Author Archives: Bhavya Desai

Govt Takes Big Decision, ENA outside GST

  • Alcohol industry welcomes decision
  • Council recommends cut in GST on molasses from 28% to 5%

The 52nd GST Council which met under the Chairpersonship of Union Minister for Finance & Corporate Affairs, Nirmala Sitharaman on October 7th took a significant decision with regard to Goods and Services Tax (GST) rates which has a positive impact on the alcobev sector. It has recommended to keep Extra Neutral Alcohol (ENA) used for manufacture of alcoholic liquor for human consumption outside of GST. 

The GST Council recommendations will now be examined by the Law Committee on suitable amendment in law to exclude ENA for use in manufacture of alcoholic liquors for human consumption from the ambit of GST. The other recommendation is to reduce GST on molasses from 28% to 5%. This step will increase liquidity with mills and enable faster clearance of cane dues to sugarcane farmers. This will also lead to reduction in cost for manufacture of cattle feed as molasses is also an ingredient in its manufacture.

As per reports, a separate tariff HS code has been created at 8 digit level in the Customs Tariff Act to cover rectified spirit for industrial use. The GST rate notification will be amended to create an entry for ENA for industrial use attracting 18% GST.

It also clarified that job work services for processing of barley into malt attracts GST @ 5% as applicable to “job work in relation to food and food products” and not 18%.

The Council also made changes in GST rates on “Food preparation of millet flour in powder form, containing at least 70% millets by weight”, falling under HS 1901, with effect from date of notification, have been prescribed as: 0% if sold in other than pre-packaged and labelled form; and 5% if sold in pre-packaged and labelled form. 

Briefing the media, the Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said, though by law, the GST Council had the right to tax ENA as established by the judgment of the Allahabad High Court, the Council has decided to cede those right to the States. The issues around the taxability of ENA has been under consideration since the implementation of GST in 2017. Several states had opposed and challenged the right of the GST Council in imposing taxes on ENA. The Allahabad High Court has issued a judgement in the favour of the GST Council. As per the judgement, the GST Council has the right to impose taxes on ENA, and not the states. “If the states want to tax it they are welcome, if they want to leave it as it is, they can.  In the interest of states, the centre has ceded that right to states,” Sitharaman said.

ISWAI welcomes recommendations

Mr. Suresh Menon, Secretary-General of the International Spirits and Wines Association of India (ISWAI) said, “Today’s decision by the GST Council to cede taxing control on un-denatured ethyl alcohol (commonly called Extra Neutral Alcohol or ENA) to the States is a major and very welcome step for the industry. It brings finality to an issue that has been hanging fire for the six plus years since GST came into being. The alcoholic spirits industry has been making the case for continuing to keep the taxation of this item within the taxing domain of the States, as had been the practice pre-GST. The possibility of an increase in taxes and hence in the cost of this essential ingredient in the manufacture of alcoholic spirits if ENA were to be taxed to GST, thereby pushing up the prices of the end alcoholic beverage, now falls away, and is very welcome. The industry is grateful to the members and the secretariat of the GST Council for this very critical decision for the sector. Likewise, also for the reduction in the rate of GST on molasses to 5% (from the current 28%), which should make for a level playing field for distillers of both grain and molasses (both integrated and standalone).”

CIABC thanks the Government for resolving long-standing demand

Welcoming the move, Mr. Vinod Giri, Director General of the Confederation of Indian Alcoholic Beverage Companies (CIABC) said, “We are very happy to see the GST Council give a definitive recommendation on the taxability of ENA used in making alcoholic beverages. ENA is nothing but high strength potable alcohol used as the primary ingredient for making alcoholic beverages after due dilution with water. 

Ideally, the industry would have liked all of alcohol including the finished products be under the GST to bring parity in taxation across states. However, we know there are complexities involved in that but as long as alcoholic beverages are kept outside GST, putting ENA under GST and leaving the industry with a stranded cost would have made little sense, especially as companies do not have the freedom to pass on this tax in most states.”

Mr. Giri added that in the absence of clarity from the GST Council, Courts had taken conflicting positions on the matter which had further compounded the uncertainties. 

“Industry has been pleading with the Council and other Government agencies involved for several years to bring finality on the matter. GST Council has also taken it up several times in its meetings but a definitive recommendation and closure had eluded. Considering that, the GST Council’s decision is a big relief to the industry. It will bring stability and settle nerves all over. “

He also mentioned that the CIABC had also recommended measures on related matters such as tax rate on molasses to bring a finality on the matter. “We are happy to see the Council recommend a comprehensive solution including reducing GST rate on molasses to 5% which should mitigate discomfort amongst the minority users buying molasses to make ENA.

On behalf of CIABC members and many other IMFL manufacturers, I thank the involved Governments and the Council for resolving a long-standing demand of the alcoholic beverages industry. We feel relieved.”

Allahabad High Court earlier had said ENA is subject to GST

Earlier the Allahabad High Court, in the case of Jain Distillery, held ENA is not covered under ‘alcoholic liquor for human consumption’ and is subject to GST.  The decision had opened a floodgate of questions for the manufacturers/suppliers of ENA across the country, who have been paying VAT/CST on the sale, and also the buyers, who have been availing credits of such VAT and setting it off against VAT payable on the sale of alcoholic beverages. 

