Current Issue: August 2014

 
 

In this Issue:

 
Kerala set prohibition road map by shutting down 730 bars
‘Rule Your Evenings’ with Mont Castle
Ready to Drink and ready to go
‘Keep Travelling’ Blue Label Travellers' Trunk comes to India
Price Elasticities in Alcoholic Drinks
Magical Molecules
More than just malts at Beerfest Asia 2014
The Jameson Loft at The Barking Deer
 
 
 

Kerala set prohibition road map by shutting down 730 bars

Prohibition has never succeeded globally, and even in India. Many politicians in an effort to win votes have introduced prohibition, only to reverse the policy after elections. Kerala is all set to flirt with prohibition. The Congress-led UDF government led by Oommen Chandy will shut down all bars and enforce prohibion in 10 years.

The Kerala government has decided to shut down 730 two, three, and four-star bars, go in for more ‘dry’ days, and bring down the retail outlets of the Kerala State Beverages Corporation (Bevco) by 10% every year and finally making the state ‘dry’ by 2024. In an unprecedented move, the government will not restore licenses of the 418 closed bars and, after obtaining legal advice, ask the 312 bars that are now open to shut down. All Sundays will also be observed as ‘dry’ days. This would be in addition to the ‘dry’ days already in force. Toddy shops and wine and beer parlours would, however, remain open.

This prohibition stance comes just when Mizoram ended 7-years of prohibition, while its sister state Nagaland is also contemplating a similar move. Historically, even the United States had to roll back prohibition in the 1930s because it spawned an illegal, parallel liquor trade and a drug trade run by the mafia a by-product of the prohibition days.

In an unprecedented move, the government will not restore licenses of the 418 closed bars and, after obtaining legal advice, ask the 312 bars that are now open to shut down. The Kerala high court has meanwhile asked the state government to amend the existing Abkari laws in accordance with the revised foreign liquor policy.

 

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‘Rule Your Evenings’ with Mont Castle

Mont Castle, from the stable of John Distilleries Pvt Ltd (JDPL), introduced a new campaign recently. In an exclusive interview with Ambrosia, Paul John, CMD, John Distilleries speaks about the creation of a new brand identity, the newly launched Paul John single malts, and the company’s performance at large.

Mont Castle’s new campaign showcases how this brandy is sought as an elixir to the aspirational lower middle class after a hard day. It smoothly transcends a physically drained person into emotional tranquility. Mont Castle, a French grape brandy, is crafted to perfection using specially chosen grapes in the time-honored pot-still production method. Paul John, CMD, John Distilleries said, “The new campaign was launched in June this year and has picked up momentum in a couple of months. It has been positioned to give the consumers a power to choose a good and modestly priced brandy. Mont Castle is smooth and wonderful tasting and we wanted to push this brand image for the aspirational middle class Indian.” With the campaign ‘Rule Your Evenings’, John Distilleries tries to provide a platform to make customers an active part of the brand management. The customer engagement activities include brand stories, talent contests, tips on finance, and lifestyle gifts.

“The campaign has been highly effective in the markets it has been launched, with an increasing growth percentage in most states. In Kerala, the growth rate increased from 7% to 10%, from 2.5% to 4% in Andhra Pradesh, from 3.5% to 6% in Telangana and from 17% to 20% in Pondicherry,” informed Paul John. “The campaign is gradually picking up in all the southern markets, with current sales of 1000-1200 cases in Kerala, 15000 cases in Karnataka and 12000-15000 cases in Andhra Pradesh,” he added.

 

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Ready to Drink and ready to go

The Ready-to-Drink alcobev market in India is expanding at an impressive rate of 30% and with young consumers now forming a huge chunk of the drinking population, signs ahead are for further growth and variety. While the range of RTDs is still limited, led by Bacardi’s BREEZER, new entrants like Flip Funk and unique offerings like Teacher’s Scotch & Soda and Scotch & Cola have given the consumer a chance to experiment and choose his or her choice on any given day while enjoying the experience of a low alcohol drink, often flowered in fruity mixes. Sniffer Vodka was another in the line of products which made it to the market earlier whereas UB’s Shotz and Cruiser had long back been withdrawn. Brands like Xotica and Veba also fell by the wayside.

The RTD market in India is pegged at over 1.8 million cases and this is a very small number still. Therefore, the space for growth is immense, especially in a country which has a hot climate and a thirst for chilled beverages. Bacardi, which has almost total dominance of this market on the back of its BREEZER varieties, recently upped the ante by launching Indi Mix, the first time a global beverage brand has introduced Indian flavours. The two new flavours designed especially for the Indian palate are Nimbu Paani and Aam Panna.

