Tag Archives: alcohol

AIDA races to meet blending 20% of petroleum products by 2025

After the Prime Minister’s call to blend 20% of blending of petroleum with ethanol from 2030 there is an urgent rush to ramp up the capacity and increase the type of feedstock required to boost production to meet the required amount of ethanol needed to blend up to 20% of ethanol. In an interview with Ambrosia V. Raina, Director General, AIDA outlines the roadmap to achieve this along with the newer distilleries planned in the next few years.

What is the current production capacity of ethanol in India?

The total ethanol production capacity is 473 crore litres that includes grain-based ethanol, molasses based and others sources. Alcohol production capacity out of molasses is 693 crore litres whereas grain based capacity is 258 crore litres. This production capacity is expected to increase further with nearly 15-20 new distilleries coming in the next few years with the help of the Indian Government. In order to boost the growth the govt. has provided financial assistance on interest subvention.

Can you tell us more on the new Distilleries that are upcoming in the next few years?

The new distilleries are grain based only with 15-20 new ones coming into the market and approximately 25-30 existing distilleries expanding their capacities. Also with the change in the guidelines you can now put up a new distillery with more ease. Earlier it would take longer time to get permissions and clearances. But now the Government has allowed all permissions, all guarantees up to the capacity of 200 KLPD for grain based and 100 KLPD for molasses based can be given by the State Governments. Since ethanol and high alcohol (above 95%) comes under the purview of the Central Government putting up an ethanol distillery doesn’t have any challenges unless liquor is produced.

Where are the new distilleries now being focussed in UP and Maharashtra or elsewhere also?

There is no grain distillery in the state of UP. Primarily it is in Punjab but now they are coming up. The grain is there. Other distilleries are resisting. UP will come over, Bihar will come over new one. Even Odisha has a new distillery.

Beside grain what other sources are being experimented on?

Apart from grain Maize and Rice are being experimented upon since these are considered as damaged food grains which are not edible for human beings. However, these are currently in short supply. We have introduced good rice also because you have to purchase it from Food Corporation of India (FCI). The basis of these purchases are on rates that are already determined/fixed based on the feedstock. For instance the rates are fixed at Rs. 20 per kg. or Rs. 2000 per quintal by the Food Corporation of India (FCI). If you purchase it from sugar cane juice the rate is Rs.62.65 per litre of ethanol. If it is molasses because sugar supply is in surplus it is Rs. 57.61. The rates for General Molasses is Rs.45.69 whereas damaged food grain that includes rice, maize, jowar, bajra etc are priced at Rs.51.55.

What are the benefits of manufacturing Ethanol?

The benefits of manufacturing ethanol is that there is no limit to the supply. The more you can supply the better it is. For instance if you can supply 1000 litres or 1 crore litres the government welcomes that. The rates are fixed for purchase by petroleum companies, which includes – Bharat Petroleum, Hindustan Petroleum and Indian Oil. Also your payments are assured to be given in 15 days, which has reduced from the earlier timeline of 30 days.

Will this short supply affect the liquor industry?

The ENA prices have also gone up with the availability at Rs.50-52 per litre from where you produce alcohol. The prices have already increased by more than 5%. ENA is Extra Neutral Alcohol which is used for the production of better quality of alcohol and normally not used in the production of country liquor. The total requirement of alcohol by the year 2025 is 1350 crore litres. Out of these for liquor and other purposes we need about 334 crore litres. For liquor and industrial purposes like chemicals etc. and the balance 1016 crore litres will be for ethanol. Out of the total estimated requirement of 1016 crore litres the sugar industry will give 684 crore litres and ethanol from grain will be 666 crore litres by 2025.

What are the challenges that distilleries face for increasing the targeted alcohol production?

The biggest challenge is to achieve the target of 20% by 2025 since originally that plan was to achieve it by 2030 which was upped to 2025. The only downside is that if we achieve these numbers then there might be a shortage of feedstock.

How much of this target can be achieved realistically?

