Category Archives: profiles

Bacardi bullish about 2021 despite challenges of 2020

How have Bacardi brands performed in the second half of 2020?

With the festive season ushering in post the lockdown, Bacardi brands have been doing well. There’s renewed optimism as the overall industry is recovering and this has helped increase Bacardi brands’ share in the market. The growth for Bacardi brands has been different across different regions on basis of the occasions that they’re consumed and whether they’re in the High Proof or Low Proof categories.

And in this duration, consumers have become more informed on their knowledge of spirits and cocktails owing to their homemade experiments with cocktails. As on-trade opens up, this will lead to an informed appreciation for bartenders’ skills and greater innovations at bars.

What was your Marketing Strategy during the pandemic?

During the pandemic we kept the consumer at the heart of everything we did, we continued to create moments that matter across brands with their respective cultural passion points of dance, music, comedy and more. We had to remain more agile than ever as consumer behaviour was shifting rapidly and has in many ways changed permanently in this duration. Digital became the consumers’ mainstay as they were looking for avenues to create pre-Covid moments and occasions. Now, it is a part and parcel of the consumer experience, so going forward on-ground and digital experiences will coexist across experiences and campaigns.

As a leader of experiences, our main goal lies in co-curating these new occasions and formats, along with our consumers – understanding how we can meet them at their doorsteps instead of the other way around. Virtual mixology masterclasses, are a great example of the manner in which our brands like Dewar’s and Bombay Sapphire enabled to enjoy their favourite cocktails on a special occasion, when they couldn’t step out to the bar.

Virtual concerts, such as the #HappyAtHome concerts hosted by Bacardí, recreating ‘weekend gigs’ that consumers could enjoy along with their friends, is another creative format where we have adapted to serve what the consumer is craving while staying true to our brand purpose.

How was the response to these marketing initiatives?

All of these campaigns successfully brought alive the brands’ ethos and engaged with the consumers in the formats that they were seeking while also transcending geographical boundaries, enabling access to consumers across the nooks and corners of the country.

How do you see Bacardi faring in 2021?

As the world economy will recover gradually from the pandemic, so will the alcobev industry. With online channels opening up and on-trade beginning to flourish again, I am positive about our brands’ and the overall industry’s growth. The digitization of cultural experiences is here to stay given the successes this year and we will most likely see these coexist with the on-ground activities going forward.

What special initiatives has Bacardi planned this year?

At Bacardi, we identify and leverage consumer insights and needs in order to create any marketing initiative. We explore campaigns and activities where we have an organic fit, a right to play and ones that embody our brand spirit. Thus, with authenticity at the core, we will continue to create moments that matter through platforms, occasions as well as experiences; co-curating them along with our consumers, in formats they prefer.

What are Bacardi’s post-pandemic revival plans?

For us, as part of our BEST10 strategy, Bacardi, globally has been set with the task of making the next ten years the best ones for Bacardi, to become a company known to bring people together for exceptional drinking experiences. As part of this strategy, putting the consumer first and supporting our on-trade channels, especially at this time will be key elements. Our touch points to see this vision through will be authenticity, community and safety.

Authenticity will remain our pillar to build lasting consumer trust. As a family oriented company, we will continue to support communities and partners who’ve been impacted by the crisis. And as safety is crucial, we will continue to build creative but honest ways of ensuring safety.

Do you see the brand sales recovering from the Covid-19 setbacks in 2020?

Yes, I’m optimistic about the future. While distribution in on-trade is still on its path to recovery, we are positive that the new normal will take brand sales in a positive direction. The overall industry is expected to recover fully by the end of the year or early next year.

How do you see the Indian alcobev market recovering from the pandemic?

The growth signs are ushering in recovery in the industry. The channel that now requires innovative solutions to fully make a comeback and grow in the industry is the on-trade business. In this duration, e-commerce opened up for the alcobev industry and it would be interesting to see how it develops in the near future.

How are the Green Projects fairing, especially around packaging? The biodegradable bottles which does not leave behind harmful micro plastics. When is it scheduled to come to India?

In our over 158-year history, Bacardi has always been committed to respecting natural resources and acting responsibly, as well as inspiring consumers and peers to join us in these initiatives. In 2016, we committed to eliminate all single-use plastic straws in our cocktails globally. Now, we’re excited to pioneer the world’s most sustainable spirits bottle which is 100% biodegradable and make a giant leap forward in the fight against climate change and plastic pollution. It will be on shelf globally by 2023 and will replace 80 Million plastic bottles – 3,000 tons of plastic – currently produced by Bacardi across its portfolio of brands every year. Starting with Bacardí rum, the new packaging will be rolled out across the entire Bacardi supply chain and the company’s 200 brands and labels including Bombay Sapphire gin, Grey Goose vodka, Patrón tequila, Martini vermouth and Dewar’s Scotch whisky. We’re looking forward to share this exciting new biopolymer technology with the entire spirits industry.

This revolutionary move is in collaboration with Danimer Scientific, a leading developer and manufacturer of biodegradable products. Petroleum-based plastics used by Bacardi today will be replaced by Danimer Scientific’s Nodax PHA, a biopolymer which derives from the natural oils of plant seeds such as palm, canola and soy. While a regular plastic bottle takes over 400 years to decompose, the new spirits bottle made from Nodax PHA will biodegrade in a wide range of environments, including compost, soil, freshwater and sea water, and after 18 months disappear without leaving behind harmful microplastics.

‘I believe our business is ready to shift gears’ – Varun Jain, CEO, NV Group

With premiumisation being the mantra for many alcobev manufacturers, NV Distilleries not only looking at pushing its domestic market but also making tremendous efforts in the export market as well. Varun Jain, CEO, NV Group feels that the company is now ready to shift its gears as he speaks to Bhavya Desai on its roadmap.

Given the current scenario of the industry, how is NV looking at its roadmap for the current year?

In my opinion all companies have had to face losses in their business as the market was either completely or partially closed. For example, Mumbai allowed only door delivery from the retail outlet before opening the markets. Number of State Government announced lockdown on weekends as well which also adversely affected liquor sales. The liquor industry registered more than 50% drop in its volume during March and April due to the pandemic. 

However, most of the market have substantially recovered their volumes now, except states like Goa and Daman due to the reduced influx of tourists. NV is bridging the gap by putting in place a robust production blueprint which will ensure immediate supply to those states where stock is being currently imported from neighbouring states. 

We are also strengthening the distribution base at all levels and focusing on Retail and Modern trade outlets. We at NV have also talented marketing professionals to take care of the consumer off take from retail and on-premise outlets.

What plans did the company put in place to mitigate any challenges that came from the pandemic?