The taxability of ENA has been the subject matter of deliberation for some years now. West Bengal has said the tax on potable liquor whose raw material comes from ENA must remain with the states; the ENA used for industrial purposes comes under GST, it said. Uttar Pradesh, where alcohol makes up more than 95 per cent of ENA, and other states such as Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan, Telangana, Punjab, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, and Karnataka wanted ENA to be kept out of GST. 

A Warm Welcome, campaign that elevates Mansion House brandy

Mansion House, a flagship brand of Tilaknagar Industries launched its new DVC titled ‘A Warm Welcome’ with a digital campaign. The campaign aims to evoke emotions and foster a strong sense of shared humanity. In an interview with Ambrosia, Amit Dahanukar, Chairman and Managing Director, Tilaknagar Industries speaks about Mansion House’ phenomenal growth, consumer connect and their new campaign.

The idea behind the campaign was simple, to evoke emotions and spread the sense of human bonding. From the visuals of ‘atithi devo bhava’ that is critical to our culture like a friend walking through the gate to a warm hug, a brave woman army officer returns home in the North East to a joyous welcome, a stranded musician gets a lift by a couple, a fresher is made to feel at home in the office cafeteria. With every frame the campaign tries to paint a story of human bonding.

World’s fastest growing Brandy

The campaign ‘A Warm Welcome’ comes at a time when Mansion House brandy has become the world’s fastest growing brandy and the second-fastest-growing alcoholic beverage brand across categories globally in 2022. Mansion House Brandy achieved sales of 7.1 million cases in 2022 as against 4.5 million cases in 2021. It has a 12% market share in the brandy category and is ranked third, in the overall global rankings for the ‘Brandy and Cognac’ category, according to Drinks International.

Premiumisation and tapping newer markets

The flagship brand of Tilaknagar Industries, Mansion House, is already creating waves. And with the trend of premiumisation catching on, the company’s second premium brandy brand, Courrier Napoleon has had a robust 43% growth as per Drinks International’s The Millionaires’ Club 2023 report. 

Mr. Amit Dahanukar, Chairman and Managing Director, Tilaknagar Industries said, “We have always been passionate about brandy as a product category. The remarkable performance of both our brandy offerings is a pointer to the immense potential the brandy segment holds in the region. Our brandy-first approach coupled with new product innovations has helped us jazz up the segment.”

Resonates with its target audience

Ahmad Rahimtoola, the Chief Marketing Officer of Tilaknagar Industries. adds that capturing this essence, this cultural richness, this warmth and this bonding is the new campaign by Mansion House Brandy. The campaign resonates well with customers who find Mansion House brandy more than just a product, becoming a symbol of fostering authentic relationships and memorable moments, in the very own words of

With such phenomenal growth and consumer connect, it was necessary for the brand to further connect with its expanding clientele base, hence the campaign, subtly aspirational, resonating well with the target audience of families and friends who value simple but genuine bonding.

Rahimtoola explains that the campaign is to redefine the brandy category’s communication landscape and establish a distinctive category code. “The rationale is to tap into consumers’ emotions and elevate Mansion House beyond being just a beverage to becoming an integral part of their cherished moments.”

Embraces inclusivity, compassion and heartfelt connections

Asked how the team came up with this campaign, Rahimtoola mentions that the “campaign’s central idea drew inspiration from the essence of Mansion House Brandy itself – the warmth and hospitality it embodies. We sought to create a narrative that mirrors the product’s attributes that exemplifies the genuine connections Mansion House.

StoryBoats the creative agency’s brilliance

Talking about how StoryBoats, its creative and brand partner, Rahimtoola says the ‘relationship has been nothing short of transformative. It transcends the typical client-agency dynamic, as we embarked on an extraordinary journey together. From the very outset, StoryBoats became an essential part of the process, infusing their creativity and passion into every step. This campaign’s brilliance is a testament to the profound relationship and mutual respect we share.

Ahmed Rahimtoola

Captivating Visuals

In the spirits business, we all are aware how it is rare to see a campaign for brandy as a category, but it requires a brand like Mansion House to set the spirits soaring. Rahimtoola substantiates “Producing this campaign for the brandy category was a rare opportunity to redefine communication norms within the segment. By emphasising the power of warm welcomes and inclusivity, the campaign sets a precedent for elevating the brandy experience beyond the physical product. We envision this campaign to contribute to the category’s growth by connecting with consumers at an emotional level and becoming a catalyst for brand preference and loyalty.”

The campaign addresses different age groups featuring a probable corporate female trainee; a 30ish musician who has hit the road; a female army officer who returns home, probably from a battle zone making the parents proud; an elderly gentleman showing compassion to a middle-aged person seemingly stressed out, consciously making an effort to dispel that brandy is a preserve of the elderly and that it is administered when someone catches a common cold. Brandy is for all occasions, more so celebratory.

Mansion House Brandy

The campaign has been unveiled across all its digital platforms. Strategically rolled out in key south India markets, the campaign utilises a multi-touch point digital strategy and a hyper local influencer amplification campaign to leave an impressionable mark.

In FY23, the company launched India’s first premium flavoured brandy – Mansion House Reserve French Style Brandy, the premium variant of Mansion House Brandy. These products have been well-received in the market and are being instrumental in imparting a new verve to the brandy space. Also, the company has forayed into newer markets, specially in the East and the Northeast, that offer a huge opportunity for category expansion.

