection of spirits ranging from whisky, rum, cognac, gin, vodka and Tequila are all in The Vault's portfolio. Each of the brands in The Vault's roster is independently owned (not by a conglomerate). Scotland has no more than 10 independent distillers; of which The Vault already represents five. Buffalo Trace Bourbon is soon going to be introduced. Each of the producers and brands are award winning names which have made a certain 'cut' in their respective category. Kichoman is one of five Scottish single malts being offered by The Vault. Other drinks in their portfolio range from Sipsmith gin, a London dry gin distilled in London to Delamain cognac, a house with a heritage of refining that goes back to 1824.

 

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Hailstorms and unexpected showers act as a dampener for Nashik wine industry

With the recent drastic climate change in the form of unexpected downpours and hailstorms, Maharashtra's agricultural sector is suffering a huge loss. Due to the destruction of grape crops in the wine capital of India, Nashik is going through a rough patch. The industry is apprehensive if the climate of Nashik has rendered it almost impossible to come up with a grape harvest to satisfy the market demand. Or the supply of wines is good enough to fulfill the demands even after such adverse weather conditions? Ambrosia presents a study.

Unseasonal rains accompanied by gusty winds and hailstorm in the otherwise hot and dry month of March has destroyed standing crops of cereals, vegetables and fruits (especially grapes) over four lakh hectares of land across eight districts in the Marathwada region. In Nashik district, hailstorms devastated crops in Malegaon, Kalwan, Nandgaon, Dindori, Niphad and Sinnar tehsils. Heavy damage to about 20 lakh hectares of crops has been estimated due to these unseasonal rains and hailstorms. The sudden change in weather has resulted in the loss of cattle life and the destruction of other farmland properties, leading to a spate of farmer suicides across the state. Some social activists peg the farmer suicides at 80-100. The worst hit regions include Vidarbha, Marathwada and Northern and Western Maharashtra.

Grape crops have been badly affected. The harvest which was in the berryplucking stage has been completely destroyed. At many places, vineyards have been flattened, crushing the berryladen plants. The layer of hailstones that remained for hours on the fields, froze the grape roots, giving the leaves and fruits frost bite. The cost of production for one acre of grapes is more than Rs 1.25 lakh, and for export-quality grapes, it's about Rs 1.75 lakh. The adverse weather is expected to incur a huge loss on the industry by cutting export volumes.

 

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Reduction of carbon footprint: A viable business choice

With the reduction of carbon footprints becoming a pertinent issue, alcobev industry is slowly resorting to recycling of natural resources. Shikha Swaroop reports.

As the alcobev industry eventually opens up to the concept of environmental sustenance, focus has shifted to sustainability. The word which was first coined in 1987 is based on a simple principle of sustenance and maintenance of the natural resources so as to create both socially and economically viable condition has become the latest buzz. And as the global awareness and concern regarding the impact of climate change continues to be an imperative issue, the alcohol business vertical seek to adopt a feasible ground both in terms of reduced cost and risk while reusing and recycling the resources. Rajesh Kumar, divisional Vice President-Operations, UB Group says, “In the beginning, sustainability remained as more a CSR agenda than a business agenda, but today it is a business need and not a social corporate responsibility.”

Liquor companies across the world including India have come up with policies that aim at reducing their Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions. The initiative which started globally as one of the CSR agenda by the companies has now become a business need of the hour.

 

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For the love of Gin

Gin has made a huge comeback and how. It is predicted to be the drink of 2014. Long before the debate, 'which one is better', vodka or gin martini broke out; gin had established itself as a drink of the elite. Though the drink had a checkered history, since its inception in early 17th century, gin has innovated, evolved and bounced back to be in the limelight. Today, every fancy bar menu is incomplete without a list of gin cocktails. Since gin is back and ruling the cocktail scene, many of the world renowned bartenders are also happy to flaunt their gin of choice.

When Tim Stones, International Brand Ambassador, Beefeater Gin is asked which his favourite gin is, he does not shy away from saying its Beefeater. “Not because I am associated with the brand, but because of the versatility of this gin which is made with 9 botanicals. While most of the London dry gins are a combination of these botanicals, only in Beefeater can you distinctly find all nine of them.” Being the only London gin still distilled in London helps the brand as well. Stones is now training to be a distiller for Beefeater and agrees that it is a lot of hard work to produce 30 million cases every year with only five people working at the Beefeater distillery. So what are these nine botanicals? In a recently conducted special gin tasting at Grand Hyatt, Mumbai, Stones presented a group of journalists and gin lovers four famous gin brands, Beefeater, Gordon's, Tanqueray and Bombay Sapphire.

