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Spirits Producers & Producer Organisations formally unite as the World Spirits Alliance

Global spirits producers unite to get a global voice.



Spirits producers and producer organisations from across the world joined forces recently in Geneva for the formal creation of the World Spirits Alliance (WSA), an international trade association dedicated to representing the views and interests of the spirits sector at the international level. Following many years of successful cooperation, members decided to set up a dedicated, formal organisation to act as the common global voice for the distilled spirits sector.

WSA will act as a representative partner and interlocutor before international organisations, such as the World Trade Organisation (WTO), the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the United Nations (UN). WSA and its members will continue to pursue the elimination of tariff, non-tariff barriers, and discriminatory taxes, fair, transparent and evidence-based regulation, adequate excise tax structures, proportionate evidence-based public health measures for distilled spirits and ambitious strategies to combat illicit alcohol.

“Many of us have been working together for nearly two decades, hence setting up a formal trade association to act as a united global voice on the integrity and social responsibility of our spirits industry is a natural and important step forward. Distilled spirits are a vibrant and highly dynamic sector with a unique diversity of products and producers across the world,” said Marie Audren who will act as Secretary General for the WSA.


       

“The aims of the WSA are to create a common platform for exchange and have a representative body that will allow us to comment on issues of global relevance, particularly in the areas of trade and regulatory policy, and help develop a positive environment for the sustainable success of the sector,” said Rodolfo González González (Camara Nacional de la Industria Tequilera) who was elected as first President of the WSA.


         

WSA members represent producers of products such as Baiju from China, Tequila from Mexico, Brazilian Cachaça, Indian IMFL, Cognac and internationally traded whiskies like Scotch Whisky, Irish Whiskey and American Bourbon (to name but a few).

“Distilled spirits are celebrated and responsibly enjoyed around the globe and generate jobs, economic growth and tax revenue in the countries where they are produced. At the same time, in many markets around the world, distilled spirits are heavily taxed and regulated, and we face trade barriers that are only applicable, or applied more excessively, to distilled spirits. This situation needs to be reviewed and addressed,” said Amrit Kiran Singh (International Spirits & Wines Association of India) who was elected Vice President.



       

“We want to demonstrate to national authorities that we are committed to responsibility and that advancing fair treatment of spirits products in the marketplace will have a positive impact on their economies,” concluded Chris Swonger, President and CEO of the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States (DISCUS).

WSA and its individual members are committed to responsible production, advertising and marketing practices and to encouraging adults who choose to consume spirits, to do so responsibly and in moderation.

The WSA membership includes trade associations and producers of distilled spirits from across the world:

• spiritsEUROPE
• Asia Pacific International Wines & Spirits Alliance Limited
• Camara Nacional de la Industria Tequilera
• The Scotch Whisky Association
• Association of Canadian Distillers
• Pernod Ricard
• DIAGEO
• International Spirits & Wines Association of India
• Japanese Spirits Liquor Makers Association
• Brown-Forman
• Distilled Spirits Council of United States
• Spirits New Zealand
• Rémy Cointreau
• Beam Suntory
• Spirits & Cocktail Australia
• Campari
• Edrington

Sterren Beer bags coveted award in Malaysia

Sterren Beer with its authentic German recipe produced in India under the guidelines of German Standards has been selected as the Prestigious Rising Brands of Asia 2019-20.

Incorporated in 2012, by the Chairman and Managing director, Mr. Vasudevan S, who established Sterren under the entity KALS Breweries.

Triumph of Celebration:

The KALS Group of Companies has varied interest spanning liquor retailing, motor fuel and lube, transport and logistics as well as FMCG distribution. With a grand vision to be successful in building a professional team with focused endeavors in the vertical and horizontal expansion of the Group, KALS Distilleries, KALS Beverages and KALS Breweries were formed by the visionary. Their products have already made their imprint in the states of Tamil Nadu, Kerala, AP, Andaman, Karnataka, Chhattisgarh, UP, and Puducherry and with global presence in UAE, Singapore, Malaysia, and Central Africa. Mr. Vasudevan’s visionary thought of Going Global has enabled the Product Life-Cycle Excellence of this product.

L to R: Dr. Uppilliapan Gopalan, COO, Mr. Arulmani Sekaran – Director and Mr. Rajasekaran S – Director of KALS Group, Dr. A.T. Kumara Raja – Chief Economic Advisor to Malaysian Government, Mr. Amit Sengupta – Indian Economist – Cabinet of Parliament to Modi and Chief Editor of Deccan Herald

Brand Quotient

With the headquarters in Chennai, under the stewardship of Mr. Vasudevan S, the brand Sterren celebrates more than 20% market share in this segment in TN and KALS employs more than 3000 employees. Sterren is an entry into ultra-premium with proud variants that fits the choice of all.