Ron De Ugar Handcrafted Rum Review

The Ron De Ugar Rum comes from Ugar Sugars Works Ltd who have been in the Sugar business for about 75 years. And as you know that manufacturing ENA is a natural extension of being in this business and in line with that Ugar Sugar also has a portfolio of spirit products in the market. This is their first rum product and is priced at Rs. 1300 in Goa for a 750 ml bottle. The rum features a 42.8% ABV and is currently only available in Goa and Karnataka, with plans to launch it soon in others states as well.

Why the Name?

It is common to believe if this rum is from India? The name suggests that it might be an international product and honestly I also thought for it to be one at first glance. But this is a 100% Indian handcrafted Rum and it is manufactured in the Ugar Khurd region, which is a small hamlet in the erstwhile princely state of Sangli in the West of India, on the border of Maharashtra and Karnataka. The region is a sugar manufacturing-focused township with large areas under sugarcane cultivation, which is where the distillery is based and also of course this rum is also made there. And since this comes from the Ugar region, its named after it, the ‘Ron de’ has been added to give it some flair of course. 

Apart from the name there are few other interesting things about this Rum, and the most important is that this is made from cane spirits and not molasses. Most of the rums that you find in India are made from Molases, whisky’s also in fact. Much like Camicara Rum, which is also a small batch rum made from cane spirit, Ron De Ugar is mixed with mature 3-5 year rums and cane spirit.

Another interesting thing about this rum is the moniker on the rum. When you look at him it seems like an international figure, but this is actually Shivaji’s Naval Commander, Kanoji Angre, who use to monitor that belt and is also known as askilled navy chief hence used here. 

Kanoji Angre features as the moniker on the label

How is it made?

So, how exactly is this rum produced? The aged rums are combined with cane spirits and left to mature gradually in Oakwood casks. Afterward, they’re mixed with fragrant spices to create a unique flavour. This rum is crafted and bottled at the Ugar Sugar Works Ltd. in Ugar Khurd, located in the Belagavi district of Karnataka.

The Rum is matured in Oakwood Cask

Packaging:

Similar to many other rums available in this segment, it comes in a canister. A marron base colour along with gold letterings make it look good and the canister also has some night texture with the picture of the Naval Commander Kanoji Angre on it. The shape of the bottle is similar to that if Monkey Shoulder whisky somewhat.

The bottle looks like Monkey Shoulder Whisky

Nosing:

With an alcohol by volume (ABV) of 42.8%, this rum is undoubtedly smooth while nosing. Its sweetness carries note reminiscent of vanilla, which is evident from the aroma it imparts. There’s a distinct and clear vanilla scent. While there’s not much spiciness, the scent is deep and intense. Taking a whiff of this rum can also provide a pleasant sensation, gently expanding one’s nostrils.

Tasting:

Talking about the taste, as expected, it’s smooth. When the spirit enters the mouth, it feels refined, smooth and also warm. The spiciness hits you slightly late just as the vanilla sweetness fades away. There’s a lingering texture on the palate, offering a warm and comfortable feeling. Interestingly, although the spiciness isn’t obvious at first sip, it becomes evident shortly after. The spiciness is balanced and not overwhelming, providing a relaxed experience. The finish is prolonged, felt at the back of the throat, and carries a warm sensation with a subtle hint of spice. Despite the enticing aroma of vanilla and sweetness, these flavours don’t translate as strongly onto the palate. For a rum with a 42.8% ABVit goes down smoothly.

Conclusion:

Priced at ₹1300, this rum certainly falls into the premium category. It’s important to note that this isn’t a budget-friendly option, especially when considering potential higher costs in other states. But the makers are very clear that this is meant to be a handcrafted small batch rum. While the rum is good I would’ve been happier if it would’ve been priced at around Rs. 900 – 1000, it would’ve flown off the shelves then. But overall you must try this for sure, atleast once.

The Glenwalk Whisky Review

This is the newest Blended Scotch in the market and this is the first exclusive review of this Whisky as well. Now what’s special about this whisky? It actually comes from Sanjay Dutt. Yes you heard it right! The famous actor is one of the partners in this whisky and other than him there are four other partners who have come together to form a company called Cartel and Brothers. All of the partners in this company seem to have good experience in this industry and from the looks of it they have all the bases covered between them.

Sanjay Dutt – The Glenwalk Whisky

Apart from of course have Dutt as a partner, the other thing special about this scotch is its price. It’s just costs Rs. 1550 in Maharastra for a 700 ml bottle (not 750 ml), it is a 40% ABV. This is also currently only available in Maharastra only. Now this is a category where you have your Indian Premium whisky’s like Blenders, Oaksmith, Antiquity Blue, Signature, etc, who are millionaire brands, making this experience, something that those consumers might be interested in.

The makers also highlight that while this is a scotch, it is tailoured to the Indian tastes buds, which means there might have been much thought gone behind making this.

How is it Made?

Of course being a blended scotch it is made in Scotland and this uses a 3-year-old malt that is mixed with grain spirits. Most scotches as you know come with an age statement of 3-4 years malt.

Now the Glenwalk is made using the traditional production method, which involves using malted barley that is soaked in water and allowed to germinate until the sugars are released. This is then fermented to create the blend. This is also made and bottled at the Aceo Ltd in UK, which are the producers of number of malts and scotches.

Malted Barley

What’s also interesting is that this is a whisky that the company is also pushing as a mixer, they have a host of recipes on their website, which is a trend that is ongoing in the industry now – much like the Jhonnie Walker Blonde, which is doing well in the market.