There are challenges at all levels during the ongoing pandemic. We had to work from home,

keep everything sanitized (People/Place/documents/ Vehicles/Plant and Machinery, etc.) and yet produce the best possible results. The greatest challenges were faced by our work force in the field and manufacturing units.

Every individual is provided with masks/gloves and sanitizers and pedal operated sanitizers are placed in all offices and plants. The norms of maintaining social – distancing are strictly followed by each and everyone and we are in constant touch with all operation managers through Zoom calls only.

What aspects do you attribute to Smoke Vodka’s success?

Smoke Vodka has been well received by the market and also surpassed our expectations. The reason for this is its top of the line packaging and pricing. The price of the Vodka, its 5 times distillation, aniseed flavor (which no other brand offers and a support of three brand extensions, smoke clothing lines / smoke natural spring water in can & smoke sanitizer) have ensured its reach and visibility in a very short span of time.

The innovative digital marketing campaign and promoter led consumer promotions have substantially increased awareness and trials through miniature packs of Smoke Vodka. It is also being used as a gift article because of its international look and feel.

What is the next stage of your marketing strategy for Smoke Vodka pan India?

NV would be aggressively promoting SMOKE VODKA by adopting very innovative marketing strategies. Some of these include:

1. Broad – based consumer trials,

2. Fully exploiting the digital platform,

3. Use of Surrogates (Smoke water / Smoke Clothing line),

4. Making SMOKE visible in all relevant On and Off trade outlets, and

5. Targeting the influencers NV

These are some of the things that we are planning

Do you plan to have any other variants like Gin or Rum under the same brand name Smoke?

Smoke Vodka will be the only spirit brand. But I have created a few brand extensions like Smoke Wear, Smoke Water, Smoke Sanitizers.

How important is it for the NV Group to succeed in the premium product category?

I have always wondered if there are only a handful premium products from India. India has the resources, technology and expertise to create world-class premium products. Even we bottle for few international brands and very early on when I joined NV group, I was sure that I wanted to have our own homegrown portfolio of premium brands. 

Smoke Lab is the first premium brand and we are launching in the USA and other international markets now. There are plans for few more premium brands in the pipeline that will be launched next year. It is important for NV Group and I, personally, to succeed in the premium category. I believe our business is ready to shift gears and capture the premium category. This will establish NV Group as a real global player in the international spirits business.

How is the export market of your products for you?

We are putting tremendous focus on the export market. We have been exporting few brands to the UAE and Africa. Smoke Vodka plans were delayed by a few weeks due to the pandemic but we quickly adapted and stayed the course. By October, Smoke Vodka will be available in USA and few other countries as well.

What are the company’s ambitions to boost its status in the alcobev industry?

NV has the potential of being one of the leading manufacturers and marketer in the industry. There is no other company whose Product – portfolio can be compared with that of NV. We offer Whisky, Rum , Gin ,Brandy , Duet and Vodka at different price points to cater to every segment of the society. 

We can proudly claim that our entire product portfolio sells uniformly and well across states, giving run for their money to the existing giants. NV would be opening in all major markets of India soon led by Smoke Vodka.

How has the company fared this year and what have been the highlights of these results?

NV Group has successfully established markets like Punjab, Chandigarh, Haryana and UP in the last one year. The company has also introduced its topmen brands like Smoke Vodka, Royal Envy Whisky in the western region. This brand is showing huge consumer pull thanks to our innovative marketing and distribution campaign. 

The highlights of this year are as under:

1. Successful launch of Smoke Vodka.

2. Revamping of packaging of brands like, Royal Envy Premium whisky & Blue Moon Vodka.

3. Introduction of Smoke Water in 500 ml Can.

4. Aggressive digital campaign on Smoke Vodka and its surrogate.

5. Restructuring of the operating team in Sales and Marketing.

Crafters Taphouse tap International Brewer Allison Higi’s expertise

Crafters Taphouse tap International Brewer Allison Higi’s expertise Craft beers are growing in popularity and Crafters Taphouse plans to start a Crafters Movement. Crafter’s the only taphouse located in Hiranandani, Powai launched in the year 2018. Crafters Taphouse showcases excellence in craft beers, food and more. ‘Crafters‘ is derived from the word ‘Craft’ and thereby the brand positioning of handcrafted, artisanal and #ItsAllInTheHands. We have envisioned to delight our customers with finest hand-crafted beers by beer craftsmen from around the world. With Craft beer becoming the latest trend in the Indian drinking scenes, Crafters is a concept with the objective of producing world class craft beers, while enhancing the customer’s experience of the same.

