Tag Archives: Alchohol

Illicit alcohol trade gives hangover to the nation

Mr. Nakul Pasricha, President Authentication Solution Providers Association gives insights on the cons of the spurious liquor industry.

What is the impact of spurious liquor industry for the government, people and the IMFL industry?

Illicit trade in alcohol undermines sustainable economic growth. Collectively, it affects all the stake holders in society in various terms. While the industry and Government lose revenue, it is the consumer who is impacted the most as illicit trade in liquor poses a serious threat to consumer health. Poor quality or spurious liquor can cause death and serious illness, as seen in connection with several incidents of hooch tragedy in India. According to various media reports more than 150 persons died in India due to hooch tragedies in year 2019.

Excise Duty which is an important source of revenue is continually under threat from the practise of illicit trade. Considerable amount of money which could be used to benefit the government services of a country are being diverted to the pockets of criminals participating in illegal trading. However, more than loss of tax revenue, it could costs Government loss of image/goodwill. The hooch tragedies occur due to illicit liquor consumption eroded the image of state governments which create challenge for state government to ensure consumer confidence.

How can the government streamline the industry to benefit the poorer section of society to get affordable liquor at a price which will deter rampant drinking and the alcobev industry should not be labeled as a sin industry?

There is a direct link between prices and consumption. Post hooch tragedy in Uttar Pradesh, the Department set up a committee, which found that poorer section are using smuggled liquor, as it was available at almost half of the price of Government Country Liquor bottles. This will continue to be an area where careful thought is needed in order to preserve a balance.

What are the challenges of fighting the illicit liquor trade? How can the FSSAI regulate the quality of liquor sold?

Illicit alcohol is prevalent in both developed and developing countries, with no country immune to this threat. For example, the UK government lost £1.3 billion in excise tax revenue in the period 2015-16, and Dutch authorities estimate the annual revenue losses from illicit trade in alcohol at €100 million. Liquor bootlegging in New York City alone is estimated to have cost the city US$1 billion in lost taxes over the past 15 years. The illicit alcohol products are sold as either counterfeits of genuine brands or are unlabelled (Source: TRACEIT.ORG). When producing counterfeits, the forgery goes beyond the product’s label, often including bottle designs and caps.

In India, State Excise Department faces various challenges such as

a) How to combat smuggling and illicit liquor
b) How to ensure fool proof labeling and supply chain? How to ensure consumer confidence
c) How to increase excise revenue and the most important the problem of identification / authentication – How to differentiate fake liquor bottles from genuine?

The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) had last year issued a regulation on alcoholic beverages and the same became effective from April 1. As per this regulation, all liquor bottles need to carry a statutory warning that “consumption of alcohol is injurious to health. Be safe-don’t drink and drive”. So far, it was primarily regulated by excise commissioners and they were only looking at alcoholic content and the toxic substances in alcohol. Now, there are far more elaborate standards that are benchmarked with the global standards and in certain cases, they have taken the Indian context also in consideration. In addition to excise commissioners, the food safety commissioners would also look into the enforcement of these standards.

What role can the excise department play to boost revenue to ensure a win-win situation for the government, the consumer and the industry?

Excise Departments faces various challenges. The key from these are revenue enhancement & protection, as well as to ensure person get genuine products. Anti-Counterfeiting solutions like TAX Stamps (Excise Adhesive Label) plays an important role. We believe that State Excise Departments need to study. he importance of Tax Stamps in the global context and apply such solutions in India.

In India, Excise Department need to think about TAX Stamps as tool beyond tax collection tools. The existence of cheaper, less-sophisticated, less effective stamps and marks potentially dilute the value proposition around their use as platforms to implement the global guidelines. Instead of using it is a mere product, they need to reframe their work on their Tax Stamp Programme as an opportunity for consumer and industry empowerment.

The new generation Tax Stamps with technological innovation in security printing, serialised coding, data processing and mobile communications, can be into sophisticated devices with additional roles that related to product authentication, supply chain security & data intelligence. This will ensure and help State Excise Department in building their policy towards reduced consumption and more revenue.

Will a rationing system deter excessive drinking?

We think this differ to case to case basis and lots depend on State Excise Policy. About half a century ago, broad restrictions on who could purchase alcoholic beverages were fairly common. The most extensive of such systems was the Bratt rationing scheme in Sweden in force until 1955, which assigned a quantitatively defined upper limit for spirits purchases per person with different rations for males and females and for younger age groups. Studies have shown that rationing systems in Greenland, Poland and Sweden reduced alcohol-related harm (Anderson & Baumberg, 2006). In Spitzbergen (Norway) there still exists a rationing system for purchases of alcoholic beverages. However, these research are conducting long time back and need to be done in current geographical scenario.