We can achieve about 75% – 80% of the target. There won’t be any short supply for liquor production because the governments are strict. Nowadays’ the government is not giving molasses which is under State Governments. The moment molasses is produced they will make a reservation and allot it for the country liquor. Even if there is shortage of total supply I don’t see any difficulty for the liquor production because the State Governments are taking care of that thing.

Greater Than Gin, yes, what can be?

In the last couple of years, there has been a count of nearly 15 new gins entering the market, reviving the gin spirit, so to say. Of that 11 are from Goa. “It started off as a fluke as we decided that Goa had the best bottling partners for us. Since then, it seems quite a few others have taken that to be the precedent set and got to work,” that is Anand Virmani, the founder of Nao Spirits, manufacturers of Greater Than and Hapusa – premium crafted gins that are making waves in the markets available.

Virmani has his own take on how the crafted gin segment is evolving. He believes that Goa is not any more liberal than many other states in the country when it comes to excise policies. He dismisses it as a factor for launching Greater Than in Goa. Similarly, for the availability of botanicals, he states that the main ingredient for gin has to be either imported our sourced from the Himalayas in the north and that Goa is no different than any other part of the country when it comes to sourcing botanicals. As regards to water quality which Goa touts about, he is of the view that since all water in the production process has to be demineralised, the oriGinal water quality should not really matter.

But when it comes to Goa as the watering hole, he believes so that it is a great marketing tool. “The spirit of trying out new things is certainly important, especially since so many tourists come to Goa and take back gin bottles with them.”

Ambrosia: What is the reason for resurgence of gin which had taken a beating when vodka entered the Indian market?

Virmani: Vodka did this to gin in the 1950s globally. Gin has come back primarily because of the resurgence of cocktail bars which propagate classic cocktails, many of which just happen to use gin as their base. Ambrosia: There is a talk about uniqueness of the botanicals that goes into gin making. From a consumer perspective, what does botanicals signify?Virmani: Botanicals are what separate one gin from another. They are the main flavour components in any gin. Also, only high quality gins like ours use actual botanicals as opposed to artificial flavouring used by the cheaper, cold-compounded gins.

Ambrosia: What kind of growth are you seeing in the overall Gin market in India?

Virmani: The premium+ gin market in India (which excludes the low-end mass produced gins) are growing phenomenally well; easily around 30%+ CAGR. Ambrosia: We see a lot of premium brands being launched, is it because they are not meant for the masses?Virmani: Craft gin can only ever be premium. A low-priced gin, will not ever be a craft product. Even so, we aim to make our gins as accessible as possible.

Ambrosia: Could you tell us about the spark that led to the creation of Greater Than?

Virmani: The spark was quite simply the growing disbelief that India was not able to produce a single brand of gin that we could proudly call our own. It did not make sense to us, especially since India was the birthplace of the Gin & Tonic as well as the heart of the world spice trade.

Ambrosia: Which are the markets it is presently available now and what are your expansion plans?

Virmani: Our gins are present in seven different states across India currently as well as in over 15 countries outside India. We continue to grow as far and wide as we can without over-stretching ourselves. Assam has been our newest addition within India while New Zealand has become our most recent export market to come online.

Ambrosia: How is Hapusa different from Greater Than?

Virmani: Hapusa is a very small batch produced gin. It is primarily made with Himalayan juniper along with other botanicals found and sourced from across the country.

Ambrosia: Which are the markets it is present in – how do the two compete with each other – what is the USP of both?

Virmani: Greater Than is a classic London Dry Gin and is ideal for making cocktails or Gin & Tonics. Hapusa however, is far more characteristic and best enjoyed as a sipping gin or included in stirred cocktails like the Negroni or Martini.

Ambrosia: What next from ‘Nao Spirits’?