Packaging

As you would expect, being a blended scotch it comes in a mono carton and they’ve gone for the black colour. The carton also featured a picture of the highlands on it, which is where this is made. The carton has also the relevant info and the idea behind the scotch. Much like the communication surrounding the whisky, the packaging also tries to sell the story about a more premium brand and taste experience that is suppose to inspire the consumer.

The Glenwalk Blended Scotch Whisky Packaging

Personally I feel the outer packaging could be better. It’s difficult to read the bottle name from a distance since it is presented in a vertical. I am not sure if this was a strategy that the makers went with, much like the Black Label, which deliberately slanted its logo at 24 degrees on purpose to stand out on the shelf at that time.

On the inside I like the packaging. The bottle shape is kind of a cross between the Glens of the world and also a little bit of Bagpiper honestly? Let me know in the comments if you also think so, or what is the type of look of this bottle do you think it is?  

The Glenwalk Blended Scotch Whisky

Nosing

On the nose the you get a little hint of sweetness which is common from the whisky’s that come from the Highlands. It’s 40% ABV and it doesn’t seem very potent. The colour is dark-deeper brown.  

Tasting

A nice swirl and you get the fruity sweetness for sure, a hint of caramel and the spicy nature. There is also a hint of smoky aroma which isn’t in your face, but you get it surely when the spirit is in your mouth. Another thing to notice is that it is a strong spirit. For a 40% ABV it surely feels more potent. And it also has a long finish which lingers with a slightly buttery texture on your tongue. 

Verdict

So the biggest question is how is The Glenwalk Blended Scotch Whisky? I think it is interesting. It offers a scotch flavour at a very attractive price for the consumer, where some of the most popular Indian premium whiskies are positioned. Yes for the price of Rs. 1550 in Maharastra it isn’t the best premium scotch experience, but there is enough here to make you want to try it atleast Once. Yes but this is only available in Maharastra currently, so that might be its drawback because it has the potential to be a lot cheaper when it goes to the other states.

So if you are able to get this then surely taste it and tell us in the comments how you felt.

Old Monk Amber Review

Old Monk Rum is one of the highest selling rums in India and has been a fan favourite among rum drinkers for a longtime. And Old Monk Amber is a more refined expression from the same makers. This comes from Mohan Meakins and is priced tag of ₹950 in Uttar Pradesh. The company is also behind the production of Solan Gold whisky and Jamun Dry gin, both of which we have previously reviewed.

What’s Unique about Old Monk Amber?

There are two things that are unique about this Old Monk. First ii its name, called ‘Amber’. Now this word has a number of meanings. In Arabic it means ‘Jewel’, like the word ‘ambar’. In Sanskrit it means ‘the sky’. The second thing that sets Amber apart from its older sibling is the colour. While Old Monk is known for its distinctively dark colour, Amber is named for its more golden hue. The name has multiple meanings in different languages, but I suspect that the colour was the inspiration behind it.

But the real difference between Old Monk and Amber is the blend. Amber is a mix of the classic Old Monk rum alongwith a 20-year-old expression. It is a mellow and matured rum that is unlike anything else on the market. The box proudly proclaims that it is an XO, or Extra Ordinary, rum, thanks to the addition of the 20-year blend.

While there isn’t much information available about the making process of Amber, we suspect that it is not too different from that of Old Monk. Both are made by fermenting cane molasses until bottling. The only difference is that the 20-year blend must be mixed at some point during that time in order to create that matured spirit.

Unboxing and Packaging 

the packaging of Amber is distinctive and different. The cartons come in a dark red-maroon colour with the words “20-year-old expression” clearly stated on the bottle. The box also bears the words “Pride of India” and “Mellow and Matured Rum.” It is worth noting that the packaging mentions that the product has added colours.

When it comes to the bottle, the first thing that catches the eye is its Amber colour, which is very clear and apparent. The label is slightly slanted, indicating that it was made by hand, much like the Old Monk bottles. The rum has an ABV of 42.8%, and it is priced at ₹950 in UP. It is made and bottled in the Ghaziabad plant of Mohan Meakins in UP.

Nosing

The rum has a potent scent, and the high alcohol content of 42.8% is definitely noticeable. There’s a subtle sweetness present due to the sugarcane, but no detectable spice notes on the nose.

Tasting

When sipping this rum, one can immediately notice its smooth and refined taste, which belies its potent aroma. The palate may detect a subtle dryness, followed by a long finish that leaves no unpleasant burning sensation in the throat. However, there is a noticeable bite and spiciness on the palate. Despite this, the overall sensation is one of warmth and smoothness, making for an overall enjoyable sipping experience, especially for old monk drinkers.

Conclusion

Old Monk Amber is a premium rum and boasts a smooth texture, thanks to the addition of a 20-year-old malt. Priced at ₹950 in UP, it’s a natural choice for those who appreciate a more refined drinking experience. While it may cost more than the regular version, it’s definitely worth trying at least once. For Old Monk fans, it’s worth giving it a try as they tend to be loyal to the brand. And when it comes to taste, Old Monk Amber rum delivers on all fronts, hitting all the right notes and satisfying the palate with every sip.