Source: http://www.euro.who.int/__data/assets/pdf_file/0011/191369/9-Availability-of-alcohol.pdf?ua=1

Can cheap liquor manufacturing companies create a fund to help families affected by alcoholics?

Yes, it can be done in partnership with State Excise Department and various NGO. But, before that there is a need of creating & raising awareness at mass level. There is a need to take preventive as well as long term strategic goals. As preventive steps, there is a need of building an eco-systems where consumer get genuine and authentic product and must be involved in authentication process. In longer term strategy, lot of work need to be done towards liquor standardisation, monitoring of ethyl alcohol etc. Even today, in our hospitals are not well trained for treatment for people suffering from hooch incidents. Post the hooch tragedy in Uttar Pradesh, the Government committed find that there is a lack of guidelines in Hospitals for treatment of patients consuming spurious liquor.

Is banning of illicit liquor the way forward? (I think he means about Prohibition of liquor)?

Prohibition is not the only answer. Many times, prohibition leads to increased illicit liquor business. For example, liquor is prohibited in Gujarat, however, according to a recent study 38% youth in Gujarat consumes alcohol. Other than this, 12% people are consuming other forms of drugs such as cannabis. In last two years, police had seized liquor valued `254 crore. The Government had confirmed that due to prohibition there is an increase in smuggling from neighbouring state. In last two years total case reported 1,32,415 country liquor, 29,989 IMFL liquor. Now the state government is demanding compensation cost from central as they are losing `15,000 crore annually due to prohibition. Similarly in other prohibited state Bihar, the sale of other drugs products has increased significantly. As per latest report from Narcotics Control Bureau, Bihar top the chart in consumption of opium and hashish. In our country 16 crore people consume alcohol whilst 3.1 crore people use cannabis. India needs a comprehensive national policy to tackle alcohol and other forms of additives.

60 years on, NJM builds his Legion

It has been a long innings for N. J. Menon, here he shares the high points of his career. He has now formed a new company NJM Blends.

NJM, as he’s known amongst his friends, has six decades of experience in the Indian Alcohol industry and can undoubtedly be touted as one of the change-makers in the business.

N. Janardana Menon began his career as a chemist in 1959, at the first McDowell & Co. Distillery in Shertallay, Kerala. His unique technical acumen saw him rise to the rank of Unit Head. Subsequently, he became the Technical Director of the UB Group Spirits Division in 1977.

Armed with a sensory superiority that is a privilege of only a chosen few, he moved to Bangalore in 1988 as Vice President-Technical of the UB Group. Here, NJM successfully set up a world-class Technical Centre with CSIR recognition for Chemical & Sensory Analysis, Quality control, Product Development, Training and R&D facilities. He was also instrumental in formulating a Quality Control manual for the Distillery division of the Group. Perfection, precision and passion are among a few of the key attributes that that has truly shaped NJ Menon’s journey. In addition to the years of invaluable experience, training and learning through collaborations from around the world, NJM has amassed an unparalleled knowledge of brewing technology and blending craftsmanship. This exposure has allowed him to evolve his palate, producing unique blends for the Indian and international market.

McDowell’s Single Malt, McDowell’s No 1, Bagpiper, Diplomat, Signature, Gold Riband, Caesar Brandy, Honey Bee brandy, Celebration Rum, Old Cask Rum, Royal Treasure White Rum, Blue Riband Gin Duets and Romanov Vodka are just a few of the 300+ blends that NJM has developed during his career. He was also associated with the development of Black Dog 12 Year Scotch Whisky.

One of India’s most prolific and acknowledged blenders, NJ Menon also holds the unique distinction of having a model installation of his hands at the office of United Spirits, Bangalore.

After a successful tenure, NJM retired as Executive Vice President – Technical of the Spirits division in 1999, but continued as Technical Advisor to the UB Group till 2013.

But retirement only meant the beginning of a new chapter.

While working as a technical consultant to several distilleries, flavour companies and engineering firms, actively engaging in the development of blends, flavours, setting up of malt spirit plants and maturation facilities, he felt the need to do more. Having developed specialty products for clients, the time felt right for NJM to create his own legacy.

Thus, begins the story of Legion.

In September 2018, at the age of 82, Menon registered his flagship enterprise- NJM Blends, a labour of passion and perseverance. The first step towards the journey to create his legacy, the company released its first product in February 2019, a premium blended whisky named Legion. “After retirement in 1999, as a consultant, I developed a number of brands for various companies. Few of them became very popular and have now sold over a million cases. As a result, I was sought after by IMFL manufacturers.”