Virmani: Lots more

Stranger & Sons eyeing top bars of the world

Craft brands in India are currently redefining the perception of premiumness. It is now much more about authenticity, craftsmanship and embracing innovation to produce something uniquely groundbreaking. Today, we see a lot of Indian consumers are excited to try a good homegrown product without it being a compromise and brands like ours are able to communicate and ensure our high quality standards. Moreover, with India’s growing cocktail culture, we see that a lot of Indian consumers are open to trying new, atypical cocktails as well as local, homegrown products which have indeed contributed to the rise of craft producers in the country. That is Sakshi Saigal, the co-founder and director of Stranger & Sons. In an email interview, she maps the journey of crafted gin which has just embarked upon an exciting phase of spirits in India.

Ambrosia: Could you tell us about the spark that led to the creation of Stranger & Sons?

Saigal: It goes without saying that we individually are not just cocktail enthusiasts, but also had access to observe the beGinnings of the Gin Revolution first hand. I was working towards my MBA in Barcelona, while Vidur was studying in the UK and Rahul had just set up his craft brewery in Mumbai. While we were tasting and drinking a variety of gins every day – whether in London’s cocktail bars or the Gin Tonics of Barcelona, we were getting well acquainted with the gin landscape. That’s when it piqued our interest as to why India wasn’t up to speed with gin although gin manufacturers all over the world looked to India when it came to sourcing botanicals and we kept encountering brands based on a vision of India that we knew very well had never been a reality. This made us question why products with these botanicals are made everywhere but here. To add to this, there wasn’t any other quality homegrown product then that was conveying the story from our perspective; so we decided to change that and embarked into a lot of research before setting up Third Eye Distillery.

Ambrosia: Could you give us insights into the growth journey of Stranger & Sons?

Saigal: It’s honestly been a phenomenal experience so far! Right from the start, we wanted to build a truly Indian gin that would stand out on the shelves of top bars in the world but fit in just as well in the colourful and vibrant bars in Panjim. Made from inherently Indian botanicals, Stranger & Sons Gin captures the essence of contemporary India in every bottle for a curious and discerning consumer. What makes Stranger & Sons interesting is how we celebrate our diverse, unique and complicated history while recognising India in its current context instead of the stereotypical version with just palaces, elephants, and so on. Embracing this wonderful strangeness inherent in the contemporary India we live in today through our gin allows consumers to connect with the story and the brand in a very organic manner. Creating this emotional connection with our audience has always been at the core of our thought process and that’s where we believe that it’s not just what our gin is made of that matters, but what it represents.

Starting out as a home-grown gin brand from Goa to being declared one of the 8 best gins in the world by the International Wine & Spirit Competition in 2020, to winning the highest honours at The Asian Spirit Masters 2021, we’ve managed to put Indian gin on the world map and continue to work towards showcasing India’s diversity to the rest of the world! We’ve had an action-packed and eventful journey so far and the terrific response we get from our consumers at our international and domestic events is backed by an exciting, entrepreneurial team, all of whom feel very strongly about the brand. With regard to sales, we sold 25,000 nine litre cases in our first full year of operations, which was extremely exciting for us and was mainly attributed to being available in just two Indian cities and one international market. This year, despite the pandemic, we will be focussing on domestic and international expansion.

Ambrosia: How much has the pandemic hit production?

Saigal: Being absolutely aware that it has been an extremely tough phase for the hospitality industry and brands including ours, thanks to our team’s sheer creativity and persistence, we never lost sight of our consumers, favourite bars and bartenders. During the pandemic, we launched ‘Strange Times’ bottled cocktails in Singapore as an initiative to support the trade, made in collaboration with some of the best bars there to help keep the spirits up amidst the pandemic. We also got selected as the first Indian brand for the Craft Gin Club and shipped bottles to over 70,000 homes across the UK. During the lockdown, we launched India’s first distilled cocktail with local, seasonal pink guavas – Perry Road Peru, in collaboration with The Bombay Canteen, a high-end Indian restaurant which was a massive success in the market! Regardless of the digital shift, we continue to prioritise innovation, crafting immersive experiences and strengthening our relationships with consumers and trade alike.