Gianchand Single Malt Whisky Review

Gianchand whisky is made by Devans Modern Breweries which is based in Jammu and was established in 1961 and has been manufacturing and selling matured malt spirit since 1967 to the industry, which is over 5 decades, this means that they know exactly what they are doing. This whisky has also become really popular and a famed name since like some of the Indian Single Malts this also won accolades in the international markets. 

The price of this whisky is Rs. 4490 in Delhi and this is currently available in Delhi, Jammu, Uttarakhand and Leh. The whisky will also be launched in Gurgaon soon with availability to stretch to 10 states later. Devans also have couple of other popular products in the Beer category that you might’ve heard of, like the Godfather and Kotsberg Beer, but with Gianchand, the company has entered the whisky market.

Now this is a very peculiar name, isn’t it? Gianchand? And I am sure you are wondering why is this named that? This whisky is named after the company late founder Dewan Gian Chand and is dedicated to him. Now Dewan Gian Chand was a former journalist who started with a liquor bottling plant which later turned into a distillery over the years. 

There are two other things that I find really unique about the whisky

First is where it is made. So the distillery where Gianchand whisky is made is located in Jammu. Their flagship distillery, which is at Bohri is located on the banks of river Tawi, 900 feet up in the lap of the Himalayas. The reason why I am giving this information is because this makes the water from that region unique, and as you know that it adds a unique taste to the whisky. The company also operates two breweries in Kotputli, Rajasthan, and Samba. 

And the second thing is that this blend is also made by the legendary master blender Mr. NJ Menon. He has been awarded the Lifetime Achievement award by Ambrosia and some of the most loved brands that you might’ve tasted or heard of his creations. 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.

Packaging

In terms of the packaging, I really like the shape of the bottle. It feels bold yet delicate and classy, the labels are nice and strong, exudes the name as well. It also gives good info about the whisky and beams the words ‘Product of India’ on the label. The bottle seems like it reminisces a Japanese whisky honestly. 

This whisky is made by the company by sticking to the basics – they’ve used quality ex-bourbon barrels and paid particular attention to ageing. Dewans believe GianChand can be compared by to the likes of Glenfiddich 18YO. Now that is a tall claim but there is also a peated version that should be out in the next six-odd months. Peated version is extra smoky for the ones that don’t know.

Tasting and Nosing

Like most Indian single malts, it does have that fruity aroma, like peachy, pruny, a little apriocot may be. You do get some sweetness and some spiciness. It is smoky – I am getting the oak for sure.

In terms of taste, it is sweet, but I love the fact that there is some salt or a hint of salt to it. It comes through very slightly. It is surely spicy – which is typical of the Indian single malts – they have that fruity taste with a hint of spice. So I love the balance that this has. The finish is slightly long but is smooth with no burn. It is a good explosion of flavours all around that gives a mouthful as you sample the spirit more.

With water added the whisky opens up slightly more and the aromas get even more balanced.

Conclusion

So what do I think about Gianchand? Honestly it is truly reminiscent of the sort of single malts that India is producing in recent times. And like some of the other single malts that have held India’s flag high in the international whisky market, this also adds to that collection. This is sweet and delicate, yet creates that punch. Personally, for me this time in the Alcobev market is so important coz I feel that there is a Indian Single Malt revolution that is currently on, not only in India but also globally and this adds another star to that.

MacRoys launches Extra Peat Blended Scotch Whisky in India

Macroys has launched its newest Extra Peated Blended Scotch Whisky in India which has been distilled, aged and blended in Scotland. Currently the whisky is available in Punjab and Chandigarh at a price point of Rs. 1800/- & Rs.1500/- per 750ml bottle.

What’s unique about this extra peat flavour is that this whisky has been given a smoky flavour by compounds which are released by the peat fires used to dry malted barley. The Length and intensity of exposure to the peat smoke dictates the strength of this flavour as do the characteristics of the peat itself. The blend is matured using the BB1 barrels, the once used American Oak Bourbon barrels holding only Bourbon which infuse a distinct character to the whisky.

Angus Dundee is also known for its popular brands like Tomintoul and Glencadam that are renowned with the consumers across the globe. 

Tasting Notes

Colour: Deep Amber

Nose: Sweet and smoky with aromas of toasted nuts, chimney soot, honeycomb and cocoa powder.

Palate: Layers of treacle toffees, campfire smoke, cooked fruits and Danish pastry fading into

liquorice and cake spices.

Finish: Warming and balanced with notes of honey, milk chocolate and rolling tobacco with hints of

peat smoke lingering on the tongue.

ASCI bans surrogate advertising in IPL

The Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) banned surrogate advertising of liquor during India’s showstopper event – Indian Premier League 2021 which however, got truncated, due to some players and franchise staff testing positive. Talks are on to hold the unfinished spectacle in the United Arab Emirates, like it did in 2020 without crowd attendance, to be viewed on a broadcast platform.

It was during 2020 IPL that surrogate advertising was active on television and digital medium, particularly OTT (over the top), the latter in the absence of clear guidelines. “The IPL broadcaster for TV has confirmed to the ASCI that all advertisements are checked for CBFC clearance so that they are not in violation of the Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act, 1995 (CTNR). Keeping that in mind, the ASCI processed complaints on advertisements appearing in OTT, digital and print media,” ASCI said. The association suo motu took up 14 complaints and some of the advertisers withdrew the ads.