“This got me thinking – I should have a brand of my own with my name associated with it. I wanted the product to be superior to any existing Indian made whisky and comparable to some of the Indian bottled Scotch whiskeys. Legion is the outcome of my ambition,” explains master blender, NJ Menon.

Why Legion?

“Only a select few deserve a Legion”, reads the product label, and this couldn’t ring truer of the eponymous brand and its brand ambassador. A premium blend that is poised to raise the bar in the Indian liquor industry, Legion promises to be a sensory delight with delicate floral hints, hints of sweet cinnamon and an earthy peat finish.

Legion by NJM Blends is a story of pure passion, expertise and toil. A testament to Menon’s love for the art of blending and his indefatigable ‘spirit’, Legion marks his step into the spotlight.

It is, therefore, only fitting to raise our glasses to the true legend and to us, his ever-faithful Legion.

N. J. Menon makes dreams a reality

Dreams can be achieved if you only continue to believe and strive to make them your reality. This has never been exemplified more than with the life of master blender N. J. Menon.

What are some of the key achievements in your career?

Over a career spanning 60+ years, I have created numerous blends for most of the leading Distillers and bottlers for domestic and export markets, including some of the most popular brands which have gone on to become “millionaires”. As a blender, when a blend meets the customers’ taste preferences and the same is reflected through the sales volumes, it is highly satisfying.

I was instrumental in the development of Gin ‘Duets’ and flavoured vodkas for the first time in India.

During my years with the industry, I have led projects for set up and commission of Malt spirt manufacturing and maturation facilities, too.

In addition, there are quite a few “key” achievements which are close to my heart. Undoubtedly, setting up the Technical Centre for UB’s Spirits Division in 1988 would be one of the biggest – the centre was recognised and appreciated by CSIR for Chemical & Sensory Analysis, QC, Product development and R&D facilities. I was also actively associated with BIS in setting up of Standards for Alcoholic beverages. Leading the team which developed India’s first Single Malt – McDowell’s Single Malt Whisky – was another achievement I am really proud of.

What were the challenges to make the transition to entrepreneurship?

Since my retirement, I have continued as a technical consultant for various liquor manufacturers in India. While consulting cannot be compared to entrepreneurship in its true sense, there was always a desire to launch a portfolio of my own brands. A key challenge was to identify a production partner who will be with us for the long term, and we made progress towards that end in early 2018.

Once we got that out of the way, the finer details needed to be addressed: identifying the right agency for designing the packaging, and vendor partners for sourcing the packaging material, marketing communication, etc. For a person like me who has always focussed on the technical aspects of a product, these were interesting challenges to overcome.

The other challenge of course is finance, since we are currently running on our own steam, though many well-wishers have indicated their interest in providing funds for the venture.

Do you feel you have sufficient experience to take the brand and the company forward?

Absolutely, I wouldn’t have ventured into it if I did not feel confident about it. As far as products are concerned, my experience of knowing the Indian consumers’ taste, even as it changed over the years, will be a great advantage. Moreover, we see the Indian customer is now willing to experiment (and here I am not referring to liquor industry alone) and you cannot get a better time to launch a new product.

How is your product different from those in the market place especially in terms of quality, taste, colour which are your key strengths?

Legion Premium Whisky is an exceptionally balanced blend of Highland and Islay Malts and the taste is not something you will find in any of the regular Indian whiskies. We were clear we wanted to create a product for the discerning consumer, and the initial feedback has been extremely positive. If you talk of the colour, too, Legion stands out with a strong golden-brown hue which is often seen only in leading Scotch brands.

What are your immediate goals for the company?

We would like to establish Legion Premium Whisky as the best in segment blended whisky in the country. Currently we are now in Goa, and before the end of the financial year we would like to roll it out to couple of other key markets too.

Do you see your branching into other segments of IMFL like Rum, Brandy, Vodka and Gin?

Well, the obvious answer is ‘yes’. However, we would like to take it slowly and look at a few niche segments and therefore we will not be looking at a spectrum of products for the immediate future.

Are you looking at a pan India distribution?

Yes, absolutely. Again, we want to play it step-by-step and make sure we do justice in the markets we step into.

The Impact of E-commerce on Alcohol Trading

IWSR research indicates that 1.8% of the value of all global beverage alcohol is now Sold through E-commerce

Like others, the drinks industry has recognized what a critical medium the digital environment is to interact with consumers, inform them, learn from them and ultimately to sell to them. Regulation has made the online retailing of alcohol more complicated than other sectors and this has stifled development, but this is changing.