Allison Higi’s visit to the APMC Market

At present there are more than 60 beer brands available in the India alcohol beverage market. The majority of beer market growth is driven by young consumers and the consumers who consider beer a trendy drink, as compared with other traditional spirits. The growth rate for the beer industry is an indication of the huge potential of opportunities open for breweries and beer brands marketing and/or manufacturers in India.
Craft Beers have undoubtedly made the consumer more experimental with brewpub culture growing in cities like Bengaluru, Pune, Mumbai and Delhi. The India Beer Market Outlook 2023 report states that the Indian beer market is expected to grow at a CAGR of more than 6% during 2018-2023.
Crafters Taphouse had introduced Crafters movement whilst using an ingredient local to the brewer’s homeland or India; wherein brewers from different parts of the world were invited to come to brew their signature styles in India. With this programme, we are looking to invite a brewer with reasonable experience brewing craft beers and having their special signature styles that we can market in India. The science of Craft Beers Allison Higi, a freelance biochemist who uses scientific techniques to encourage craft breweries around the world to make high quality, unique brews, is in India to produce a beer influence by India and one by Indiana, her home town. Tell us about your association with Crafters and Crafters Movement?
When I was working and living in Ho Chi Minh City, I had heard about the Craft Beer explosion happening in India. Crafters and I have a mutual friend who recommended me for this International Women’s Day Collaboration project with Crafters. When they reached out, I was just finishing up some work in Central America and jumped at the chance to come make some beers in Mumbai! How long have you been in the brewing industry and how did you explore brewing as a profession?
I started working in a brewery in 2007 as a server. I wasn’t much of a beer drinker before this and didn’t know how beer was made or anything about the different styles of beer but being a server gave me the chance to learn. It wasn’t until 2010 that I began working in the brewery, making beer. I have two degrees in Biology and Chemistry and had intended to work in the medical field. I spent over a year working in a hospital after graduation and found it to be a very sad place. That’s when I made the switch to working in the brewery. It is a very happy place to work and I like that about brewing.
What is your favourite style for brewing beers? Please name your special beers?
My favourite style of beer to drink and to brew are pilsners. I like warmer climates and so I enjoy the lighter beers in the hotter weather. When made correctly, they are crisp, clean and refreshing. From a process standpoint they are a bit more difficult to make than ales. They require 2-3 times longer to make and because there aren’t a lot of specialty dark malts or lots of hops, process is key when brewing a pilsner. Any errors will be readily noticeable. I enjoy the challenge and the delicate nature of pilsners. Tell us more about the special beers that you will be brewing for Crafters?
Prashant and I have teamed up to make two beers for Mumbai. We are making one with an influence of my home state of Indiana in the USA and one with an Indian influence. For the American inspired beer we are doing a cantaloupe IPA, as IPAs are easily the most popular beer style in the states and cantaloupes are a nice summer fruit in Indiana. For the India inspired beer, we have chosen to make a dried fig porter. We sourced the figs from the local fruit and spice markets and that was a super cool experience for me. What has been your experience while working with fruits for crafting your beers?
I have worked with fruits before but what has been fun and interesting about working with these ingredients in India is the market! We don’t typically see markets like those here in America and it was really neat to get to talk with the vendors and to try the figs and cantaloupes before we decided to buy them. When I have used fruits before in beers, I have used raw fruits as well as purees. I am really excited for both beers we are making here. I think they will be great. What kind of target audience do you have in mind while crafting your brews?
Its not about what kind of beers I like to make, its about what kind of beers people want to drink! That’s why I like meeting the people who drink my beers and getting to know what they like and want to drink. I’ll make anything and I find it interesting that people like such a variety of beers. And I value everyones opinions from experienced drinkers to people who are new to beers. You don’t have to be super knowledgable about beers to have an opinion of whether or not you’d like a second beer. What are the challenges faced by you while brewing a beer? What are the techniques used for brewing?
Because so much of the work I’ve done has been outside the USA, sourcing ingredients and equipment in parts of the world where I don’t fluently speak the language is definitely challenging. Brewing is very technical and it can be difficult to do with a language barrier. However at this point, I have learned how to find what I need to get the job done and I’ve learned from my mistakes in the past. I can better identify possible barriers to getting what I need. I can expect it might take longer or the laws will be different. Brewing awesome beer requires intention and when you can identify potential issues early on, it will lead to a better brew and a better beer! What is the advice you would like to give to all the brewers in India?
Never stop learning! From your own mistakes as well as from others mistakes, keep an open mind. A wise person knows there are things they do not know. I am always trying to see how other brewers have overcome technical issues or what processes they use to reach certain outcomes in beer. Brewing is very collaborative and I enjoy that aspect of it. How difficult is to be known as a female brewer in the society and the experience so far?
When I first started brewing in the USA, I thought nothing of being a woman or beer being a “man’s job.” I have had some negative experiences throughout my career and at first I didn’t handle them well. But over the years, I have learned when to speak up and when to just brush off these things. It hasn’t always been easy but the rewarding part is watching people drink your beers and be happy! I look at it as an energy transfer. I use my energy to make the beers and people gain energy from drinking them. I try to keep that energy positive. It’s exciting to see so many female brewers enter the brewery. And that is how we make a positive change, we show up and we brew the beers.

Accord steps up premium push with high-end Cognac

With brandy being the favourite tipple of the South, little wonder Accord is moving into the Cognac space as the shift to premium becomes the norm of the industry.



Chennai based, Accord Distillers & Brewers Private Limited, with two distilleries in Goa and Chennai, and a manufacturing capacity of 1 million cases per month, and one of the largest beer producer in South India is making its presence felt across the Indian States and is exporting to South East Asia, West Asia, Africa and other countries. They also import Scotch and Cognac to sell across the Indian subcontinent and to export to other countries and are now venturing in production of high-end Cognacs.

They have allied with Carlsberg to produce and market their commodities in Tamil Nadu and throughout the country.

Henry X special reserve Brandy XO is the latest offering from Accord Distilleries. It is the world’s first XO brandy and is currently available at select outlets in Tamil Nadu, Puducherry and Goa.

Henry X special reserve Brandy XO – a brandy with floral notes, with an opening nose of vanilla, honey and prune that evolves to mellow wine, sweet oak accents and finishes with a satin-smooth, languid fade. Bestowed with a revered lineage and backed by an equally legendary status, the House of Bardinet has set the benchmark in creating the perfect French grape brandy.

Right from handpicking the choicest of grapes from the finest vineyards in France to distilling the spirits and maturing them for 5 years in fine oak casks, Henry X special reserve Brandy XO weaves its lingering magic on the discerning palate, says P. K. Das, CEO, The Accord Group.

Sure enough, Henry X special reserve Brandy XO promises to be a Connoisseur’s Delight and is priced at `2,400 the most highly priced Cognac in Tamil Nadu, he adds. XO brandy is India’s only 100% pure french grape brandy. It is being sold in mono cartons and the packaging is done in India by Manohar Packaging. The Cognac bottles are imported from China. As it is a high-end brand the target for Hobson’s is 2,000 cases per month, says R Kumar, Director, Operations. The premium market growth is 33%.

Total sales in Tamil Nadu in the premium segment for the period April to August 2019 is 6.8 million cases as compared to 5.1 million cases during the same period in August 2018.

The company’s other brands include Age de Oak (Premium), Holandas Spanish VSOP Brandy, Missionary Monk, Royal Accord Gold, Blender Magic, King Nap, Accord French, Wonderland, Accord No. 1, and Evening Walker.

Age De Oak is an exquisite blend with imported matured french grape brandy, which is produced by double distilling the wine made from selected variety of ugni blanc french grapes in a copper pot still and superiorly Aged in Limousin Oakwood cask to give a brilliant amber colour, mellow, full-bodied, long warming and silky soft mouthfeel. Total growth in this premium segment is 2% with sales of 4,500 cases during April to August 2019.

The Holandas Spanish VSOP brandy blended with imported grape spirit from Spain, that is fine distilled in a copper still and traditionally aged in oak wood casks to excellence to give you rich colour, overpowering aroma, fuller and smoother mouthfeel.

A rare blended with selected grape spirit to give it brilliant colour, a pleasing aroma, strong body and mellow. Holandas Spanish retails between `201 to `280 and sales for five months is 52,000 cases. Their other brands are Missionary and Royal Accord Blue.

To Mark 75 years of Rampur Distillery, Radico Khaitan launches ‘Rampur Signature Reserve Indian Single Malt Whisky ’

To mark 75 years of Rampur Distillery, Radico Khaitan launches a super luxury variant of Rampur Indian single malt whisky in the International market. These are individually numbered bottles strictly on allocation basis.