Ambrosia: Which markets are you present in and what are your expansion plans?

Saigal: We launched Stranger & Sons from the shores of Goa and expanded to Maharashtra, Delhi, Karnataka and Rajasthan within India and UK, Singapore, Thailand and the UAE, internationally. We will indeed be exploring various domestic markets including Telangana, Uttar Pradesh, Assam, and more. In terms of international expansion, we look forward to increasing our global footprint through our upcoming launches in Australia, Mauritius and more, very soon. Each new market brings a unique, diverse consumer base which makes the experience, well, let’s just say thrilling!

Ambrosia: What are the challenges – regulatory and distribution network – faced in India?

Saigal: In the spirits world, India has always been known for the sheer volume of alcohol we produce over anything else. The distilleries here are mostly large-scale, daunting structures and it’s difficult to contract distill small quantities here which is often a great way for craft distillers to beGin their journey. Adding to the challenge, India follows a federal system of laws and when it comes to alcohol and so, the guidelines and regulations vary across states in India. Access to good quality equipment and adequate space also pose a challenge, particularly once companies start expanding.

Ambrosia: Tell us about the botanicals that make your gin unique?

Saigal: Indian botanicals and spices that are indispensable to every Indian household and form the backbone of India’s culinary heritage. Among India’s most fertile states, Goa was a natural choice for us for its lush expanse of spice farms. The mace, cassia bark, licorice, black pepper and nutmeg that perfume our gin are sourced from spice farms surrounding our distillery making Goa the beating heart of our narrative. Our unique citrus peel mix of Indian Bergamot, Nimbu (Indian Limes), Nagpur Oranges & Gondhoraj have also been put together to represent different parts of our country and each of these citrus’ are extremely integral to the region they represent and make their way into local cuisine, juices, pickles, jams, preserves and more. By making use of all the wonderful spices available to us, we built a three-dimensional Gin that is proudly Indian and true to its oriGin. Our signature serves include fresh, flavourful Gimlets & aromatic, layered Gibsons which are also homage to India’s pickling and cordialling culture.

Ambrosia: What next?

Saigal: Third Eye Distillery was never built as a one-product-company right from the get go. There doesn’t go a day when someone from the team isn’t trying to answer this same question and one up the other. There are so many things that we’re working on at the moment when it comes to innovation and new product releases, no thought goes untested and no idea wins without a fight! We are also constantly trying to do our bit to make our distillery more responsible and sustainable while exploring new extensions and experimenting with various ideas. The one thing we know for sure, whichever product we release next, it won’t just be another bottle on the shelf, but will truly be adding to the conversation and be integral to taking our cocktail culture to the next step.

‘Black Jewel’, Goa’s first Craft Gin

One common thread among all the craft gin makers is that they are kind of globe trotters and well-heeled. And these journeys make them richer (I am not talking financially here). Take for instance, Cedric Vaz, Director of Global Spirits and Foods and the creator of the arguably the first craft gin from Goa – the Black Jewel.

It was on one of his trips to Europe between 2010 and 2012 that he noticed that gin was becoming popular and blooming in some of the European markets. “I could see it coming to India very soon which motivated me to work on creating a brand of premium yet value for money, which will appease those customers who really have a craving for a good Gin and are ready to pay a reasonable price for it. After a lot of work, research and sleepless nights, we zeroed down on the concept and creation of our gin brand which we named ‘Black Jewel’. Our first batch was manufactured on December 18, 2018. Our gin was first amongst the gins produced in Goa as well as first amongst crafted Gins.”

Hand-picked Junipers

Black Jewel Gin is meticulously hand crafted from hand-picked juniper berries that are grown in the highlands of Italy. These berries along with other botanicals such as Cilantro, Wild Celery, Carum Carvi etc. are infused into the premium grain spirit through a double copper pot distillation. The result is a gin with distinct and remarkable zesty citrus flavour.