 

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Wine Market in India to Sparkle, says Vinexpo

The latest market study by Vinexpo/The IWSR Report signals wine consumption in India expected to increase to 2.1 million cases by 2017, 73% higher than 1.21 million cases in 2013.

Indian wine market
Wine market in India is showing an upswing. Thanks to the ever increasing inclination of Indians towards the drink. In 2012, wine consumption increased by 11.8% in India which continued in 2013. The IWSR study forecasts a striking recovery in the market with assumed growth of 73.5%.The study only concerns light grape-based wines with less than 15% alcohol. The study, however, does not take into account fruit-flavoured communion wines or fortified wines.

It has been estimated that Indians predominantly drink red wine more than any other and red wine accounts for more than 61% of the wines drunk in the country. And this segment is expected to grow by 71.6% between 2013 and 2017. The increased local consumption has also paved a way for the growth of white wine and its consumption is set to increase by 71% during the same time frame. Indian sparkling wine consumption will double in the next five years. Australia has become the leading supplier of imported wine to India. One out of four bottle consumed is imported from Australia. Australia has increased its sales of wine to India by 71.7% between 2008 and 2012.

 

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Anteprima Toscana 2014 (Part I)

Anteprima Toscana 2014 was special in many ways. A new addition to the programme this year was tasting of Vernacchio di San Gimignano which was earlier organised by the Consorzio di San Gimignano individually just before the main Anteprima event in Florence. Also the global announcement of a new category in the Chianti Classico wine pyramid was news that kept the event buzzing throughout with discussions ranging from its affectability to viability. Rojita Tiwari reports.

It is always interesting to be a part of an international press event and tasting. Besides the regular exchange of pleasantries and discussion about markets in each other’s countries, sometimes, if you have managed to make some friends whom you meet regularly at these events, there is constructive exchange of ideas, opinion and stories which you may have missed in the midst of all that travel, meetings and scheduled tastings. This year the new category – Gran Selezione found place in most of these conversations. The event happened at the grand Palazzo Vecchio in Florence followed by a gala dinner at Palazzo Corsini on 17th February.

Chianti Classico became the first denomination in the world in modern times to introduce a new type, Gran Selezione, at the top of its quality pyramid. Though the talks about this new category were on for quite some time, the official announcement was done only this year. As Giuseppe Liberatore, Director General, Chianti Classico Consortium explained, “With the creation of this new category Gran Selezione, we have now three categories, Chianti Classico, Chianti Classico Reserva and Gran Selezione. This will benefit the members so as the consortium. The concept of the pyramid gives us a chance to choose and establish the price of a wine. This will explain why the top end is expensive. The wines are different. So it’s important to promote different levels. I think it’s not too complicated to understand.” The new label will distinguish Chianti Classico wines from other Chianti wines.

 

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Delhi: Getting High on Bars!

Delhi, the capital city where the hip and happening rule the roost, pub culture is taking over people's palate. And tipplers are making a beeline for their choice of swig at these drinking den, we list a few…

1911 Bar, Imperial Hotel
Built in 1931 by Blomfield; one of Edwin Lutyen's associates 1911 bar is a fine example of architectural grandeur and finesse. The décor is a tasteful interpretation of colonial era with soft Montana leather chairs, period portraiture, stained glass roof and wood paneling. The bar offers over 500 types of beverages with lounge and club music playing in the background. The two private rooms the 'Hardinge Room' and the 'Lutyens & Baker Room' here are remarkable piece of architecture. The Hardinge room flaunts photographs of uniforms of various battalions of Bristish Raj and the Victoria across, which reminds of the period. The bar is not meant for young crowd but is usually filled with middle aged guests and high number of foreign nationals. Chak de Phatte, its signature cocktail made with eight kinds of saffron and liquor is the star attraction.

Shanghai Club, ITC Welcome Hotel
Shanghai Club the Chinese Cuisine & Sushi Bar restaurant of ITC Hotel, serves Chinese cuisine and also has a Sushi Bar. Menu has been designed by Grand Master Chef Liang Xiao Qing from China. An engraved textured mural of a cherry blossom tree adorns one of the 50 feet wall of the restaurant, giving it a mystic lure. Besides, thick slabs of red wood envelopes the contemporary sushi bar which serve as tables, there is also mattress seating with lap tables for a traditional Japanese feel. The well stocked glass wine cellar has almost all the brands to choose from. For those who love their drinks mixed the bar have signature cocktails at the stellar bar. The menu has been conceptualised in a very interesting manner where the chefhas picked and chosen various authentic cuisine. Inspiration is taken from Shanghai Sichuan, Hunan and Beijingregion of China.

 

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