Radico Khaitan Ltd launched a super luxury expression of Rampur Indian Single Malt Whisky called ‘Rampur Signature Reserve Indian Single Malt Whisky’ to commemorate 75 years of its Rampur Distillery at The Whisky Show, London and Whisky Live, Paris recently.

The Rampur Signature Reserve Indian single malt whisky is a limited release of 400 bottles worldwide. Each bottled is individually numbered and carries the signature of Dr Lalit Khaitan, Chairman and the Rampur Master Maker. Bottled at cask strength of 43.9%, this exquisite offering is now available in UK, Europe, USA and a few selected markets in Asia Pacific. It will also be available at Dubai Duty Free as well as India Duty Free in the coming weeks.

The Indian Single Malt whisky is named after Radico Khaitan’s first distillery in Rampur and is aged, distilled and matured in the foothills of the scenic Himalayas.

Existing expressions in Rampur Indian Single Malt Whisky: Rampur Select Indian Single Malt Whisky

Aged in the foothills of Himalayas, this exquisite whisky is the Kohinoor of Single Malts.

This beautiful nectar is a winner of many international awards including the Double Gold Medal at San Francisco World Spirit Competition, USA and also rated amongst the Top 20 whiskies of the world at #5.

Rampur Sherry PX Finish Indian Single Malt Whisky

A limited 48 Casks release. A few exceptional casks of Rampur Single Malt Whisky post maturation in American Oak were handpicked by our Malt Master and transferred to Sherry PX Butts from Jerez, Spain for finishing. The result is a rich and fruity whisky with layers of complex spice and dried fruit.

Rampur Double Cask Indian Single Single Malt Whisky

The newest expression of Rampur, has spent 2/3rd of its life in American Oak Bourbon Casks and 1/3rd in European Oak Sherry Oloroso Casks. Delicate balsamic vanilla notes from the American white oak compliment the full-bodied aroma; Rich caramel, dried dark fruits and spicy tonality from European oak add to the depth. Already available in the UK and EU, shipments underway to over 30 countries.

Speaking on the launch, Mr. Sanjeev Banga, President, International Business, Radico Khaitan Ltd said “We are very proud to launch the new expression ‘Rampur Signature Reserve Indian Single Malt Whisky ‘ within three years of release of the umbrella brand. Our Indian Single Malt Whisky – Rampur has gained global recognition and love from its consumers.Today, the brand has emerged as one of the most desired Indian single malt whisky brands in the world and, we hope, the new expression will also gain similar acknowledgement and appreciation from our luxury whisky lovers. We are honoured to provide a chance to savour one of the Oldest Malts from India to the International Single Malt connoisseurs”.

Angus Dundee forays into the Indian retail market

Angus Dundee a major player in Bulk Scotch is venturing into the Scotch market with the launch of MacRoys Blended Scotch Whisky. Sanjeev Puri, Regional Director, Sub Continent and Hasan Bakhtawar, General Manager-Marketing unveils some of the company’s other plans.



How has Angus Dundee fared over the years? Angus Dundee India Pvt Ltd (ADIPL) is a major player in Bulk Scotch and supplying to a large stratum of liquor manufacturers in India. A 100% subsidiary of Angus Dundee Distillers Plc Scotland, has been present in India for almost close to a decade. With a strong lineage and expertise to deliver consistent quality product, ADIPL has created a niche and made its presence felt over the years.

What are the major activities undertaken in the Indian market?

ADIPL not only offer Bulk Scotch but provide customised solutions which are customer and brand specific. This has been instrumental in sustaining and stabilising its position in the highly competitive ‘Bulk Scotch Whisky’ market.

What prompted your decision to produce your own Scotch brands in India?

Significant shift in the Indian consumer behaviour, rising disposable income with influence of social media enabling splurge on good things, growth in socialising occasions and experimenting with different types of alcohol had been an inspiration for ADIPL to introduce own Blended Scotch Whisky to the Indian consumers.

What has been the response to the launch of MacRoys in Chandigarh and other cities?

MacRoys Blended Scotch Whisky is available in select category selling outlets in Ludhiana, Jalandhar, Mohali and Chhattisgarh. Launched in the month of July the brand is gradually making its presence felt.

Are you looking at a pan India launch and what is the time frame for the launch?

In a phased manner, launch in Telangana, Chandigarh and Rajasthan in current financial year, whereas Delhi and Orissa intended for the next fiscal.

What is the positioning for the brand and what are the marketing activities planned for the brand?

The present positioning portrays the product attribute “Experience the Bourbon finish luxury” and distinguishes the brand from competition. We intend to target potential consumer base tapping key touch points like On & Off Trade, Social gatherings and other socialising occasions. In addition, we are also focussing on digital as we can’t be mere spectators to the consumer’s journey and need to make our presence felt by participating in trending conversations, crafting influencer opinions and generate access to the brand online.

How is your brand different from other competing brands available in the market?

MacRoys Blended Scotch Whisky is distilled, aged and blended in Scotland. matured using the BB1 barrels, the once used American Oak Bourbon barrels holding only bourbon infuses a distinct character to the whisky. First Fill Bourbon Cask are generally used for producing Single Malt Whiskies. Crafted using exclusive malt, matured in bourbon casks whose charring produces lactins which help develop coconut and vanilla characteristics, bringing out soft, fruity-sweet and smooth blend.

Are you planning to launch more brands in the Indian market in future?

Plans are afoot to cater other price points in the Blended Scotch and Premium Scotch segments in near future.

Would you like to throw some light on your Duty-Free business at the Indian airports?

We have an exceptional BIO portfolio consisting aged and non-aged single malts, blended malts and Blended Scotch whiskies. Brands like “Tomintoul Spey Side Glenlivet Single Malt Scotch Whisky”, “Smokey Joe Blended Malt”, Non-Aged Single Malt variant “Glen Parker Single Malt Scotch Whisky” and Blended Scotch whisky named “Parkers” have presence at the Delhi Travel Retail.

Keepers of the Quaich award for Kartik Mohindra

Kartik Mohindra, CMO, Pernod Ricard India Pvt. Ltd., shares his feelings on receiving the Keepers of the Quaich award and the raison d etre for the company’s performance this year.

Congratulations and what does the Keepers of the Quaich award mean to you?

Thank you! As, Keepers of the Quaich, our mission is to uphold and celebrate the values and image of Scotch whisky globally. Collectively, the international society represents many thousands of years of experience and knowledge of Scotch whisky. I am honoured to join the distinguished Keepers and Masters, and together, commit to preserve and promote the world’s finest distilled spirit, the Scotch whisky. I look forward to actively participating and celebrating Scotch whisky both in India and abroad.

How would you rate the company’s performance until June 2019? What are the indications of the next year’s growth?

