Tag Archives: India

Thibault Cuny appointed as the new CEO for Pernod Ricard India

Thibault Cuny has been appointed as the new CEO for Pernod Ricard India. He has held the position of CEO and President of Pernod Ricard, Brasil since 2012. He has also previously worked at Pernod Ricard Holding in Paris as Audit and Development Manager and as Executive Vice President – Finance at Pernod Ricard South Asia since 2006.

Cuny has been under the Pernod Ricard umbrella since 2003 and has held various job titles in the company. Pernod Ricard is the world’s co-leader in wines and spirits with consolidated sales of € 8,558 million in 2014/15 and the fastest growing multinational beverage alcohol company in India with a business spanning the entire length and breadth of the country delivering quality products to its discerning consumers.

With leading brands in each segment, Pernod Ricard India holds one of the most comprehensive and Premium portfolios in the industry led by Indian whiskies such as Royal Stag, Blenders’ Pride and Imperial Blue, along with the home grown Wine sold under the brand name Nine Hill and Indian vodka – Fuel. The company also distributes some of the leading international brands including Chivas Regal, Seagram’s 100 Pipers, Ballantine’s, The Glenlivet and Royal Salute Scotch whiskies, Jameson Irish whiskey ABSOLUT Vodka, Havana Club rum, Beefeater gin among white spirits category, Martell  cognac, Jacob Creek wine, Kahlúa and Malibu liqueurs and G.H. Mumm champagne.

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.

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.”

The Way Forward For India And The Alcobev Industry

While captains of industry welcome the new government and are hopeful of industry friendly policies, they are also looking at sustainable growth for the future. The alcobev industry has sputtered along in spurts and jerks. With a new government in place, the industry is hopeful of new impetus for growth.
“A stable government is indeed welcome for the nation and economy. We hope that the new government will reinforce its progressive policies towards the industry, and usher in the next phase of reforms to promote ease of doing business and ‘Making in India’. We also look towards the Federal government to encourage states to urgently bring comprehensive regulatory reform into key state- GDP contributing sectors such as alcoholic beverages,” says, Anand Kripalu, Managing Director and CEO, Diageo India.
The beer industry has its fair share of challenges. And with the competition heating up and input prices rising it is becoming difficult to invest in growth. “With a strong mandate that the government has received, we look forward to sustained reforms that will spur further growth in the economy. We also look forward to continued emphasis on ease of doing business,” says Shekhar Ramamurthy, Managing Director, United Breweries Ltd.
ABD in its new avatar, has discovered growth in volumes and is now translating it in to value by creating millionaire brands of its premium brands. The elections and the policies will be closely watched. Will Bihar lift prohibition under the new government? That is perhaps the question on the lips of all marketers.
“It is indeed a blessing that India has elected a strong and stable Goverment and I look forward to more structural reforms so that India can continue on a strong growth trajectory with gainful employment for all its citizens. I also expect the federal goverment to build consensus amongst all states to include potable alcohol in GST,” said Deepak Roy, ABD Vice Chairman.
Plagued by high taxes, both Central and State, the Indian alcobev industry is struggling to find the way forward. Some years ago it was the number game and companies like USL managed to cross the 100 million cases mark and brands like Officer’s Choice crossed the 30 million cases mark. But those numbers did not translate into profits and only companies like Pernod Ricard consistently remained in the black. But now companies are scaling down their volumes where the margins are thinner, introducing premium brands and focussing on profits. Diageo is working to get consumers to ‘premiumise’. The company is working to taking a long term view and creating business value. The history associated with Diageo’s iconic brands, too, bears testimony to such far-sightedness.