IWSR Drinks Market Analysis’ global database now captures just how effective drinks players have been at selling digitally. Although variances inevitably exist between markets, the results for 2018 show that 1.8% of the value of all alcoholic drinks traded around the globe is now sold through e-commerce.

It is wine that has best harnessed the selling power of the online retail environment. Last year as much as 3.6% of all wine value sales stemmed from e-commerce outlets, a figure that translates into nearly US$8bn of sales.

The rapid expansion of wine sales online has even threatened the viability of independent “bricks and mortar” wine stores in the UK. Online wine sales in the country have reached 6.5% of total sales value, prompting one leading wine retailer, Majestic, to announce that they are to sell off much of their retail estate to concentrate on their online business, Naked Wines.

The extensive number of wine producers and the diversity of choice has meant that a culture of experimentation has always existed within the wine sector. The online environment has proved to be well placed to service wine drinkers’ curiosity and to educate and inform consumption choices. The dramatic expansion of online wine marketplaces like Vivino, which after just nine years of trading now claims to have 10 million different wines and as many as 35 million users, has illustrated just how compatible wine selling is within the digital space. Sales of spirits through e-commerce may not be as pronounced as wine, but IWSR research shows that around US$6.5b of spirits were sold online in 2018, a figure that represents 2% of all global spirits’ value sales. For example, ecommerce is reported to now be Pernod Ricard’s fastest growing channel.

Direct selling on owned online platforms has proved less effective for spirits operators than partnerships or acquisitions with established online retailers and delivery services, perhaps because it compromised choice to exclusively sell their own brands. The recent trend has been for operators to partner with existing online platforms to maximise exposure and to showcase their brands from a different angle to consumers.

The development of the online marketplace is happening at different speeds with drinkers in some markets quicker to adopt new purchasing practices and habits than others. The reported 800m Chinese internet users have been quick to embrace the advent of e-commerce. The explosion in smart phone use, social media apps and mobile e-commerce has facilitated this shift in buying habits and meant that 6.5% of off-premise sales of all alcoholic drinks are now ordered online in China.

The e-commerce channel has proved particularly popular for wine sales in China. Encouraged by fierce competition, which has ensured low prices and fast delivery, online sales now account for 9% of sales value – that is a fifth of all off-premise wine sales, as well as online spirits sales of almost 4%.

Even in markets like China where e-commerce penetration is already comparatively high, it can be assumed that the e-commerce channel will continue to take share from “bricks and mortar” retail. The development of the channel will be fuelled by convenience, competitive pricing, a quickening speed of delivery and by rising digital competence.

The shift to digital platforms will change the alcoholic drinks landscape forever, providing a marketplace for a plethora of brands and concepts that are no longer reliant on winning shelf space from a few major retail chains.

The future alcoholic beverage market will be a more diverse and interesting place as a result.

Worldwide Alcohol Consumption Declines -1.6%

IWSR 2018 Global Beverage Alcohol Data shows growth in spirits, but beer and wine volume is down; market expected to grow by 3% over next five years.
Beverage alcohol drinkers across the globe consumed a total of 27.6bn nine-litre cases of alcohol in 2018, but while that number represents a decrease of -1.6% from the year prior, new data from the IWSR forecasts that total alcohol consumption will steadily increase over the next five years, to 28.5bn cases in 2023. In terms of retail value, the global market for beverage alcohol in 2018 was just over $1tn, a number which the IWSR expects to grow 7% by 2023 as consumers continue to trade up to higher-quality products. These figures – and more than 1.5m other points of data – are included in the just-released IWSR Drinks Market Analysis Global Database, which also shows:
Gin was the Leading Global Growth Category in 2018, and Forecasted to Reach 88m Cases by 2023
The largest gain in global beverage alcohol consumption in 2018 was in the gin category, which posted total growth of 8.3% versus 2017. Pink gin was a key growth driver, helping the category sell more than 72m nine-litre cases globally last year. In the UK alone, gin was up 32.5% in 2018, and the Philippines (the world’s large