Sterren 6 – Premium Quality Beer (Wheat-base Beer)

Sterren 7 – Premium Quality Strong Beer (Lager Beer)

Sterren 8 – Premium Quality Extra Strong Beer (Extra Strong Beer)

Sterren- Authentic Sporty German Word-a Royal Blend of Excellence with Contemporised Brew which are available in three variants of ABV 6%, 7% and 8%. Its quality is simply stellar with an orange citrusy note and available in 650ml, 500 ml and 330 ml beverage grade cans.

Sterren 8 – Premium Strong Beer is enroute to ultra-premiumisation. Sterren -8 indeed is a mix that is consciously branded as a blend of contemporary touch with traditional pitch. Flavour and imported hops makes it a perfect top-notch that rollickingly touches the sentiments of millennials and youths. Sterren is manufactured under the aegis of an agreement through a Technology Transfer Programme from VLB (Berlin) with GMPs complying with the standards of Food Safety Management Systems (ISO 22001:2015), Environmental Management Systems (ISO 14001:2015), & QMS, & BRC AA Standards of International Food Safety Norms

Trailblazing

Practicing brand values like trust, respect, passion and commitment, they strive to create an organisation that delights customers and associates creating a higher recall in every market present. Using their unique German technology and German Recipe they have earned a turnover of 590 million USD. Their recipe is certified under the German Standards. In order to be part of the growing consumption of the beer business and also to be a full-spectrum alcoholic beverage company they strive to deliver integrity, quality and consistency with Sustainable Brand Augmentation for customer loyalty. Their brewery plant is a fully-automatic plant best-in-class in the country with end-to-end manufacturing. It is one of the few brewery plants in the country with Can Beer Line, which services the export market.

Cutting Edge

The German quality of Sterren Beer embarks the taste, flavour and texture on the taste-buds of the consumers. They have invested in research and surveys as they strongly believe in feedback resulting satisfaction and an opportunity of loyalty. The brand interacts and engages with their customers through influential marketing, participation in Oktober fest in Chennai (India), Beer fests and organising Sterren Nights. Their impeccable quality and product packaging also contribute to the high customer acceptance.

When to bottle craft beer?

Craft beer which is available mostly in kegs is now moving to the retail shelf. A look at some of the compelling reasons.


As the craft beer demand continues to grow, the more successful craft beer produces have a happy dilemma when growing organically, is moving on from the first phase when the start-up microbrewery only kegs the beer to bottling beers. The margins created by retailing your beer instead of selling it wholesale have sustained the growth of microbreweries. This successful approach has succeeded in generating phenomenal growth in the industry.

Wholesaling only has downsides, mainly for those micro breweries that do not have their own direct chain of distribution. Those without direct distribution have struggled in the past and are the micro breweries most likely to disappear. Microbreweries without their own direct outlets are those that have tended to fail first over the years. The need to have a substantial distribution network was recognised immediately for example by BrewDog in Scotland, and Whitewater Brewery in Northern Ireland.

The important initial capital outlay required to open a microbrewery needs a rapid growth of sales and margins to sustain the business. You have to have a guaranteed high margin from your own distribution from the very start, or you will need deep pockets to sustain the start up from zero. Many of your clients will also want to enjoy their favourite beer at home or on a picnic. And you need to serve them, or they will buy their tipple from the competition. Therefore you need to satisfy this type of consumption by offering bottled beer, pretty soon after starting your brewery. Initially the quantities to be bottled are relatively modest – maybe only 500 or 1000 bottles at a time for each of your various recipes. Initially, therefore, the easy way, although an expensive way, is to contract bottle outside the premises. This seems the way to go. Contract bottling has many disadvantages and could eat into your margins because of extra logistics cost and scheduling. In-house bottling could be the solution. Bottling in-house requires generally more money than anticipated.

More and more fancy craft beer is also showing up in aluminum cans. Five years ago, just a few dozen craft brewers in the U.S. were canning, while today there are more than 500. The beer in a can cools faster. The can protects from beer-degrading light. Beer cans are portable and take up less space, advantages both for retailers and for consumers who want to take them camping, hiking or fishing. There’s also more space on a can for wraparound design and decoration.

While glass bottles take longer to cool down, they also stay cold longer once they come out of the cooler. Plus, glass producers and plenty of brewers will tell you translucent amber glass has been working fine to protect beer from light and air. The biggest selling point for the bottle, though, is flavour. There’s at least a perception that cans impart a metallic taste, whereas liquid stored in a bottle comes out tasting pure. The metal touching your lips is still a factor in terms of flavour, but most craft brewers suggest pouring out beer into a glass before sipping, whatever package it comes in. It may be coolness, or it may be convenience, but the bottom line is, cans are getting cheaper. Bottling in-house remains a simpler, cheaper process. The Brewers Association estimates just 3% of craft beer on the shelves is in a can. Sixty percent still goes out in bottles, and the rest is sold in kegs. Glass has been a very reliable package and tradition will prove itself well that glass is not going anywhere.