At PRI, our domestic as well as international whisky portfolios are witnessing double-digit growth. The international brands portfolio is surely seeing faster growth vis-a-vis the domestic counterparts. Having said that, we have successfully capitalised on the burgeoning wave of premiumisation. To continue our dominance in the international brands. We have introduced Chivas XV in the super premium bottled in origin scotch, the super-premium gin, Monkey 47, and the three new single malts in India – Aberlour, Scapa and Longmorn to stay at the forefront to meet the consumers’ needs and strive in changing market dynamics.

We capitalise every consumption opportunity with our expansive portfolio and drive premiumisation. Our flagship brands like Royal Stag, Blenders Pride, 100 Pipers, Jameson, Chivas Regal, Absolut, Royal Salute, are brands with purpose and values of authenticity, legacy and craftsmanship.


India, as you know, with over 1.3 billion population, offers a huge opportunity pool of consumers with varied tastes and preferences, segmented by their demographic and income strata. PRI’s expansive portfolio caters to this very diverse group across price points – ranging from the value consumer going for Imperial Blue, Deluxe consumer to Royal Stag, Premium consumer (Blenders Pride, BP Reserve) to the ultra luxury consumers opting for Royal Salute, The Glenlivet and Chivas Regal 18.

The Indian millennial consumers present an exciting opportunity for us. Outburst of trends such as increase in cocktail explorations, and consumption of different liquor categories by the same consumer have exemplified the experimental nature of millennials. To selectively cater to these new consumers, PRI’s portfolio has an offering of aspirational brands – flavourful Absolut vodka, gin – Monkey47 and Beefeater and Jacobs Creek Wine. Further, India presents immense scope through untapped geographical territories. These could prove to be great growth engines in the future. We foresee this category buoyancy to continue and grow in strong double digits.

How can the industry work together to boost the growth of the alcobev industry?

In comparison to several global markets, India faces higher incidence of taxation leading to out-of-reach end consumer prices; consequentially decelerating adoption and premiumisation.

The alcobev industry, albeit facing challenges of accessibility, also offers room for improvement in making the products available to consumers, with a wider retail footprint. The industry forces can come together towards building more favourable duty structures and regulations, leading to enhanced consumer demand.

How has Pernod Ricard been able to withstand the disruptions that have plagued the industry in the last few years?

Pernod Ricard India’s brands have preserved their footholds as category leaders, complemented by our strong consumer connect, great quality and innovation in products in the industry while catering to every consumption opportunity with our expansive portfolio. These factors coupled with our premiumisation strategy, has certainly helped PRI in withstanding the disruptions.

What is your product strategy for future growth? Given the low consumer confidence sentiment do you see a blip in the premiumisation strategy?

Globally, India offers one of the largest growth potential in spirits consumption. This leads to greater opportunities in a wider range of segments, both mature and emerging. We expect premiumisation to continue strongly in the foreseeable future, due to a positive long-term demographic and socio-economic trends led by a young and growing consumer population, rising middle and affluent class and increasing purchasing power, rapid urbanisation, and rise in Alcobev consumption by women. PRI with its brand offerings will continue to drive premiumization across categories and price points.

Given the trade wars happening worldwide, do you see the lowering of duties on Scotch or US alcobev brands?

The lowering of tariffs or duties will ultimately deliver benefits to the consumers, positively impacting the affordability. The economic conflicts in trade are a matter of bilateral discussions between the countries or the governments.

Which have been your star brands and on what brands do you plan to focus next year?

For us, every brand in our vast portfolio of domestic and imported brands are vital. Like I mentioned earlier, we continue to focus on driving premiumisation and with our consumer centric approach and the changing consumer dynamics led by millennials and generation Z, we believe that we have the right portfolio mix which will focus on creating informative-engaging experience and connect with this generation, striving for a great experience at various touchpoints, be it travel retail, liquor shops or high-end restaurants.

We, at Pernod Ricard, are always in line with the evolving consumers’ attitude and preferences that are occasioned by the constant variation in the living standards and global trends. The Glenlivet, Jameson Irish Whiskey, Wine portfolio led by Jacob’s Creek and Campo Viejo and Blenders Pride will be the key growth engines in the year.

How has your digital marketing strategy helped in sales growth?

With increasing aspirations, disposable incomes and exposure to global brands, the Indian millennial consumers present an exciting opportunity for us. Five out of six millennials connect with companies on social media and spend about 25 hours per week online. We will leverage our strengths in consumer marketing through digital media and continue to lead and drive consumer preference and connect with millennials through brands such as Royal Stag, Blenders Pride, 100 Pipers, Chivas Regal, Monkey 47, Absolut, Jameson, Ballantine’s, Beefeater, Jacob’s Creek, and Campo Viejo, to name a few.

Kartik Mohindra Now a Part of Keepers of the Quaich, a Global Celebration of Scotch whisky

The global success of Scotch whisky has been celebrated with new members of the Keepers of the Quaich being inducted into the international society at a private ceremony held at Blair Castle in Blair Atholl. Kartik Mohindra, Chief Marketing Officer, Pernod Ricard India, has been firmly inducted as The Keeper, in recognition of the outstanding commitment to Scotch Whisky. To preserve the unique cachet and exclusivity of The Keepers, New Keepers and Masters are inducted at a private ceremony held in the Scottish Highlands. This is the 61st Ceremony and Banquet to take place here. Collectively, the society represents many thousands of years of experience and knowledge of Scotch whisky. The Keepers of the Quaich is an international society which was established by the Scotch whisky industry to celebrate the outstanding commitment of those who produce and promote the world’s ­finest distilled spirit. Only a limited number of people are inducted as Keepers each year in recognition of their exceptional contribution. To date, just over 2,800 men and women from more than 100 countries have received the honour. Together with the select few that are subsequently distinguished as Master of the Quaich, they represent thousands of years of shared experience and knowledge.

“As Keepers of the Quaich, our mission is to uphold and celebrate the values and image of Scotch Whisky globally. I am honored to join the distinguished Keepers and Masters, and together, commit to preserve and promote the world’s finest distilled spirit, the Scotch Whisky. I look forward to actively participating and celebrating Scotch Whisky both in India and abroad,” said Kartik Mohindra at the prestigious honour.

Keepers of the Quaich supports international chapters of the society in 10 key markets around the world – where members continue to promote the prestigious image of Scotch whisky.

Marrying ethanol with petrol the need of the hour

In an interview with Ambrosia, V.N. Raina, Director General, AIDA, stresses on the need to blend 10% of ethanol with Petrol to save valuable foreign exchange for the country.

What is the current situation of ethanol production in India?