st gin market) posted growth of 8%, fueled by a booming cocktail scene and premiumisation of the market. By 2023, the gin category is expected to reach 88.4m cases globally, with particular strong growth in key markets such as the UK, Philippines, South Africa, Brazil, Uganda, Germany, Australia, Italy, Canada and France. Notably, Brazil has emerged as a new hotspot for the categ ory, with volumes there more than doubling last year and forecasted to grow at 27.5% CAGR 2018-2023, as the gin-and-tonic trend has increased in upmarket bars of São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro.
Consumption of Whisky and Agave-Based Spirits Continues to Increase
Spurred by innovation in whisky cocktails and highballs, the global whisky category increased by 7% last year, driven in large part by a strong Indian economy (whisky grew by 10.5% in India, as consumers continue to trade up in the category). The US and Japan posted 5% and 8% growth, respectively. The IWSR forecasts whisky to grow by 5.7% CAGR from 2018 to 2023, to almost 581m nine-litre cases. Also, continued interest in tequila and mezcal (especially in the US), and innovation in more premium variants and cocktails, drove the agave-based spirits category to 5.5% global growth in 2018 – and is expected to post 4% growth over the next five years (2018-2023 CAGR).
Mixed Drinks and Cider Grow
The mixed drinks category (which includes premixed cocktails, long drinks, and flavoured alcoholic beverages) grew 5% globally in 2018. By 2023, it is projected that more than 597m nine-litre cases of mixed drinks will be consumed across the world. The growth is backed by continued strong gains in ready-to-drink (RTD) cans in the US an d Japan, the category’s two largest markets. In Japan, most RTDs are locally made and almost exclusive to Japan. Their popularity is partly due to the fact that they are relatively dry, which makes them more food-friendly and sessionable. In the US, the popularity of alcohol seltzers has been a tremendous engine for growth in the RTD market. In the cider category, as investment levels in those products continue to rise, almost 270m cases are expected by 2023, a 2.0% CAGR 2018-2023. Both of those categories (mixed drinks and cider) are taking share from beer as perceived accessibility increases (less bitter, easier to drink).
Vodka, Liqueurs, and Cane Spirits are in Decline
Vodka lost volume in 2018 (-2.6%) as the market for lower-priced brands continued its decline in Russia and the Ukraine (two of the largest markets for this spirit). Higher-priced vodkas, however, showed a more positive trend last year. Nonetheless, the outlook for total vodka over the next five years remains sluggish as the category is forecasted at -1.7% CAGR 2018-2023. Also in decline is the flavoured spirits category (liqueurs), which dropped by -1.5% globally in 2018, and is expected to continue to slip in 2019 before rebounding slightly in 2020. Cane spirits (primarily Brazilian cachaça) was down -1.6% last year, and is forecasted to lose another 4.5m cases by 2023.
Beer Continued to Lose Volume in 2018, but is Expected to Rebound
Global beer declined -2.2% in 2018, impacted greatly from volume decreases in China (-13%). Other large markets such as the US and Brazil also fell (-1.6% and -2.3%, respectively), while Mexico and Germany saw growth (6.6% and 1%, respectively). The future outlook for beer, however, paints a more positive picture, as the category is expected to show a slight increase in 2019 and post a 0.7% CAGR 2018-2023.
Wine Volume Declines, but Value Increases
Wine, which had posted strong global growth in 2017, lost -1.6% in volume in 2018 as wine consumption declined in major markets such as China, Italy, France, Germany and Spain (the US market was flat). However, though consumers are drinking less wine, they’re increasingly drinking better – pushing wine value to increase. Globally, the retail value of wine is projected at $224.5bn by 2023, up from $215.8bn in 2018. The one bright spot in wine volume is the sparkling wine category, which is expected to show a five-year CAGR of 1.17% 2018-2023, driven in large part by prosecco.
Low- and No-Alcohol Products on the Rise
Low- and no-alcohol brands are showing significant growth in key markets as consumers increasingly seek better-for-you products, and explore ways to reduce their alcohol intake. Growth of no-alcohol beer is expected at 8.8%, and low-alcohol beer at 2.8%. No-alcohol still wine is forecasted at 13.5%, and low-alcohol still wine at 5.6%. Growth of no-alcohol mixed drinks is predicted at 8.6%. (Above figures are all CAGR 2018-2023.)
Top Ten Performing Global Markets, 2018-2023
A look at the world’s fastest-growing beverage alcohol markets shows an emergence across a variety of developing countries. A combination of growing legal-drinking-age populations and healthy economies is driving some of this growth, which is expected to continue over the next five years. “Every year our analysts spend months traveling the world to speak with suppliers, wholesalers, retailers, and other beverage alcohol professionals to assess what is happening market by market in this fast-changing business,” says Mark Meek, the IWSR’s CEO. “The raw data we collect is enormously valuable, but equally important is what that data tells us in terms of trends, challenges, and opportunities facing the industry.”

Scotch Whisky makes strong Economic Impact

With the Brexit debate dominating British politics, the fate of Scotch, the money spinner for Scotland will be closely watched.