For gin to be called gin it needs the juniper as one of its ingredients that is what makes gin unique from vodka. From the perspective of a consumer, herbs other than juniper are a personal preference and palate-friendly. A manufacturer is compelled to compulsorily add Juniper to call it gin, but is free to add the herbs and flavours of their wish, making gin a diverse drink; and this allows the customers to be choosy about their taste and style of gin.

Superior quality of water in Goa

Mac Vaz of Global Spirits and Foods which manufactures Black Jewel Gin states that, besides friendly excise policy, Goa has the perfect water quality for spirit manufacture. “Coming under the Dharwad super group, largely dominated by the laterite rock as its soil which is highly porous and permeable, the quality of ground water is clean and sweet. This, with the heavy rains of nearly 330cm, makes Goa a region with good amount of potable water. We believe water of Goa has its own brand equity.”

On Black Jewel’s reasonable pricing, Sanath Bharne of Sales says, “While there is a general perception that premium pricing has a pull factor with certain Indian consumers, we resisted that suggestion from the trade and came up with an MRP of `675 for 750 ml as we were clear that we wanted Black Jewel to be within the reach of the consumers who are accustomed to regular molasses-based flavoured Gins.”

Glenmorangie and Ardbeg Single Malt Whiskies crowned as the Best Whiskies of the 2021

The 2021 edition of the International Whisky Competition was held from May 12- May 16 in Colorado, USA where a professional tasting panel comprising of whisky, wine and beer connoisseurs came together to determine the top whiskies of 2021. The Ardbeg Uigadail emerged as the “Best Whisky of the Year”, while Glenmorangie Vintage 1997 claimed second position. Dr Bill Lumsden of The Glenmorangie Company won the distinguished “Master Distiller of the Year” title, as a testimony of his vast experience, consistency and mastery in the art of distilling and creating remarkable whiskies.

As six out of top 15 whiskies were awarded to different expressions of Ardbeg and Glenmorangie, it truly demonstrates the craftsmanship and deliciousness of these whiskies. The variants that clinched these top positions include Ardbeg Traigh Bhan 19 Year Old, Glenmorangie Signet, Ardbeg An Oa and Glenmorangie Quinta Ruban that ranked 9th, 10th, 13th and 15th respectively.

Judged via blind tasting, each whisky was scored using a comprehensive 100-point scale system through an 8 minutes tasting session. The whiskies were rated on factors such as visual appeal, intensity and complexity, distinctiveness of aromas and flavours, and quality of finish, with three medals being awarded for each category. Thus, each win is unique and not duplicated with generic awards.

The noteworthy wins for Moët Hennessy at the 2021 International Whisky Competition establishes its brands’ expressions as favourites not only amongst the experts, but spirit aficionados and consumers across the world.

Allied Blenders & Distillers appoints Mr. Shekhar Ramamurthy as Executive Deputy Chairman

Allied Blenders & Distillers Private Limited recently announced the appointment of Shekhar Ramamurthy as the Executive Deputy Chairman of the company with effect from the 1st of July 2021. He replaces Nick Blasquez, who has left ABD Private Limited to pursue other professional interests. Mr. Kishore Chhabria, Chairman has expressed his gratitude to Nick Blasquez for his contributions and the transformation journey that he had guided during his tenure.

Shekhar Ramamurthy, has spent over three decades with the UB Group in various leadership roles, the last of which was as the Managing Director of United Breweries Limited. He is well recognised within the alcobev industry for his leadership skills, ability to identify opportunities and drive growth and value. As the country and the industry unlocks from the effects of the Covid 19 pandemic, ABD is poised to continue its growth through building successful brands, winning with consumers and creating value for all stakeholders. Shekhar Ramamurthy will spearhead this journey.

Chivas Brothers appoints new Chief Executive

Dumbarton-based distiller Chivas Brothers has a new Chief Executive and Chairman. Chivas Brothers which is part of the Pernod Ricard drinks empire, has recently appointed Jean-Etienne Gourgues as its new chief. Mr Gourgues replaces Jean-Christophe Coutures, who left the company in July after three years in the role. Mr Gourgues was most recently managing director of Pernod Ricard China.