Launched in India in the early 2000s, BREEZER has been particularly popular among the young consumers with a range of beverages spanning multiple flavours. The brand will introduce other flavours under the BREEZER Indi Mix umbrella soon. When Bacardi launched BREEZER in India they did so at a great risk – it was a colorful, fruit flavoured, low alcohol content beverage in a brown spirits and strong beer dominated market. “Breezer as a product has done well in India and is still growing. Being socially acceptable drinks amongst younger consumers and women, BREEZER with its taste profile and range of flavours is a match for the consumer in need of a refreshing alcobev product,” says Manish Seth, Director, Sales and Marketing, Bacardi India.

 

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‘Keep Travelling’ Blue Label Travellers' Trunk comes to India

A Limited Edition Travellers’ Trunk of Johnnie Walker Blue Label has made its way to India and is creating waves. The trunk, for which Diageo teamed up with Alfred Dunhill, celebrates the concept of a journey shared and as part of its campaign, the company has roped in celebrated adventurer and activist, Jason Lewis through a film on 'Celebrating a Journey Shared’.

Based on Dunhill’s classic vintage car trunk, the modern design features the signature Johnnie Walker Blue Label blue colouring, leather straps and handles with Sam Brown stud finish, offset by the contours of a map carved into birch wood. The idea is that the Limited Edition Travellers’ Trunk contains everything needed to enjoy Blue Label during a journey shared including a limited edition bottle featuring Dunhill's gunmetal finish, four engraved crystal glasses, a whisky funnel, a pair of ice tongs and a Dunhill hunter flask. Only 500 pieces of the Travellers’ Trunk will be produced globally. The Collection will be available through exclusive retailers with price on request.

“It’s a brand partnership where we found the right partner. We’ve been neighbours in London for nearly 100 years and you can envision Alfred Dunhill, the clothing and luggage company, almost 100 years ago buying Johnnie Walker whisky and the people in the Johnnie Walker family going and buying cigars and lighters from Alfred Dunhill. So now in this partnership, it’s a way for both of us to reach markets that we wouldn’t ordinarily talk to,” said Jonathan Driver, Global Brand Ambassador, Johnnie Walker Blue Label.

 

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Price Elasticities in Alcoholic Drinks

Findings from the Euromonitor International industry demand model show that price elasticity – the responsiveness of volume consumption to a change in product price – varies significantly across different alcoholic drinks categories. Interestingly, price elasticity for the majority of alcoholic drinks categories is generally higher in the developed markets as opposed to emerging and developing markets.

Price Elasticity as an Analytical Measure
Price elasticity allows estimation of the effect a particular price change has on the volume sales of that category. The sign of price elasticity is typically negative, as price and volume demand are expected to be inversely related for the majority of products - if price rises, people tend to consume less of that product. Generally, the demand for a product is said to be (relatively) inelastic when price elasticity is (in absolute terms) less than -1.0, meaning, changes in price have a relatively small effect on the quantity of the product demanded, and it is elastic when price elasticity is (in absolute terms) more than -1.0.

This article focuses on category level price elasticity rather than brand level elasticity. Price elasticity at a category level shows how strongly consumers react to a price change, and whether they are likely to switch to another category as a result of a price change. For example, if the price of beer goes up, consumers may choose to drink less beer and more wine. The strength of the price elasticity shows whether this switch is likely to happen if price level rises across the board in the category. This is different from brand level price elasticity, which measures inner-category competition between brands, and the effect of price change a particular brand on its sales.

 

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Magical Molecules

Molecular cocktails are being touted as the next big thing in mixology. But these cocktails are yet to make their entry in bar menus. Two Delhi based mixologists tell us what they can whip up magically with these new techniques. Lopamudra Ganguly finds out.

Can you imagine a drink that you can swallow for its novelty? Do you want this novelty in taste or in look or both? I am talking about molecular mixology, its potential, and how the trend is already setting on sail a barge of fresh thinking to jazz up cocktails worldwide. So much so that some bartenders now go to the extent of calling themselves bar chefs. For those not in the loop, molecular mixology is a drift coiling out of molecular gastronomy. Though the term ‘molecular and physical gastronomy’ was coined by Hungarian physicist Nicholas Kurti and French physical chemist Herve in 1992, a lot of credit goes to Ferran Adria of the El Bulli restaurant in Spain (now closed for a year for revival) for taking molecular gastronomy to far greater heights. In molecular gastronomy, scientific methods are used to create various forms and textures by using food-grade chemicals to enliven a dish.