However, despite all the challenges in the Indian alcobev industry, Radico has managed to do well, particularly after the opening of the UP market. They have also successfully launched 8 PM Premium Black followed by a big media blitz. Even Magic Moments is maintaining its leadership position backed by heavy advertising on TV channels.
While congratulating on the grand come back of PM Narendra Modi, Dr. Lalit Khaitan, Chairman of Radico Khaitan Ltd. says, “The voters have endorsed Modi’s decisive leadership, his ability to take the country from red tape to red carpet, his government’s multiple schemes to pull out millions from abject poverty and provide them essential services like electricity, cooking gas, bank accounts and free health services.”
Whereas down South KALS Group has been growing very fast particularly after acquiring Imperial and introducing more products like Sparta and so on. It is aspiring to expand to other markets beyond South and has chalked out long term plans.
KALS CMD Mr.S Vasudevan says on the historic victory of the NDA government, “I wish our Honourable Prime Minister Mr. Modi for his impeccable victory. This is a well-deserved victory for transforming our nation in terms of controls, governance, and GDP growth. I personally look forward to having reforms in the IMFL Industry as well that contributes significant revenue to the respective states. I wish the new government all the very best and I’m confident under the leadership of our Honourable PM, India will get into the strides of excellence.”
In India Diageo is taking a long term view well emphasised by the purchase of USL for over US$ 3 billion which could create tremendous opportunities for the next 20 to 30 years.

USL added about 5,000 employees to Diageo’s global workforce, and it wasn’t just about gaining access to a strategically important market. The company’s Indian talent pool and its investments in IT and service centres in India serve not just the Indian market, but the group globally. And having overcome the legacy issues associated with the USL acquisition, Diageo claims to have set itself the ambitious target of “changing the alcohol industry in India”. Much of that effort revolves around a campaign to inculcate the spirit of ‘responsible drinking’, which translates into reinforcing moderation, and in promoting road safety in collaboration with State governments.

And the way Diageo hopes to make the transformation in India is to “premiumise” the business by inducing consumers not to “drink more”, but to “drink better”, by moving to up-scale brands. That has also seen it franchise out some of the lower-end brands it acquired along with USL, and renovate its brands.

Companies like Pernod Ricard has had a sound strategy in place as well. Not only most of its brands are millionaire brands but they enjoy good margins and the company has consistently delivered profits over the years.


But the company too has suffered from disruptions and would like more business friendly policies. Says Guillaume Girard-Reydet, Managing Director, Pernod Ricard India, “The people of India have exhibited with full clarity, their confidence in stability and progress in current reforms. I encourage this government to continue the momentum on reforms in the economy, to increase ease of doing business and comprehensive regulations enabling best growth for India.”
Pernod Ricard launched recently its 2030 ‘Sustainability & Responsibility’ roadmap as part of the Group’s strategic plan to ‘Transform & Accelerate’. This roadmap sets out 8 ambitious and concrete 2030 targets supporting the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which was unveiled at the Martell Cognac distillery in France. The Group is taking bold next steps in addressing both environmental topics, to preserve the terroirs its products come from, and social responsibility, in particular by accelerating the fight against alcohol misuse.

Scotch Whisky Association is also looking at a long term boost to its business value. It has drawn up plans till 2050.

Mumbaikars appear to be more discerning about their alcohol now than they were seven years ago. Consumption of hard, and, at times, spurious, country liquor has barely increased, but the tribe of wine-drinkers has risen by over 67% in the seven-year period.

Consumption of country liquor (CL) increased only 5.7% in this period, prompting experts to say that people with lower income who opt for it have controlled their drinking habit. However, those preferring the costlier IMFLs have increased by almost 30%, show the seven-year data. The consumption of the ‘safe’ option – beer – has only increased by 6% in this period. Beer and wine have less chemical spirit (up to 17%) content than IMFL and CL (which have up to 44%).
“People go for IMFL and CL or may be a mix for a better and quicker kick. But since the chemical spirit is higher in both of them, there are chances of them adversely affecting a patron’s health. It’s hence a worrying sign that Mumbaikars are increasingly drinking more IMFL than beer,” said an expert who works for the de-addiction campaign.
Excise duty on beer has made prices similar to that of IMFL. This, experts say, comes as a major discouragement for those who want to switch over to liquors with lesser pure spirits. On the contrary, countries in the West and a few in Asia like China encourage beer to ensure minimal damage to the health of regular drinkers, by offering cheaper pricing.

Between 2010 and 2017, alcohol consumption in India increased by 38% from 4.3 to 5.9 litre per adult per year, said the researchers. In the same time, consumption in the US (9.3-9.8 litres) and in China (7.1-7.4 litres) increased marginally.