The production of ethanol for mixing with petrol was introduced in the country during the year 2006-07. Ethanol is an important bio-fuel and is blended with petrol under EBP programme. It is an important component of national bio fuels programme. Ethanol is a source of energy which is indigenous, non polluting and virtually inexhaustible.Therefore to promote this bio fuel, the govt. has scaled up the blending targets which are given below:-

Production of Surplus grains declared (2018-19)

S.No.               Products Qty                 ( Lac Tonnes)

1                        Maize                            30-40

2                        Bajra                             9.00

3                       Jawar                             4.70

The initial aim was to mix 5% ethanol with petrol by the season 2016-17. However, to promote bio fuel the govt. scaled up the blending targets from 5% to 10% to be achieved by the season 2021-22 under Ethanol Blended with Petrol Programme (EBP). However, due to various reasons implementation of this programme was not seriously taken up till the year 2017 when the govt. notified the programme. But with all the efforts of the govt. and the distillery industry producing ethanol from molasses 5% blending could not be achieved even till the year 2016-17, However, during the current year 2018-19 (closing 30th Nov. 2018) total blending of approx. 6.2% has already been achieved. This also included the ethanol produced from grains “not fit for human consumption” to supplement the ethanol supplies.

The entire ethanol game plan envisaged by the govt. Can be explained in nutshell as below:

Centre has set a target of 10% ethanol blending by petrol by 2022, leading to forex savings of `12,000 crores a year.

There was 3.5% blending in 2016-17 sugar season and 4.0% in 2015-16.

Nationwide average for ethanol blending stood at 4.02% as on Oct.1

The latest proposal will allow ethanol production from surplus quantities of maize, jawar and bajra, as well as other feedstock such as fruit and vegetable wastes.

Ethanol blending in petrol has risen from 38 crore litres in supply year 2013-14 to an estimated 146 crore litres in 2017-18.

What are the incentives being given by the government to ramp up the production given the increasing ethanol requirements in India?

The Govt. first introduced financial assistance scheme by extending financial assistance through spot loans to sugar mill attached distilleries to set up plant and machinery for production and enhancement of ethanol production capacities in the country. Many distilleries attached to sugar mills applied for and received the financial assistance form the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food & Distribution, GOI enabling them to put up distilleries and ethanol production equipment. The financial scheme included facility of interest subvention @ 6% per annum or 50% of rate of interest charged by banks, whichever is lower with certain conditions.

In order to augment ethanol production capacity and thereby also allow diversion of sugar for production of ethanol, in principal approval has been granted for extension of soft loan of `6139 crores though banks to the mills for setting up new distilleries /expansion of existing distilleries and installation of incineration boilers or installation of any method as approved by Central Pollution Control Board for Zero Liquid Discharge for which Government will bear interest subvention of `1332 crore. About 114 sugar mills are likely to be benefitted as a result of this measure and ethanol production capacity of sugar mills in the country is likely to be enhanced by about 200 crore litres per annum in the coming three years.

The Govt. has notified a new scheme on 08.03.2019 for extending financial assistance to sugar mills for enhancement and augmentation of ethanol production capacity. Under the scheme Govt. would bear `2,790 core towards interest subvention for extending indicative loan amount of `12,900 crore by banks to the sugar mills for augmentation of ethanol producing capacity.

The Govt. has notified a scheme on 08.03.2019 for extending financial assistance to molasses based stand-alone distilleries. Under the scheme, Govt. would bear `565 cores towards interest subvention for extending indicative loan amount of `2600 crore by banks to the molasses based stand-alone distilleries to augment their ethanol production capacity.

On further request from distillery industry and All India Distillers’ Association (AIDA), govt. has also agreed to consider financial assistance on the same condition to grain based distilleries for producing ethanol. Many distilleries have already applied. In the meantime loans have been sanctioned as far as molasses based distilleries are concerned. The scheme for loans to grain based distilleries is also under consideration of the govt. This step will provide further possible resources towards increasing the production of ethanol under EBP Programme.

What are the current requirements of ethanol and are there any deficit and how are they bridging it?

The current requirement as per the programme of introducing 10% blending by the year 2022 requires approximately 300 crore ltrs. of ethanol. The govt. has announced various incentives and financial assistance to the industry. It is hoped by the closing of the year 2019-20 when new distilleries would have gone up including increase in existing production capacities in the existing units due to the positive steps taken by the govt., the 10% blending will be achieved by the year 2020- 21/22.

The prices announced for Ethanol for supply year 2019-20 (1st Dec. 2019 – 30 Nov. 2020) are:

S.No.                            Products                                              Price (Rs.) / BL

1                                   “C” Heavy Molasses                            43.75

2                                   “B” Heavy Molasses                            54.27

3                                   Sugarcane Juice                                   59.48 + GST & Transportation charges

The revision of prices of ethanol supplied from grains is also under consideration by the govt. in consultation with the distillery industry

In addition the govt. has also taken steps in consultation with the industry to set up and revise the prices of ethanol from time to time so that the industry feels protected about the production and supply of ethanol. A very recent price increase has been introduced by the govt. 01.01.2019, which now will bring the price of ethanol from various sources to the level given below w.e.f. 01/12/2019.

The revision of prices of ethanol supplied from grains is also under consideration by the govt. in consultation with the distillery industry.

The govt. of India very rightly announced use of surplus grains in addition to the spoilt and damaged grains for production of ethanol. The govt. has declared following surplus grains under this policy which could be used for production of ethanol for the year 2018-19. It will be further increased and announced from time to time by the govt. in consultation with the concerned departments. The present quantities of availability of surplus grains in the country which could be used by distilleries for production of ethanol are as below:

Will the petroleum companies be able to absorb the new price increase?

The setting up of prices are being announced by the govt. of India in consultation with the petroleum companies and it has been agreed that the prices have to be revised from time to time if the need be, to ensure continuous supply of ethanol and to increase its production as much as possible. The petroleum companies are part of the final prices of ethanol, calculated and announced by the govt.

What is the current requirements of ENA in the liquor industry ? Is there sufficient production to meet the needs of the industry?

Current requirement of ethanol as well as ENA depends upon the production and availability of raw materials for the basic production of Rectified Spirit (R.S)from which ENA and / or ethanol is produced. As per the present scenario the supply of ENA for liquors is being carried out by the industry alongwith supplies of ethanol. However, the market now competitive and has to be kept in mind for prices of liquor which are controlled by the state govts. Considering the market price of the ENA vis-a-vis that of Ethanol, it should be fair to the liquor industry as well.

A good quantity of grain spirit being produced is also in the market now and there sufficient quantity is available both for ENA and Ethanol as per the programme set up by the govt. However, it vastly depends upon competitive pricing and balanced affordability.