The company said in a statement: “Chivas Brothers, the Scotch whisky business of Pernod Ricard, can confirm the appointment of Jean-Etienne Gourgues as chairman and CEO from July 1, 2021.

“Jean-Etienne joined Chivas Brothers from Pernod Ricard China, where he served as managing director. Previously, he was president and CEO of Pernod Ricard Japan, and he has also held senior positions at Martell Mumm Perrier-Jouët and Allied Domecq.“Jean-Etienne succeeded Jean-Christophe Coutures who will be returning to France after serving as Chivas Brothers Chairman and CEO for three years.“Jean-Etienne will be part of Pernod Ricard’s executive committee and will be based at Chivas Brothers London HQ, after relocating from Shanghai.”

Mr Coutures held senior roles with Pernod in Asia, Australia and Ireland before succeeding Laurent Lacassagne as chief executive of Chivas Brothers in February 2018. He arrived as Chivas was preparing to switch its Scottish bottling operation from Paisley to Dumbarton.

Radico Khaitan to launch 3 Premium Whiskies in the next two years

Liquor manufacturer Radico Khaitan’s performance has been exemplary in these difficult times, highlighted by record sales and earnings. With the expectations of continued earnings and growth, the company is on course to better its performance in these difficult times. The Chief Operating Officer of Radico Khaitan Limited, Mr. Amar Sinha gives an overview of the company’s performance in these Covid times.

Is Radico focusing on premium brown spirits for growth?

Amar Sinha (Sinha): Yes. Radico Khaitan offers a wide array of products – 15 organically-grown brands including 5 millionaire brands – hence, we have something for every age group and in each category. The company, while enhancing the products in the white spirit category, is also focusing on the premium brown spirits while identifying India-specific consumer preferences in the category. In fact, among our successful premium offerings in the brown spirits category, we have 8PM Premium Black Whisky which is a master’s selection for the true connoisseurs of fine taste. 8PM is the flagship brand of Radico Khaitan and 8 PM Premium Black Whisky is a notch above offering which reflects the true essence of quality drinking.

Another essential driver of Radico’s growth in the brown spirits category is Morpheus Brandy (only brandy in the premium and super premium segment) which commands over 65% of the market share in the country. In the rum category, 1965 Spirit of Victory has been doing phenomenally well in the premium rum segment. Our most recent offering, Rampur Indian Single Malt Whisky, which was launched in the Indian market in February 2019 was rated amongst the top 5 world whiskies by “Whiskey Cask Magazine” US even before it was launched in the domestic market.

Which are the new products in brown spirits you are planning to launch?

Sinha: As a country, India has majorly been a brown spirits market. Though people are now open to experimenting more and showing an inclination towards white spirits, the brown spirits segment is continuing to dominate the world over. Of late, there has been a significant shift in people’s consumption pattern with many switching to more premium liquor because they have been mostly home-bound for over a year now which boosted savings to a large extent and that allowed them to move towards premiumisation. To cater to the consumer demands, Radico Khaitan is on course for the launch of more brands in the premium brown spirits space during FY2022 across categories. There are at least 3 Premium Whiskies in the brown spirits category that are currently on the drawing board which would be launched over the next 2 years. These are one segment above each other and with very high contributions in terms of price positioning. Radico has a history of launching at least 12 successful brands in the last decade and half.

What are the plans for 8PM this fiscal?

Sinha: RadicoKhaitan’s primary focus for the brand will be to take 8PM Premium Black Whisky pan India as it is currently available in 16 States. An extension of 8 PM Whisky – a flagship brand of Radico Khaitan – 8PM Premium Black Whisky successfully touched 1 million cases in March 2021, within just 2 years of its launch in the Indian retail market. This brand has been on the growth trajectory paved by its parent brand 8PM Whisky, which itself was a runaway success. It has been named the 5th Best Indian Whisky by the Spirits Business Brand Champion. We have introduced a pocket pack for 8PM Premium Black Whisky in West Bengal, Rajasthan, Telangana, Assam and Uttar Pradesh, which will soon be launched in other markets across the country. This is the first hipster pack in a glass bottle in this segment. 8PM Pocket pack is an innovative 90 ml pack size in look and feel and gives the feeling of a hip flask in glass bottle. The pack is launched to lure the consumer with its modern style and promote trial amongst new consumers.