Sula Vineyards crushes over 50% more Grapes in Harvest 2019 compared to 2018

Sula Vineyards crushed a total of over 9,000 tonnes of wine grapes in FY 2019-20, which is about 50% more than what was crushed by the company in FY 2018-19. According to the company, this was possible due to a decent monsoon and following conducive weather conditions for cultivating wine grapes. These figures are expected to help Sula cross its own record-breaking 2018 sales, over 1 million cases world-wide.

Chief Winemaker, Senior Vice President – Vineyard and Winery Operations Karan Vasani elaborated on the Harvest events: “This year, the distribution amongst the varietals was around 55% of red variety grapes and 45% of white grapes crushed. Most of the grapes are crushed and processed in Nashik and Southern parts of Maharashtra although some harvesting and crushing are also done in Karnataka for the wines to be made and sold in Karnataka by Sula Vineyards under its brand Kadu.”

While 2019 was positive for grape-growing conditions, the weather may be indicative of the impacts of climate change. The harvest was slightly delayed this year, starting in mid-December and went on till the first week of April.

“Wine-making is such an old process, the challenges will alw

ays be the weather,” explains Founder and CEO of Sula Vineyards Rajeev Samant. “Our planet is in danger and our priority needs to be our impact on the environment. There is lots of waste generated by the traditional production and crushing process. Instead, we use every part of the grape, from seed to skin. After the grape juice is extracted the seeds are used to make grapeseed oil and the remaining mulch becomes compost for our vines,” he explains. Sula Vineyards is committed to protecting India for the future by planting more and more trees.

Sula is also cultivating additional land across Maharashtra and Karnataka, giving a boost to the agri sector. Sula planted 360 acres in 2018 and will plant an additional 340 in 2019. This will take their total area under wine grape plantations to about 3000 acres which will also add to the rural employment numbers. Today, almost 510 farmers from Maharashtra and Karnataka are working with Sula with assured buy back contracts.

In general, Maharashtra saw a bumper grape harvest this season with figures from Nashik district, the heart of India’s grape region, crossing 1.43 lakh tonnes of grapes. About 2% of these grapes are wine grapes. However, except for 2017 when the highway liquor ban was put in motion, the Indian wine industry has recorded a steady growth in CAGR, which means that more and more Indians are drinking wine, in many cases switching away from hard liquor.

Neeraj Kumar named Beam Suntory’s Managing Director, India

Beam Suntory has appointed Neeraj Kumar to serve as Managing Director, India, effective May 2019. With leading brands like Teacher’s and Jim Beam, the company has an ambitious goal of reaching $1 billion in sales by 2030.

“Neeraj is the ideal leader to guide the next wave of growth in our India business unit,” said Pryce Greenow, Beam Suntory’s President, International. “Since joining Beam Suntory, Neeraj has demonstrated exceptional leadership skills and brings a wealth of marketing and sales experience to the role. We’re always looking to provide greater leadership opportunities for our top talent, and Neeraj has the leadership capabilities, character and determination to help us achieve our ambitions to grow India into one of our biggest markets.”

Beam Suntory in India has offices in Gurgaon, New Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Kolkata and a primary bottling facility in Rajasthan.

Kumar is a veteran marketing and strategy leader with more than 25 years of marketing, sales, and strategy experience. Kumar joined Beam Suntory in 2008 as Marketing Director, India helping build the leadership position for Teacher’s Scotch in India while expanding Jim Beam. In 2016, he assumed the position of Marketing Director, Emerging Asia, helping establish new routes-to-market in China and South Korea. Kumar has been a key leader in helping deliver sustained performance in India, a priority emerging market for Beam Suntory.

“India is a strategic priority for Beam Suntory, and I couldn’t be more energized to be charged with our ambitious growth agenda and leading our passionate India team,” said Kumar. “Our growth plans reflect a strong commitment from Beam Suntory to the Indian market and our vision of Growing for Good, protecting water and the environment, giving back to our communities, and promoting responsible consumption of our products.”

Prior to Beam Suntory, Kumar served in roles of increasing responsibility at PepsiCo Nepal and Electrolux India, where he rose to the position of Vice President Marketing & Strategy at Electrolux Major Appliances.

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.