What incentives is the government giving for ENA production, both for domestic consumption as well as for exports?

The procurement and supply of ENA for potable purposes comes under the ambit of state govts. and the state govts. have to ensure good prices for IMFL for continuous availability of ENA in the competitive market of alcohol production in the field. The Central Govt. has no role for fixation or revising liquor rates and prices in the market, which is under the govts. of respective states.

What are the alternative feedstocks government is looking at for ethanol production besides traditional molasses and grain? And what are the challenges we have for the same?

The govt. of India has been on the look out for many alternatives, sources and resources for finding out alternative feed stocks for production of Ethanol. The govt. has already considered all feed stocks which are possibly available like agricultural wastes, forest wastes, bagasse, bamboo miscellaneous millets etc. and the research in this regard is continuously being undertaken for selecting and finalising the new feed stocks for production of ethanol.

There is an option under the research programme which will continue for searching out various resources of feed stocks and resources from all fields will be studied provided they are reasonably affordable and competitive with other feedstocks.

Will electric vehicles disrupt the demand for petrol and as a result the demand for ethanol?

No, in the near foreseeable future there is no possible disruption of demand for petrol or ethanol as a result of introducing electric vehicle in the country. The demand for petrol is rather expected to increase rapidly as the number of motor vehicles on the road is increasing by the day.

Bio Liquors: Keeping up the spirit

We are world’s first and only bio liquors/herbal liquors company which is focussed on making health functional liquors derived from extensive research and development in the fields of biotechnology, ayurveda and liquor industry.


Our excellence and expertise is in delivering quality liquor products worldwide for about a decade. We are focussed on enhancing the drinking habits of the connoisseurs worldwide. Our goal is to enhance the richness, quality, smoothness drinkability and taste of consumers through our quality and unique liquor brands. We have unique techniques of excellent blending of spirits, choosing perfect spirits for perfect blends and the result is great taste, best aroma and drinkability.


Bio liquors are enriched with bio alkaloids, without using any synthetic flavours and colours. They were found to be giving the same intoxication levels as any other liquor brands. Dr. Srinivas Amarnath is the inventor of bio liquors – after contributing to the field of ayurveda for about 30 years, he is well versed with the botanicals and its benefits, developed bio liquors first time in the world. He relates to Ambrosia his journey off the beaten track.

What contributed to the evolution of bio liquors?

Alcoholism is the severe problem affecting millions of people worldwide, damaging the healthcare and is increasing the healthcare budgetting all over the world, which is an alarming issue. Due to my own personal suffering in family, i.e. my own brother was an alcoholic, made me to find a solution for the problem. With the pain in my mind, I have decided to develop a radically different product to safeguard crores of lives all over. The synthetic flavours which are added in regular liquors have synthetic flavours, artificial colours, smoke and glycerine. I started my research and came up with bio liquors for the first time in the world. My credentials as an ayurvedic doctor and botanist helped. I had been awarded with The Best Doctor and Botanist Award from Sri Venkateswara University. As an Ayurvedic doctor invention is my passion. I have been kept on inventing different type of healthcare products. When I used to get patients suffering from alcohol related ailments, I had made up my mind to come up with a different prototypes of liquor, which has less side effects on human body, and in the process I am successful in inventing the same. Our bio liquors are enriched with the best botanicals, natural herbs and bio alkaloids, without using any artificial/synthetic flavours.

What kind of investment you have made in this venture?

The Investments are made during the research phase, development phase and marketing phase. Initially in the research phase 7 million USD has been spent on R&D, after blend development, the sampling of bio liquors blends till the acceptance. The major research areas worldwide are USA, Australia, China, Russia and some African countries. several thousands of blends are made to match consumers’ palate which is now an absolute delight to consumers. And the development phase various trademarks, intellectual properties and several excise approvals has been taken and the budgetting of 3.2 million USD has been made. We have secured our brands worldwide with proper intellectual products especially in India, USA, Australia and several other countries. The marketing phase includes, development of unique packaging design, logo design, bottles procurement and carton designing for our portfolio of brands has been given major emphasis to present it to the consumers. We have developed a product portfolio keeping in mind both normal consumers and elite consumers.

You have nine brands in your portfolio which includes three whiskies, one bourbon, one rum, one vodka, one brandy, one wine and one beer. Which brands will you focus on? Do you plan to have a gin which is a growing segment and the perfect liquor to have infusions?

The white spirits segments are growing worldwide, and the consumers acceptance are multiplying, and also other segments are growing at an equal pace. The primary focus is on whisky, rum in North Indian markets, for South Indian markets we are focussing more on whisky and brandy. On India level we have a portfolio of nine products, by the end of 2022. We are also focussing on importing bio bourbon whisky developed by us in USA, and two different segments of luxury whiskies has been developed which will be launched by the end of 2022. All the products are scientifically developed, followed by international liquor standards, keeping in mind and adopted unique methods. In USA we are focussing on all the three segments as all are under Distilled Spirits Speciality. The FDA/TTB has been approved around 10 product formulas under the Distilled Spirits Speciality class. We are also planning to focus on wine segment which will be manufactured and Bottled in Napa Valley and to be distributed across the globe.

Which states are your brands present in? What is the timeline to go pan-India?

There has been a trial launch in some states like Punjab, Haryana, Sikkim, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Himachal Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Pondicherry, Maharashtra and Telangana. We have taken different opinion polls in India and worldwide. By 2022 we are planning to launch our speciality products Pan-India and awaiting for the best connoisseur response.

Some of our Indian products which are being launched on a trial basis are Bio Whisky Premium 16 Naturals, Today’s Special Bio Whisky, Bio Rum Premium, En-Sign Bio Brandy and Bio Vodka.

When do you plan to launch the bio-wine and the bio-beer?

By 2024 we have plans to launch bio wine and bio beer. For now we are keeping up our spirits high at the entry level. As a testing phaser, we have already exported several containers of bio beer to the UK and Singapore and have received immense positive response. After commercial launch of spirits and attaining a fair market share of spirits. 2024 is going to witness the bio wine and beer era.



How do your bio liquors infused with a blend made out of bio alkaloids help in the wellness of consumers? Could you elaborate on each segment like whisky, vodka, brandy and rum?

Bio liquors/herbal liquors were enriched with bio alkaloids, best botanicals and selected herbs, without using any synthetic flavours and colours. They were found to be giving the same intoxication levels as any other IMFL brands, wherein the ill effects are greatly minimised. As a botanist and ayurvedic doctor, I have wide knowledge on developing different kinds of blends without using synthetic flavours, that’s the reason all the bio liquors products are very special and got appreciation from the US federal government. The US federal government has given chance to make many samples in the USA. The US government has approved bio liquors/herbal liquors products after submitting more relevant data on development and then only we have got the US approvals. We have unique techniques of excellent blending of spirits, choosing perfect spirits for perfect blends and the result is great taste, best aroma and drinkability.