Brand extensions have some leeway

The CTNR rules prohibited the direct or indirect advertising of cigarettes, tobacco products, wine, alcohol, liquor or other intoxicants in 2009. The Information & Broadcasting Ministry, however, allowed advertisements of products even if they shared a brand name with a liquor or tobacco product so long as it wasn’t a manifestation of the prohibited product. Advertisement of brand extensions of liquor and tobacco products is permitted under CTNR, provided the product sold under the brand extension does not make direct or indirect references to the prohibited product, it is distributed in reasonable quantity and is available in a substantial number of outlets, and the proposed expenditure on the advertisement of the brand extension product is not disproportionate to the actual sales turnover of that product.

ASCI guidelines for brand extensions

The Advertising Standards Council has ‘Guidelines for qualification of brand extension product or service’ wherein for an advertisement to qualify as a genuine brand extension advertisement (by implication, not surrogate), the in-store availability of the product sold must be at least 10% of the leading brand in the product category or sales turnover of the product must exceed `5 crores annually or `1 crore in the state where the product is distributed.

Age-old question, whether to allow liquor advertising or not?

However, the question that keeps raking up is an age-old issue – whether to allow liquor advertising / surrogate advertising or not? And the topic is universal leading to unending debates. Across continents, there are countries where liquor advertising is allowed and then there are as many countries that have banned / restricted advertising of alcoholic beverages. In the United States, spirits advertising has self-regulatory bodies that create standards for the ethical advertising of alcohol. In the UK, advertising for alcoholic drinks follows a code enforced by the Advertising Standards Authority, while the packaging and branding of the products is subject to self-regulation. In Thailand, alcohol advertisements are allowed but with a warning message. In South Korea, public advertising is allowed only after 10 p.m. In the Philippines, alcohol advertising comes with a disclaimer ‘Drink Responsibly’. In India, liquor advertising was banned after the Ministry of Health found that cigarettes and liquor had adverse effects on a person’s health. However, advertisements for liquor brand extensions can run on television only if they have a certificate from the Central Board of Film Certification. That led to the companies (manufacturers and also advertising agencies) becoming innovative with ‘surrogate advertising’ wherein unrelated products with the same brand name is manufactured / advertised and sold, only to ensure that the liquor brand name stays right on top of consumers’ minds. Unrelated products include mineral water, music CDs, soda, sports accessories and anything that can be advertised.

Active on digital media

The question here is when liquor companies are active on social media which is a major influencer, an indisputable force and not to mention its enormous reach, the whole idea of banning on OTT and television smacks of hypocrisy. It is indeed paradoxical that excise which is one of the top revenue earners for most states, going up to 15 % of the overall revenues, is not allowed to be promoted. There is a school of thought that believes if a product is allowed to be manufactured and sold, it should be allowed to be advertised, but that is over simplification as it will certainly be like opening up the Pandora’s Box.Gokul Krishnamoorthy who worked with an agency that handled United Breweries in an opinionated article in the Financial Express says “While ASCI banning surrogate ads by liquor brands during the curtailed IPL 2021 was a welcome move, it prompted a question in many minds. What explains the existence of a team called ‘Royal Challengers Bangalore’? One can’t help but remember that the current captain of the team Virat Kohli is idolised by a young boy in a health beverage commercial, among many others. Royal Challenge is a brand of whisky owned by United Spirits, which also owns the Royal Challengers Bangalore cricket team. If scale of presence, volume of advertising, market share and the likes are the key metrics by which one decides whether or not an alcohol brand can advertise its extension, then Royal Challengers Bangalore has no problem at all.” He goes on to add “The only seeming solution then, albeit rather simplistic and overarching, is that if a brand is present in a category where promotion is banned, it should not be allowed to promote itself in any context. It should be denied the right to promotion, whether for its shared corporate brand, for its extension, for its event, for its cricket team or whatever else.” Since such conundrums exist, there are those who feel that we need to shed this hypocrisy and accept that people do drink and reaching them is a legitimate part of a company’s business plans. The companies should be allowed to promote safe, moderate and responsible drinking. In states where there is prohibition this issue does not crop up at all. With digital media coming into play, some players have been advertising brand extensions as the CTNR does not apply to advertisements over the internet. This is changing as we have seen the government bringing social media under control. The digital medium is pretty nascent and governments are grappling with policies to rein in the medium. Indian liquor companies have been using social media to promote their brands. The UB Group recently tied up with a digital content company which produced a web series titled ‘Pitchers’, a five-part series on four friends trying to launch a start-up. With over 10 million viewers, the show got a rating of 9.7 out of 10 on internet movie database website, making the new concept of advertising, going beyond surrogate advertising. As rules become stricter, liquor brands will look at different channels – events, experiential, branded content and in-film, like ‘Pitchers’. As manufacturers need to advertise, one way or the other as to get their products sold, they have been innovative in how to get the message across.

Canned alcoholic beverages market size worth $13.4 billion by 2028

The global canned alcoholic beverages market size is expected to reach USD 13.4 billion by 2028, according to a new report by Grand View Research, Inc. The market is expected to expand at a CAGR of 13.3% from 2021 to 2028. Canned alcoholic beverages are gaining popularity among consumers since cans are more convenient, portable, and travel-friendly. Moreover, these metal cans are less expensive as compared to glass bottles and have a considerably higher recycling rate than glass.