The Scotch Whisky industry is strategically important to the economies of Scotland and the United Kingdom. This report – building on work by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) – explores Scotch Whisky’s direct contribution to GVA, international trade, employment, supply chain and revenue through excise duty. The contribution of the Scotch Whisky industry to the UK economy has grown by 10% since 2016 to £5.5bn.

A new report by the Scotch Whisky Association, building on research carried out by the Centre for Economic and Business Research (CEBR), also reveals Scotland’s national drink generates two-thirds of all spirits Gross Value Added (GVA) in the UK. The industry has been buoyed in recent years by record exports, reaching £4.7bn in 2018, and several new distilleries beginning production and opening their doors to tourists.

This success comes despite the industry continuing to pay the fourth highest duty rates in the EU, and one of the highest of spirit producing nations globally. Recent freezes to UK duty have helped the industry to reinforce its vital importance to the UK economy. Karen Betts, Chief Executive of the SWA, said:“This research shows the huge contribution that our industry plays to both the Scottish and UK economies.

“Significantly, the research shows that our industry’s GVA increased by 10% to £5.5bn between 2016 and 2018, as a result of Scotch Whisky companies’ continued export success and the industry’s consistent investment – over £500 million in the last 5 years – in production, distribution, marketing and tourism.

“Despite the challenges of Brexit, this is investment that continues to flow, with more projects planned and more distilleries set to open – a sign that the Scotch Whisky industry remains confident about the future. This is great news for our many employees, our investors, supply chain and, of course, for our consumers all over the world, who love Scotch. “This report also highlights the high rate of domestic tax that Scotch Whisky faces in the UK. In the US, Scotch and other whiskies are taxed at just 27% of the rate that HM Treasury taxes us here at home. We will continue to press the Chancellor for fairer treatment of Scotch Whisky in our domestic market, which reflects the vital economic contribution the thousands of people who work in whisky make to the UK economy every day.”

Scotch Whisky provides £3.8bn in direct in GVA to Scotland – helped by regulations in place that requires all Scotch Whisky to be distilled and matured for at least three years in Scotland. This means Scotch Whisky contributes more than double than life sciences (£1.5bn) to the Scottish economy, supporting more than 42,000 jobs across the UK, including 10,500 people directly in Scotland, and 7,000 in rural communities.

The sector was found to perform a crucial role in driving productivity across Scotland. The manufacturer of beverages in Scotland – dominated by Scotch – produces £210,505 GVA per employee. Comparatively, the industry is more productive than the energy sector (including renewables) at £173,511 per head, life sciences at £93,735 per head, and creative industries at £60,712 per head.

Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury Robert Jenrick MP said: “I’m delighted to see how this important sector is thriving. “We are supporting the Scotch whisky success story by freezing duty on spirits again this year. “Our record of reductions and freezes to alcohol duties have provided more than £4bn of support to the drinks sector here in the UK.” Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing MSP said: “I welcome the contribution that the Scotch Whisky industry makes to the Scottish Economy. “The industry’s performance is testament to the hard work of those who work in this important sector, making Scotch Whisky one of Scotland’s greatest global exports.”

Seagram’s Royal Stag launches a Limited-Edition Cricket World Cup Pack

Royal Stag, the official whisky partner of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019, is truly making the cricket fever larger than ever with the launch of a new limited-edition Cricket World Cup pack.

The limited edition packaging has been conceptualised and designed by Ogilvy and is inspired by the actual ICC World Cup Trophy. The innovative packaging design represents elements from the sport of cricket along with iconic monuments from England & Wales. The pack truly embodies the spirit of cricket and has been launched just before the start of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 being held in England and Wales.

Commenting on the launch of new packaging, Kartik Mohindra, Chief Marketing Officer, Pernod Ricard India said, “For Indian fans, The ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 goes beyond the boundaries of a regular sporting event. The passion, madness, thrill, excitement and love for the sport can be seen in every devoted cricket lover. Our long-standing association with cricket bolsters our relationship with consumers across the nation. By introducing a limited-edition Cricket World Cup pack, we are giving cricket lovers a world cup memorabilia to hold on to and together celebrate the spirit of cricket. Additionally, the on pack contest offers consumers a chance to watch the ICC Cricket World Cup Live in England & Wales.”

Speaking on the occasion, Kapil Arora, President, Ogilvy said, “Cricket and Royal Stag have been synonymous with one another for many years. However, when the brand decided to partner with the ICC Cricket World Cup, the world’s greatest festival of cricket – it deserved a special commemoration. The result is a limited-edition pack of Royal Stag that will give fans of the brand and cricket, an opportunity to collect a unique pack that celebrates and brings alive the spirit of the World Cup.”