In India quite a few microbreweries plan to launch bottled beer brands to cash in on rising demand for India’s craft beer. So far, India has seen just a few craft beer brands such as Bira, White Owl and Simba, sold off shelves despite nearly 170 microbreweries that opened over the past decade. Karnataka government does not allow brewpubs to distribute in-house beer and are permitted to produce a maximum of just 1000 litres a day. Windmills Craftworks will start producing cans of craft beer from their newly-acquired 2000-litre production brewery in Goa. India’s craft beer industry accounts for 2-3% of the country’s beer market which is largely skewed towards the stronger version. The surge of interest in craft beer has been driven by millennials, many particularly interested in this form of beer that is more authentic, premium and has a complex flavour compared to regular lager sold by MNCs.

But making and selling craft beer at a larger scale isn’t easy. Besides licenses and distribution, brewpubs have to wrestle with cold chain supply infrastructure, short shelf-life of craft beer and smaller budgets compared to United Breweries, Ab InBev and and Carlsberg that together control 90% of the market. As a result, many are planning to roll out variants such as hefeweizen, stout and light golden ale – that can survive better in these tough conditions. And some are opting for pricier cans to package their products instead of glass bottles. Cans are lighter, unbreakable, carry more branding information, have little oxygen uptake and do not allow light to enter easily, unlike bottles. International craft beer brands can collaborate and set up bottling plants in India to retail now. Big commercial beer brands are also waiting, and will hop on the craft brewery segment in the next two-three years. Perhaps herein lies the opportunity for Praj, Krones, Alfa Laval and KHS.

Mead – From bee to bottle

Mead is the new beer or wine for millenials. A look at the history, its production process and its growing importance.

Mead or honey wine is made by fermenting honey with water. Like beer, mead is sometimes flavored with fruits, spices, grains or hops. But it’s generally higher in alcohol than beer and more in line with grape wine – typically between eight and 20% ABV. Also like wine, mead is produced in a variety of sweetness levels, from bone dry to lusciously sweet and can be still or sparkling.

Within the world of mead, there are sub-group. For example, if mead is mixed with beer or brewed with hops and malt, it becomes a hybrid style closer in taste to beer known as braggot. This beverage, unlike its purely mead-made counterparts, can be produced in breweries. Mead with added fruit is known as melomel, while hydromel is a watered-down version consumed in Spain and France. Great Mead is mead that’s meant to age.

Honey wine occupies a somewhat precarious position between beer and wine. Legally, mead is produced in “wineries” and bottles are usually sold in wine shops. But, thanks to the presence of hops, which some brewers choose to add as a natural preservative, mead is often clumped into the craft beer category. But, the reality is that mead is in a category of its own much like cider or sake. A ubiquitous alcoholic beverage, everyone – ancient Greeks, Africans, and Chinese – all drank mead as far back as 3000 BCE. Mead holds particular importance in Norse mythology, especially in the legend of a fabled beverage with magical powers known as “Poetic Mead”. As the story goes, mythological gods created a man named Norseman Kvasir who was so wise he could answer any question. When he was eventually killed, his blood was mixed with honey, and whoever drank this honey-blood mead took on Kvasir’s power of intelligence. And it’s likely this myth that inspired Danish craft mead producer Dansk Mjod to make its Viking Blod Mead, which is flavoured and coloured red from hibiscus. Mead is frequently consumed in Eastern Europe and Russia. Pretty much any country that produced honey has a history of mead production and appreciation.

Outside of Europe, Mead has been and continues to be popular in Ethiopia, where it’s referred to as tej. Customarily a home-brewed beverage, tej is usually flavoured with powdered leaves of the gesho plant, an African shrub which imparts a slightly bitter flavor and preserves the drink, like hops do for beer.

While Ethiopians typically drink tej out of a bulbous glass container called a berele, nowadays in the US mead is usually served in wine glasses. Though sometimes the drink will come in an Old World drinking vessel like a mazer cup from Germany, which is also the name for the world’s largest mead competition. And, for serious history buffs, there’s always a mead horn. Mead is an ancient drink, thought by many to be the first fermented beverage. Mead is diluted honey that has been fermented. The earliest meads were likely accidental fermentations with wild yeasts, but this eventually developed into organised, intentional meadmaking.