In this digital age, what is your campaign strategy?

Sinha: While focusing heavily on brand expansion, we will also be launching campaigns with the brand ambassador Tiger Shroff to promote and celebrate the positioning of the brand. The Bollywood actor is extremely popular among the youth and is full of energy and vigour – traits that completely sync with the brand; hence we believe that the launch of the campaigns will further strengthen 8PM Premium Black’s positioning and take it to the next level. We are actively eyeing the digital medium for engaging with the brand loyalists and curating exciting digital campaigns across all social media platforms in order to enhance brand visibility.

Goa, the Gin Capital of India

No, we are not saying move on Feni which is unique to Goa and mind you growing in its own way. Suddenly, in the last two years, despite the pandemic, about 15 brands of Gin have been crafted and launched across the country and 11 of them, yes a full team of brands, have their oriGin s in Goa. What is brewing over here in this beautiful coastal state? A lot ! And what warms the cockles of the heart is that young entrepreneurs, in their 20s and 30s, are the craftspeople. Cheers to this young brigade.

And it was a Goan – Cedric Vaz, it’s in his genes, right, to launch the first truly crafted Indian Gin by the name ‘Black Jewel’ and believe you me crafted Gin has turned out to be a connoisseur’s delight, irrespective of the brand.

There has been a resurgence of sorts for Gin . No, the pandemic has got nothing to do with it. Though the British East India company created the drink in the 1700s, it was a military cocktail, devoured by the troops to stay healthy. The British residents in India added Gin , sugar, ice and citrus and thus was born the Gin and Tonic. The witty statesman Winston Churchill words remain for eternity “The Gin and tonic drink has saved more Englishmen’s lives and minds, than all the doctors in the Empire.” Somewhere along the way, Gin lost favour and it was perceived as a ‘ladies drink’ and everyone with some knowledge has some reasoning for that. Around the same time, vodka and tequila captured the imaGin ation of the world and these spirits kind of drowned Gin. It was circa 2016 that in the United Kingdom there was growing interest in Gin which reportedly grew 44% year on year with about 100 home grown brands hitting the market. India is the fifth largest consumer of Gin after the UK, USA, Germany and Spain, but within the country Gin accounts for just about 1% of spirits consumed.

Young entrepreneurs driving craft Gin segment

But it is growing. In the recent past, it has caught the attention of the Indian spirit maker and consumer. The young co-founder and director of Stranger & Sons, Sakshi Saigal says “Though its presence in its current form is limited to the main metro cities, Gin is going through an extremely exciting phase and still transcending into the mainstream. There aren’t just new consumers every day but new Gin s too! As people travel, they have slowly started to understand India’s rich history when it comes to Gin and agricultural bounty when it comes to ingredients, so it has become an obvious choice for Gin makers alike.”

There are several reasons for this resurgence, one of which certainly is the drinking culture which is getting nuanced, thanks to the new generation which likes to explore, experiment and be expressive. The Chief Operating Officer of Radico Khaitan, Amar Sinha states “The Gin market appears very promising in the country as over the years people have been open to move beyond the regular brown spirits. They have started developing and appreciating the fine taste of the white spirit for the botanical infusions. There are many factors behind the popularity of this category such as increased exposure to global culture, the growing trend of cocktail culture, and Generation Z’s inclination towards experimentation with white spirits.”

Craft Gin comes with a price and why not?