Grover Zampa Vineyard emerges as frontrunner in the Indian wine industry

In an interview with Ambrosia, Mr. Vivek Chandramohan, Chief Executive Officer, Grover Zampa Vineyards, outlines the company’s strategic plans.

What is the status of Grover Zampa Vineyards post the acquisition? What is the rationale behind the purchase of Four Seasons Wines, Charosa Vineyards and Myra Vineyards?

With the addition of Four Seasons, Charosa and Myra, we aim to expand into a multi-brand lifestyle label with wine being at the core of our business. We are looking to widen the portfolio and offer more varietals that resonate with the millennials and new age wine drinkers. This will also lead to an increased focus on wine tourism with better amenities being offered to patrons at the vineyards, thereby consolidating the position as a market leader in the country.

The wine industry has been on a positive growth trajectory for the past few years, with growing interest from varying consumers to better understand and experience the beverage. This has opened up the pathway to expand and reach out to these very consumers through various touch-points – an insight which has significantly dictated our association with Four Seasons, Charosa and Myra.

Will there be any new wines from Grover Zampa or the focus will be on consolidation?

We have fortified our capacities and capabilities with inclusion of new technologies and we will continue to innovate and introduce new wines tailored of international standard. Every winery will have a different focus.

What price range will you be focusing on given that you now have a broader portfolio?

Focus has always been and will always be on selling premium wines which are priced at `650 and above. At Grover, our soul has always been about quality and so, we have invested heavily on sub-surface irrigation. This system allows for the plant to root deeper thereby aiding in quicker rooting in what typically would otherwise take decades by generic evolution.

We have also invested in drones and sensor technologies. The sensors will detect water stress and then the sub surface irrigation system will only give the plant water when it needs it. Research has shown us that this method dramatically improves the lifespan of the Vine as also much improves the quality of grape. Also, when you have extensive acreage of vineyards, it becomes nearly impossible to go through every square feet of the vineyard and check for disease. Here is where we have drones that fly over quickly and aerially detect the disease, if any, and administer medication quickly thus saving us millions in terms of crop value. While we have spent a lot on new technologies, our wines will be also priced at `5000 and above which will be sold exclusively.

Do you see a change in the packaging especially in the wines of the newly acquired wineries?

Immediately we will only enhance the packaging but it will not change anything as of now. We will continue with what we have in Charosa but might enhance the packaging of Four Seasons .

What sort of targets have you set for wine exports?

We now export to 28 countries; 8 new countries have been added this year. Our biggest market is France. A significant quantity of our La Reserve, Art Collection Rose` & Art Collection Cabernet Shiraz go into France. Our second largest export market is Japan. US is showing strong growth this year, UK a little slow, but we have made strong inroads into Europe this year. We have made our foray into the Nordic world, Finland, and Norway, which are monopolies, from where we have got quick and large repeat orders. These monopolies will never give you repeat orders unless they have sold the wines. This shows strong acceptance of our wines in these regions. 20% of sales are exports currently.

This year, we should close with circa 260,000 cases. Much of our expansion has come because of the growth that we have secured in the Indian market. Yes, our exports have also grown. We will most likely close at 20,000 cases this year out of the 260,000 cases.

Grover Zampa Vineyards bags most prestigious honours

Grover Zampa Vineyards, India’s oldest and leading fine wine producer and exporter, have added yet another feather to their victory cap by bagging 13 coveted honours at the recent Indian Wine Awards, 2018. An initiative powered by Sonal Holland, India’s first and only Master of Wine and Founder-Director of SoHo Wine Club. Indian Wine Awards is a world-class competition, that rewards, recognises and celebrates the best of wines available in the Indian market, both domestic and international.

The second edition of the revered awards was held on 29th September, 2018, at The Leela Mumbai. Undeniably the one-stop guide for Indian consumers to purchase wines, the ceremony marks the unison of dignified luminaries of the food and beverage industry, who come together to identify and award Indian wines for their palatable distinctiveness. Amongst the distinguishable accolades, Grover Zampa was awarded ‘Best Red Wine Indian’ for its Chene Grande Reserve 2015 and ‘Best Sparkling Wine Indian’ for its Soirée Brut Rosé 2015. It’s varietal, Soirée Brut 2015 won the Best Food & Wine pairing with Malvani Fish Fry. The brand’s other labels such as Art Collection, VA Reserve Collection, La Reserve, amongst others, earned discernible medals, further verifying Grover Zampa’s commitment to producing only superlative and high quality wines.