In Asia Pacific, the market is expected to witness a CAGR of 13.9% from 2021 to 2028. The major factor driving the market in the region is the presence of young consumers and rapidly growing economies.
The wine segment is projected to register the fastest CAGR of 13.7% from 2021 to 2028. The rising awareness among consumers for more eco-friendly alternatives to plastic bottles coupled with the growing taste for convenient products is propelling the demand for canned wine.


The online segment is expected to register the fastest CAGR of 13.6% from 2021 to 2028. The hassle-free shopping experience offered by various online platforms is expected to drive the growth of the segment.


The hand seltzers segment held the largest revenue share in 2020 and is expected to maintain its dominance over the forecast period. Hard seltzers are carbonated water-based drinks, which are usually infused with fruits and spirits. These have become quite popular among millennials due to their low alcohol content. Low prices of hard seltzer, easy availability across supermarkets and convenience stores are factors anticipated to boost their sales in the upcoming years.


The liquor stores segment contributed a majority of the share to become the largest division in the global revenue in 2020. These stores have been a widespread and well-established distribution channel for canned alcoholic beverages. The wide availability of both premium and private label brands at these stores attract consumers to purchase products through these channels.


In addition, a report published by Fior Markets claims the global functional beverages market is expected to grow from $125.39 billion in 2020 to $216.7 billion by 2028, growing at a CAGR of 7.08% during the forecast period 2021-2028.


Functional beverages are liquids that often contain a health claim and are used to hydrate the body and maintain nutritional balance. On the basis of type, the global functional beverages market is segmented into drinks, energy drinks, fruit and vegetable juices, herbal and fruit teas, fortified water, rehydration solutions, dairy beverages, non-dairy beverages and others.


The energy drinks segment dominated the market and held the largest market share of 20.9% in the year 2020. This growth is attributed to the rising adoption of energy drinks and the increase in reliance on them for instant energy amongst an increasingly busy population.


The market is booming and there’s already a large number of brands. Some popular drinks include Tequila Cazadores RTDs, Onda Sparkling Tequila, Miami Cocktail Co., Dogfish Head RTDs, St. Agrestis Spritz, and Lunar Tamarind & Rice Paddy Herb.

Tequila Cazadores RTDs
These ready-to-drink (RTD) tequila cocktails are available in Margarita, Spicy Margarita and Paloma flavours and continue the trend of tequila RTDs outshining almost all other canned drinks.


Onda Sparkling Tequila
The best designed of the tequila RTDs, this sparkling beverage (which features actress Shay Mitchell as the “Chief Brand Officer”) just launched two new flavours, Watermelon and an incredibly refreshing Blood Orange. Fizzy, light and citrusy.

Miami Cocktail Co.
While this RTD brand flashes a lot of healthy catchphrases (vegan, gluten-free, non-GMO, “clean calorie”) their organic spritzes should appeal to anyone. Ridiculously great in hot weather, the brand offers everything from Rosé Bellini Spritz to a Grapefruit & Hibiscus Paloma Spritz.

Dogfish Head RTDs
It turns out it takes a brewery (and distillery) to finally make a good vodka soda. The Blueberry Shrub RTD here is light but flavourful. And brown spirits fans: The Cherry Bergamot Whiskey Sour is the rare summer-ready whiskey drink.

 

St. Agrestis Spritz

The Spritz however, is a refreshing, herbal/citrus combo of the St. Agrestis Paradiso Aperitivo, sparkling Italian wine and sparkling water.

Lunar Tamarind & Rice Paddy Herb
Described as the “first and only Asian American craft hard seltzer made with real, premium fruits and ingredients from Asia,” the brand just launched a limited-edition “Heritage” line that pays tribute to well-known Asian foods and is co-developed with New York-based chefs and owners of popular local restaurants. The Tamarind & Rice Paddy Herb release will be unlike any canned drink you’ll try now … and portends a promising and innovative future for the category.


Beverage Cans Market size is estimated to reach $17.24bn by 2025, growing at a CAGR of 4.9% during the forecast period 2020-2025. Beverage cans are the metal containers that are used to store liquid drinks like alcoholic beverages, carbonated soft drinks, fruit and vegetable juices, energy or sports drinks and others. These cans are usually made of aluminum and steel. The increased demand for the alcohol beverage which is to be stored at low temperatures is driving the usage of this beverage cans as they help in storing the drinks at low temperatures which helps to hold the taste and properties of drinks. The rise in health concerns among the people to avoid plastic containers as they are harmful and non-bio-degradable is driving the usage of beverage cans market during the forecast period 2020-2025.


The global Beverage Cans Market based on Material type has Aluminum and Steel. The Aluminum segment registers for the highest market share in 2019 and is set to continue for the forecast period 2020-2025, owing to the increased usage of aluminum in making beverages cans. Overs 70% of beverage cans are made of aluminum globally. Aluminum cans are easily recycled with properties like lightweight and easy to manufacture, transport and are economical. Having many advantages over other materials is driving the market of aluminum beverage cans during the forecast period 2020-2025. The steel beverage cans are having below-average growth as they are heavy and is set to react with beverages in those cans, however, cans made with a composition of steel and other material are being introduced into the market to decrease the cost of beverage cans.
Based on geography the global Beverage Cans Market is segmented into North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, and the Rest of the World. North America had a dominant share in terms of revenue in 2019 and it holds the largest market share during the forecast period 2020-2025, owing to the availability of the high number of consumers of aluminum can stored beverages. The Asia-Pacific region is also set to have healthy growth during the forecast period 2020-2025, owing to the availability of a large population and increased consumption of beverages. The availability of large raw materials like aluminum and steel are also factors that are supporting the growth of the market in the Asia-Pacific region.