If one looks at the drinking profile, these crafted Gin s seemingly are not for the hoi polloi. Almost all of them (Stranger & Sons, Greater Than, Hapusa, Samsara, Jin Jiji, Pumori, Jaisalmer and a few others) are priced in a way attracting the upwardly mobile. This is the segment that these manufacturers are looking at and not for nothing most of them are produced in small batches. “Craft Gin can only ever be premium. A low-priced Gin , will not ever be a craft product. Even so, we aim to make our Gin s as accessible as possible,” states Anand Virmani, Founder and CEO of Nao Spirits and Beverages (creators of Greater Than and Hapusa).

However, Mac Vaz of Madame Rosa distillery and the founder president of the Goa Cashew Feni Distillers and Bottlers Association, has another take on it. The first craft Gin , Black Jewel, from Madame Rosa stable is reasonably priced as to make Gin drinking accessible and affordable. All of them in some way or the other are working in that direction, coming up with a distinct touch of their own. It makes sense in a market which is slowly opening up, thanks to the many bartenders who are peppered across the country and ever open to experimentation.

Botanicals are at the core of this revolution

Botanicals are coming into that experimentation while Juniper is the predominant botanical ingredient in Gin , there are other accompaniments, most of them sourced locally. States Sakshi Saigal “Our botanicals are crafted together, taking inspiration from India’s culinary heritage which is centred around spices. Spice boxes are commonly found in almost all Indian kitchens and for centuries, they have been manipulated in different ways to create flavour in food, liquid, sweets and scents. Our Gin goes beyond the customary juniper and highlights inherently Indian botanicals and spices that are indispensable to every Indian household and form the backbone of India’s culinary heritage.”

In an article in The Hindu, Anoothi Vishal cites Dr. Anne Brock, master distiller at Bombay Sapphire, “I believe it is important that juniper remains the core, but we may need to relax and encourage difference. Gin is a global spirit with different botanicals and styles, and consumers are interested in the people who make their Gin , its provenance and story.”

Goa, India’s watering hole has friendly policies

And it is all happening in Goa, India’s watering hole. That is good enough a reason for many of the distillers to descend upon Goa, an investment-friendly state in the hospitality industry. Mac Vaz emphasizes “Goa being the apex tourist destination of the country gives smaller players a cost-effective advantage due to the consumer watering hole ! Also unlike in most other parts of the country, in Goa there is no hypocrisy and taboo quotient connected to liquor consumption in moderation. Lastly, Goa has a brand, has a natural USP in perception. Everything that is produced within Goa has its exotic positioning – Feni is a classic example of this.”

Why Goa? And Sakshi Saigal has the perfect answer for that going beyond the friendly excise policies of the state which has been eulogized at various forums. “We often hear a lot being said about Goa having more liberal excise laws and so on, making it easier to start brands there but honestly, that undermines what Goa truly has to offer. A former colony, Goa adopted a lot of the Portugese way of life which adds to its own unique charm. The roads wind through green fields, the people speak Konkani with as much ease as they do Portuguese; colonial bungalows and local spice markets all co-exist with some of the most progressive hospitality and restaurant establishments. Further, the Goan way of living life to the fullest inspires us every day to strive for innovation and keep experimenting with various spirits and expressions of our Gin .”

She adds “A truly special place for most Indians where you’ll find the cuisine, architecture and culture of India & Portugal come together, Goa is home to Stranger & Sons. Tucked away in a corner of South Goa, you’ll find us, hunched over our still, throwing iconic Indian botanicals into our Gin , while the local women peel fragrant Indian citrus outside. Goa indeed has its own strange ties to Gin , having been the heart of spice trade for centuries. Our wonderfully strange roots in Goa where cultures, societies and spiritual beliefs stand united under a liberal approach to life translates into the invisible essence in our bottle. When we aren’t distilling, you’ll find us sitting on a porch sipping on some Gibsons made with our pickles! “

Strange it may sound, can you believe it, there are over 3,000 registered micro distilleries in the coastal state and they have enough capacity and more to allow for manufacturing of any spirit. If you have an idea, some capital and a good recipe, just head to Goa.

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.