Elated with the wins, Vivek Chandramohan, CEO, Grover Zampa Vineyards opined, “We take pride in the toil and passion that form key ingredients of the wines being produced here at Grover Zampa Vineyards. The acknowledgment and awards won at the Indian Wine Awards, 2018, redefine the brand’s unwavering fortitude and zeal to please patrons with the best in wine always. These wins not only re-instil our faith in our capabilities and commitment, but also motivate us further to set newer benchmarks.”  

Wine

Trophy / Medal

Chene Grande Reserve 2015

Best Red Wine Indian

Soirée Brut Rosé 2015

Best Sparkling Wine Indian

Soirée Brut 2015

Trophy Winner of the Food & Wine Pairing Competition

Zampa Soirée Brut Magnifique 2016

Gold

Vijay Amritraj Reserve Collection White 2017

Gold

Vijay Amritraj Reserve Collection Red 2015

Gold

Art Collection Sauvignon Blanc 2018

Gold

Art Collection Viognier 2018

Gold

La Reserve Red 2016

Gold

Soirée Brut 2015

Silver

Art Collection Chenin Blanc 2017

Silver

Art Collection Shiraz Rosé 2018

Silver

Art Collection Cabernet Shiraz 2017

Silver

Sparta – VSOP French brandy is the next need-to-have bottle for your home bar!

KALS Group, Southern India’s alcobev company announced the launch of Sparta – India’s most admired premium grape brandy.

Sparta is an authentic French VSOP brandy that has native elements of authentic French grapes from Cognac Region, which is matured to the tune of 3+ years.

The high-spirited growth of KALS

Deriving its name from ancient Greece – A city in the southern Peloponnese in Greece, capital of the department of Laconia; population 14,400 (est. 2009). It was a powerful city state in the 5th century BC, defeating its rival Athens in the Peloponnesian War to become the leading city of Greece, Sparta embodies the exceptional French style of making heritage and the expertise. Sparta is known for its winning spirit and Sparta of KALS is expected to be the curtain raiser for well-informed connoisseurs!

Sparta is made from carefully selected grapes from the best Indian vineyards which are then double distilled in small batches using traditional French alembic pot stills, to produce a liquor of exceptional smoothness and character.

Sparta is a modern take on a French classic using some of the best southern French grapes, copper pot stills for distillation, and French oak barrels for maturation, all under the direction of Master Distiller. The result is a very special blend with honey blended caramel notes of fresh fruit, vanilla, and a hint of the oak. The brandy can be enjoyed on the rocks or to add some flavour to a signature cocktail.

SPARTA- UNIQUE VALUE PROPOSITION

Sparta is the first authentic french-style brandy to be 100% made from grapes of Cognac region. Nothing else and nothing less then the timeless savoir faire of french double distillation making. since it uses grapes only from the best vineyards of France, Sparta is the first to reveal such an aromatic intensity. Unlike others, it relies on the time-honoured savoir faire of brandy making in small alembic copper pot stills. It is then aged in oak barrels and carefully blended by the cellar master. with its subtle gold colour, Sparta is the perfect harmony of mature and intense aromas. Discover its delicate notes of summer fruits and vanilla coming from the oak barrels. On the palate, its texture is as smooth as silk.

Enjoy it neat, on ice or with your favourite mixer.

Sparta is aged in small French oak barrels under the supervision of French Master Blender imparting a smooth and distinctive taste, exceptional aromas and a complex character of a cognac – style brandy with a long finish. Keeping up with the tradition of French Cognac making, the master blender has developed a unique recipe guaranteeing excellence in every drop.

Chairman & Managing Director Mr. Vasudevan S of KALS Group said, “With this launch KALS takes its aggressive step into the world of spirits with a superbly crafted high end offering. We are confident that Sparta will win accolades and significantly raise the bar for brandy making in India. Sparta is India‘s first handcrafted cognac derivative – style brandy for connoisseurs – from the House of KALS.”

Sparta comes in premium packaging and bottle design inspired from the Mid-19th century with a transparent gold labels that shines & scintillates to captivate the eyes of consumer- Sparta a style known as ‘standard fifth’ or ‘lettered brandy’ with embossing. Sparta will be available initially in three SKUs of 750 ml, 375 ml and 180 ml.

According to Uppiliappan G, CEO, KAL, Sparta is priced at `640 in the Tamil Nadu market. For KALs MGM Brandy is the closest in comparison. However, Sparta is rolled-out in all southern states and expected volumes will be 30,000 cases per month initially, says Uppiliappan.