Beverage Cans Market Drivers
Increased consumption of beverages
The increase in the consumption of beverages globally is driving the demand for beverage cans. Increased promotional activities by different manufacturers of beverages to increase demand for drinks are driving the usage of beverage cans owing to increased sales of beverages. Beverage cans being eco-friendly, recyclable and lightweight are driving the market growth during the forecast period 2020-2025.

Beverage Cans Market Challenges
Fluctuation in the cost of raw materials
The fluctuations in the cost of raw material are challenging the production of the beverage cans. The defects in three-piece type cans, such as leaks, inability to withstand high pressures and temperatures are challenging the market during the forecast period 2020-2025.

India Glycols Ltd forays into IMFL

India Glycols is a leading company that manufactures green technology based bulk, specialty and performance chemicals and natural gums, spirits, industrial gases, sugar and nutraceuticals. After becoming a market leader in the Country Liquor segment with the famous brand Bunty and Bubly, the company is now ready to make their foray into the IMFL with their new launches, Amazing Vodka and Single Reserva Whisky. Ambrosia spoke to the Management Team of the brand in an exclusive interview.

With chemicals being the primary cornerstone of India Glycols Ltd business, the company continues to enjoy an undisputed leadership position in certain segments over two decades. And liquor being a by-product of the chemical distillation process, it was only natural to foray into this business.

While country liquor industry was the mainstay of the liquor division with their popular brand Bunty and Bubly selling 1.32 crore cases per month as against the next best-selling brand, which is less than 50%, the company will shortly launch their first 2 products in the Vodka and Semi Premium Whisky category, Amazing Vodka and Single Reserva Whisky.

The Chairmanof India Glycols Limited (IGL), Mr. U S Bhartia felt that IMFL Division should also be nurtured and brought up especially following the success of its country liquor. These sentiments are also echoed by Rupark Sarswat, CEO, India Glycols Ltd ‘the logical step for us when we started to explore consumer market was to look at country liquor and then much more market intensive areas like IMFL. We are looking to engage in the market, continue to take feedback but make sure that the way we build our business is slow, steady and solid.’

With the consumers constantly looking to upgrade and premiumisation being the focus for IGL ‘the vodka will be launched in three variants Amazing Plain Vodka, Amazing Green Apple Vodka and Amazing Orange Vodka for the time being while the Single Reserva Whisky will be launched in the semi-premium category with a unique blend and offering’ said Raju Vaziraney, Advising – President, IMFL for India Glycols Ltd.

Despite the flat growth in the vodka industry, the decision to foray into the vodka market stems from the fact that the consumer is moving towards flavours adds Vaziraney. “You will be happy to know the vodka market is 60% flavours and 40% plain and the consumer is looking to flirt. Flavours are the future of the vodka market and they will drive the growth of vodka.”

Although the precise price point for the Vodka isn’t known yet it is expected to be in the popular category where it will compete with the likes of the most popular brands by market share in the segment. However what’s interesting about the vodka is that it is five time distilled liquid which IGL feels will provide a very smooth and refined taste to the consumer.

When it comes to the Single Reserva Whisky, it will be a unique offering which is expected to be priced under Rs. 1000 depending on the State that you are in. The whisky is blended with Indian Single Malts making it a unique offering. This is a new concept of blending with Indian single malts which was done after doing extensive blend research with the help of the known blender Peter J. Warren.

Currently IGL plans to focus on these two brands and are looking to grow their portfolio stepwise following the success of these brands. ‘We are not going to take any shortcuts to success, put more money, gain volume and build stocks. We want the consumer to be delighted’ adds Vaziraney.

The IMFL brands are manufactured at the company’s Gorakhpur plant. S.K. Shukla, Head of Operations & Business Manager said that, “I have been at the Gorakhpur plant from where we started our IMFL journey since last year May 2020. Besides that global pandemic till date the achievement has been excellent and we hope that this new product Single Reserva Whisky and Amazing Vodka will be great success in the future with the help of Ambrosia’s support.”

B. P.Singhal, Procurement and Projects engineering, IGL adds that we have selected best of the packaging material, bottle design, which can create a stir in the market, mainly for the Vodka. We are looking to target the youth because vodka is typically consumed by the youth. Keeping these factors in mind we have selected the bottle and packaging for both the products.

With the overall market for Vodka estimated to be about 6 million cases, IGL is looking to grab 15% market share in the vodka segment. A success that T P Sharma, Sales Head(HOD), IGL is confident in replicating following their Bunty Vodka Green Apple Flavour Tetra Pack launch in UP, which has already cornered a market share of 42% in six months.

Both the products will be rolled out in the UP and Uttarakhand markets first with Delhi and few other States as the next options in four-five months time. By the festive period IGL is looking to have their products in more States. Both Amazing Vodka and Single Reserva Whisky will be sold via the on-trade channels with IGL looking at ATL and digital activities to promote them.

Shriharsha Bandaluppi, EA (Executive Assistant) to CMD and General Manager Strategy, said, “we are coming up full throttle by using the social media channels like Facebook, Instagram. We are also identifying the key influencers, all sorts of new age trends etc. specially strengthening the brand position with shoots, signage, posts etc.”