Similarly, in molecular mixology, by using a range of instruments and scientific processes, liquids are transformed into other forms, say foam, pearls, powder, gels, sprays, etc. and are used to add a spark to cocktails. Specification is what mixologists call this process of converting liquids into spheres, say, into little caviars or globes the size of an orange or a golf ball, etc. Then there are techniques used to add new flavours to the brew, at times of something uneatable, say, infusing the aroma of a perfume or that of a cigar you like into your drink.

Though bartenders traditionally have been doing interesting things like layering cocktails with a spoon, etc. to make the taste and look come out differently, this is a whole new ball game. Simply because without the instruments, you are pretty powerless! Not just bartenders, many amateur cocktail makers too are having a lot of fun in several countries these days because of easy availability of the instruments. By mixing art with science with a range of devices, sky is the limit of your creativity here.

 

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More than just malts at Beerfest Asia 2014

Beerfest offers a huge variety of international brews to satisfy even the most thirsty and discerning drinker.

Apart from a wide range of new and unusual craft beers and ciders, the sixth Beerfest Asia in Singapore also served as a showcase for whiskies, bourbons, sakes and cocktails from all over the world. One of the highlights was a range of premium and potent shots of whisky handed out at the Beam Suntory Whisky & Wine Marquee. This was in keeping with the motive of the festival to go beyond showcasing malts. “Beerfest Asia is unlike traditional beer festivals. We embrace ciders, wines, liquors and also whiskies. There's something for everyone, from those who are new to drinking craft beers to connoisseurs,” said Edward Chia, festival director of Beerfest Asia and managing director of Timbre Group. The four-day festival was held at the Marina Promenade from 12-15 June 2014. Beer enthusiasts had the opportunity to sample more than 400 beers from 30 countries. These included Italian beer 32 Via Dei Birrai Admiral; Cheeky Rascal Methode Traditionally Apple Cider from Australia; Obolon Zlata Praha, a light pilsner beer from Ukraine; and British black ale Black Betty.

Revellers at Beerfest Asia 2014 were also exposed to several unique beers that made their Singapore debut, and in some cases, their first foray into the Asia markets. These included Blue Sky Pilsner (4.5% alcohol), an award winning beer brewed in traditional Czech-style by Blue Sky Brewery, which is based in Cairns, Australia. Brought in by Vespucci and Sons International Grocers, it is made with imported Premium Saaz hops, for an aromatic and full-flavoured experience. There were also two new brews by German brewery Wunderbar - Wunderbar Pilsner (5% alcohol) and alcohol-free Wunderbeer that offered consumers a fresh yet crisp and light taste that differs from typical draft beers.

 

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The Jameson Loft at The Barking Deer

One inn for the best of two worlds - craft beers and Irish whiskey, The Barking Deer is Mumbai’s own first craft brewpub. With the launch of The Jameson Loft at The Barking Deer, it now offers a place to relish the best Irish whiskey along with the fresh brews from the brewery, under one roof.

Situated in the attic of The Barking Deer in Mumbai, The Jameson Loft aims to cater to a select group of 35-40 guzzlers. The concept of The Jameson Loft evolved in conjunction with Gregory Kroitzsh of The Barking Deer, who is hopeful of popularizing the global trends of consuming Jameson with beer. The Jameson Loft, the first ever exclusive whiskey bar echoes this spirit and culture of Jameson. When John Jameson created Jameson Irish Whiskey in 1780, he also created a culture of whiskey lovers who savour every moment of drinking the “water of life”.

The Barking Deer, one of the most popular bars in Mumbai, served its first craft beer in November of 2013. It was a significant event in Mumbai, as the owner struggled for almost two years to get the license for brewing. With the novel concept of The Jameson Loft, Gregory is now confident of creating another milestone in the city. The Barking Deer has been modeled after popular American brewpubs that founder Gregory frequented before he moved to Mumbai in 2008. The new loft also has a similar Manhattan pub vibe, while exuding the Jameson culture and energy. What started off as casual, unplanned ‘After Hours’ sessions in the attic before it was christened as ‘The Jameson Loft’, soon became hugely popular and a routine affair with the regulars. They started looking forward to the Jameson cocktails, game nights, fun and private evenings with their buddies, formerly referred as The Barking Deer attic.

 

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