“PORTFOLIO OF BRANDS” Bio whisky, bio vodka, bio rum, bio brandy, bio gin, or be it a beer or wine, we have the largest portfolio for all the consumer needs under single umbrella BIO WORLD of brands. Bio Whisky premium 16 Naturals is enriched with 16 types of natural botanicals and finest select herbs, bio alkaloids, finest matured malts, infused in the American and French oak, which gives a perfect taste and matured aroma.

Today’s Special is enriched with select botanicals, matured malt spirits, finest grain spirits and infused with American and French oak, making it your Today’s Special. Bio Vodka is enriched with aloe, honey and natural bourbon vanilla, select botanicals, five times filtered for best taste and smooth finish.

Bio Rum – A premium quality rum made from matured cane spirits, high quality grain ena. Infused with best botanicals and select herbs makes Bio Rum stand out in the crowd. It has a very unique aroma and the speciality of Bio Rum is, it can be consumed in any season irrespective of climatic conditions which makes it more special. En-Sign Bio Brandy is made from matured grape spirits, high quality grain ena, infused with select botanicals, bio alkaloids and herbal ingredients. It has a unique fruity palate and best aroma. We aim to give the consumer the joy in each and every sip and being a part of celebration in every moment, making bio liquors as a better choice for the consumers.

Bourbon whiskey from America, speciality whisky from Australia, blended whiskies and single malt whisky from India and Europe, and very soon bio Scotch whiskies from Europe, we are also planning to start production in several African countries. We have privilege of selling our product mix in many parts of the world. We are exporting/importing and globalising our spirits brands as a part of cultural mix and cultural diversification. We have unique techniques of excellent blending of spirits. We are adopting unique techniques of aging spirits, select imported American and French Oak are imported choosing perfect spirits for perfect blends and the result is great taste, best aroma and drinkability.

“THE BLENDING PASSION” Very passionate team dedicated and committed on Research & Development, introduction of new techniques for perfect blend is a challenge in emerging liquor industry. “The right spirits are brought with the right passion”.

“THE SPIRIT OF EXCELLENCE” The bio world spirits are spirits of excellence. The Spirits of Excellence is bought to you by our core innovation technology.

BIO LIQUORS – ACHEIVEMENTS WORLDWIDE. Approval of Bio Liquors products in TTB/FDA/GRAS and COLA – USA Allotted with own bottling unit by Australian government in New South Wales.

Winner – Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America Spirits Tasting Competition – 75th annual convention & exposition – a remarkable achievement for new brand.

Approval of 16 botanical ingredients from GRAS an FDA regulatory authority. All the ingredients which we use for blending our spirits are approved by GRAS.

Allotted with a own bottling unit with tax free exemption for six years by Michigan Government in Northern Shores, Michigan. The plant will be operational by the end of 2019 – Bio care spirits, USA LLC. MICHIGAN – USA BIO LIQUORS NEWS

The Norton Shores City Council approved recently a six-year tax abatement for bio spirits, concurrent with the company’s six-year lease at the location.

The city council has also approved blueprints. One of its kind. The officials are impressed with the concept and has given tax exemption.

What is the consumer response in terms of taste and price?

The price points of bio liquors are very well accepted, particularly when you create a brand for the consumers. What more the consumer require? The acceptance is exciting in terms of mouth publicity, appreciation and in terms of price the luxury segment products are priced in premium segment that’s what all I can say in a word.

Given this is a new concept, and not a tried and tested one, how do you plan to promote your brands across the country?

We have done more research on how to promote this unique concept and found out impressive methods to promote the product. Several tasting sessions has been already done worldwide from regular consumers to elite consumers, different advertising strategy, get togethers, inviting doctors, bureaucrats, and common consumers, retailers, through different brain storming sessions and get togethers with bar and restaurant owners, not only in India, but worldwide also. Beyond its unique formulation, bio liquors are best in taste, smoothness and drinkability, which are major assets of the product and major marketing and publicity will be generated by consumers themselves. A perfect branding, packaging, marketing strategy is always necessary to promote a product in the market. For me as a doctor, I am also associated with passionate businesses for around 15 years. We have a core packaging development team and designing team, continuously working on the product. Not only the product, the presentation has got much more applause than we have ever expected and we are happy about the results.

What kind of marketing activity do you plan for exports, CSD and other bulk buyers?

We have already started exports. Very soon we are planning to export from USA to South America and Europe. We have appointed different agencies worldwide to take care of all the activities, Our brand presence in CSD, INCS across all the depots in India is almost confirmed and we have ample capacity to supply as per the requirements. Support in terms of point of sales material, branding material is required for exports. Also the export market is dependent on several other factors like quality, taste and packaging, which we are already providing, so the bulk buyers gets an advantage of timely supply and good discounts all over.

How is the company geared to meet the production requirements of the nationwide launches lined up? Do you need special production facilities for bio infusions?

We have lease and tie-up facilities in different parts of India. We have ample production capacity in our company based at USA in Michigan state, The Bio Care USA LLC have ample capacity to cater the ongoing demand to different countries like USA, South American countries and European countries. We also have production facilities in USA, Australia, Uganda and India. We are also planning to export to some Asian countries and UAE from India. Our capacities will be fully utilised with the on-going demand. The bio infusions and blend making are in-house facilities available in USA, India and Australia. The bio infusions will be sent to different bottling units all over the world. We have necessary capacity to cater to the demand of entire world.

The brands are doing well in certain part of USA. Would you like to throw light on your US operations?

All the products are doing certainly well in the US market. The products are trial started in Illinois and Colorado. We are already doing tasting sessions in around 25 states across the USA. Our USA partner is Shafiq Khimani from Natural Spirits USA. We have test marketed the USA already and receiving great response from the country. We are setting up our unit in Michigan, USA for which we already have got six years of tax exemption for the concept from Michigan Government. Currently the manufacturing is carried at South Charleston, USA and distributed across by our partner company Natural Spirits USA. Every effort has been made by Natural Spirits USA for continuous supply of the products. As mentioned earlier, we have won Silver Medal in WSWA USA competition, which is of great boost to the company and products.

The consumers are very delighted about the products and the pricing.

Illicit alcohol trade gives hangover to the nation

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In India, State Excise Department faces various challenges such as

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

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

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

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

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

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

Will a rationing system deter excessive drinking?

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

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

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

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

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

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