But with the rise of beer and spirits, mead started falling out of fashion in the 1700s and never really made a worldwide comeback. The traditional wine industry has largely ignored the shift to tastes for sweeter beverages and/or more direct use of fruit, spice and other flavours. The craft beer industry on the other hand has embraced these changes. Meads with more alcohol, more body/viscosity and more sugar/acidity definitely have a lot more going on, and a glass of complex wine like a late harvest Riesling or Vidal Ice Wine.

There are almost as many kinds of mead as there are meadmakers. There are several general categories that meadmakers use to classify their products. Traditional meads are made from water, honey and yeast. They range from dry to semisweet. The driest are lacking in the characteristic honey sweetness, but they capture the true “essence” of the honey. The sweeter versions retain some of the sweetness of the honey without being syrupy or cloying. Bochets are made from caramelised honey which adds a layer of complexity, especially to sweet meads.

Sack meads are very sweet traditional meads, often aged for extended periods. They can have the character and complexity of a port or sherry, or the sweetness and fruitiness of a late harvest grape varietal. Melomels are meads made with fruit. Depending on the process and fruits used, these can be very fruity, aromatic and sweet, or dry with just a hint of fruit essence (or anywhere in between).

Metheglins are meads made with herbs and spices. Our word “medicine” likely descended from this term. The varieties in this category are almost limitless. Frequent spices used are clove, cinnamon, ginger, and other “wintery” spices. Juniper is another common additive, as are many herbs in the mint and sage group such as mint, lavender, rosemary, sage, etc. Pyment is a fermented blend of honey and grape juice – probably an ancestor of our grape wines. Pyment can be as diverse as the grapes and honeys used to produce it.

Hippocras is a spiced pyment, usually sweet.It is believed to have been popular among early Mediterranean peoples.

Cyser is mead made with apples, and can be as varied as the myriad apple varieties and the numerous British, French, and American interpretations of cider. The addition of honey allows more variation in sweetness, alcohol content, and shelf life.

Hydromel is a newer category used to classify any mead that is less than 10% alcohol (unless you speak French – then it’s just mead). Our Bee Brews are hydromels. These meads can be as varied as the other categories listed above, if not as common.

Braggot is mead made from malted grains and honey, often with hops as well. It can be thought of as a beer/mead hybrid, and probably predates all-grain beers in origin. Modern interpretations vary from sweet “barleywine-style” braggots, to light, hoppy brews.
Mead is experiencing a renaissance, both among commercial producers and homebrewers.
That growing interest has Jeff Herbert, owner of Superstition Meadery, the first of its kind in Arizona, calling mead “the smallest, but fastest growing sector of the U.S. alcohol business.” He sees it firsthand. Superstition made 300 gallons/year when it opened in 2012, and it’s on track to produce 20,000 gallons in 2017. “That number will more than double in 2018, and in 2019, we plan to produce 100,000 gallons of mead and hard cider,” he says.

“Mead is growing because it is amazing,” he says. “Mead is delicious, and the range of style traverses from dry to sweet, still to sparkling, from quaffable to the most complex beverage that will ever pass your lips.” In India Rohan Rehani, co-founder of Moonshine Meadery, tasted mead, he hated it. It was December 2014 and Rehani and his friend Nitin Vishwas were visiting someone in the US. During the trip, Rehani was curious to taste this alcoholic beverage made with fermented honey that had become the new cool drink in America. But he went beyond just trying it out – one day, Rehani and his friends attempted to brew their own batch of mead. Moonshine’s mead is made from multi-flower honey locally sourced from Maharashtra. “The taste of the mead changes completely depending on what honey we are using,” said Rehani. “Just like all grapes aren’t the same, all honey is not the same. The flavour differs depending on the nectar source [flowers]. There is lychee honey, ajwain honey, eucalyptus honey, jamun honey and each one has a slightly different taste which has a huge impact on the final taste.”

Asahi Super Dry Beer – The Beer for All Seasons!

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As the world raises its glass of beer to celebrate ‘International Beer Day’, it’s time we do too! From the house of Sula Vineyards’ import arm – Sula Selections, in India, comes a much loved beer by beer-aficionados from across the world – Asahi Super Dry!

The premium beer is known for its clean, crisp and refreshing taste. Brewed by an authentic Japanese recipe using only the finest natural ingredients, Asahi Super Dry is made from very rare yeast which not only yields outstanding fermentation, but produces a complex aroma that results in an elegant and sophisticated flavour and ensures Asahi’s pure, crisp, dry taste. In order to obtain the sophisticated and the clear taste of Asahi, strict attention is paid at every step in the manufacturing process in order to eliminate the unwanted tastes of by-products. The beer has a clear light golden look with a big white foamy head. It has a subtle citrus sweet aroma with hints of lemon grass and is flavourful and balanced.

The bottle labelling is stylish and consists of a shiny silver background ‘Asahi’ standing out, printed in black.

A 330ml bottle of Asahi beer costs INR 220 in Delhi.