Tag Archives: Ambrosia magazine

SWA announces Mark Kent as new Chief Executive

The Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) has announced that Mark Kent, former British Ambassador to Argentina, will succeed Karen Betts as Chief Executive, when Karen leaves the SWA later this year.

Mark joins the SWA following more than three decades with the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO). Most recently, he served as Ambassador to Argentina from 2016 to June 2021. He also served as the Ambassador to Thailand, Ambassador to Vietnam, as well as roles at British Embassies in Mexico City, Brasilia and the UK Representation to the European Union.

Commenting on his appointment as the ninth Chief Executive in the SWA’s 110-year history, Mark Kent said, “I am delighted to have been appointed as CEO of the Scotch Whisky Association. As a former Ambassador, I know in what high regard the Scotch Whisky industry and the SWA is held worldwide.

“After a challenging period, I’m looking forward to helping the industry to unleash its full potential and enable people across the globe to discover and enjoy our premium and iconic product. The Scotch Whisky industry has a fantastic history, great stories to tell and continues to innovate. I can’t wait to get started.”

Welcoming Mark Kent to the role, Scott McCroskie, Chair of the SWA Council, added, “I am delighted that Mark will be joining the Scotch Whisky Association, to lead the organisation’s and the industry’s next exciting chapter. Mark brings with him an outstanding depth of experience which will allow the SWA to continue to support the industry’s interests around the world.

“We look forward to working with him as the industry looks to make new ground in key growth markets and build a sustainable future for the industry by continuing our push towards net-zero.”

Mark Kent, who will take up the position in January 2022, will take over from Karen Betts, who leaves the SWA in December 2021 to take over as Chief Executive at the Food and Drink Federation.

Parksons Packaging Ltd. acquires Manohar Packaging, new entity to have presence across India

Manohar Packaging, a leading player in the alcobev industry with a pan India presence has now been sold to Parksons. This gives Parksons a major presence in the alcobev industry. Aditya Patwardhan, Board Member, unveils details of the new entity and the way forward.

What is the nature of the sale of Manohar Packaging to Parksons? Can you share some details?

As widely published in leading newspapers and media, Manohar Packaging (“MPPL”) has been acquired in entirely, by Parksons Packaging Ltd., a Warburg Pincus owned company, and the industry leader in paper based packaging. Post the deal, the Board of Directors of MPPL has been reconstituted strengthening the company’s management team.

The newly constituted board includes Rameshji, Siddharth, and Chaitanya Kejriwal, from Parksons, and Hemant Mundra, from Warburg Pincus. I continue as a board member. All of us will work as a professional management team and continue to encourage an entrepreneurial mindset.

Till the time the integration is complete, MPPL will continue as a subsidiary, however all back end operations, reporting and data management will be merged and streamlined with immediate effect, to offer our clients a seamless experience with a newer and larger network of plants, with clubbed and standardised materials management. We hope to broadly convert around 300,000 tons of sustainable and renewable paperboard in the near future in toto.

What are the strategic benefits to both companies arising out of the transactions?

What this effectively means is, that our clients now have a network of eight mega plants spanning the length and breadth of India, with state-of-the-art technology, standardised inputs, systems, quality parameters, and methods of operations.

The care and detail with which we have been working with our partners and clients – be it in terms of packaging design, development, validation, to market supplies, will only improve. The combined strengths of Parksons scale, and MPPL’s domain expertise in alcobev, will be evident in the work we do going forward.

Our Design Park is unparalleled, and equipped with the best software and digital technology. The combined team of creative pre-press, technical packaging developers, coupled with production experience, will soon be deployed on new projects and will bear testimony to this.

MPPL’s plants located in Goa (West) and Punjab (North), will be part of the total network including Pantnagar (North – 2 units), Sri City (South), Daman & Chakan (West).

What I am most excited about is our increased ground presence with a state-of-the-art plant in Guwahati (North East), with which we can serve our clients in the east of India with speed and efficiency.

Will there be any changes to the way Manohar Packaging continues to work?

As in the case of most mergers & acquisitions, the aim is to grow the new entity and improve our overall ability to serve our clients. Given we’re a ‘B2B’ industry, it is extremely important to ensure we are moving in the same direction and journey as our valued partners.

The Kejriwal family and us share a common vision, the same mind set, goals, and growth plans. There was a meeting of minds, which ticked off all the boxes. The industry and our clients will be the biggest beneficiary of this deal.

Delineation and segregation between shareholding and professional management is important and we all are in it to grow as India’s most preferred supply partner for paper based packaging. Both our companies are held by Warburg Pincus and we’re glad to have them as we will continue to think like entrepreneurs, work in a professional environment, and deploy our knowledge and strength to drive more power to the company.

What is the status of the liquor packaging industry?

Currently, like the liquor industry, the supporting packaging industry is equally fragmented. There are a great number of players in the game, and we are happy to co-exist.

Clients decide whom they wish to partner with, and they have several criteria to choose from in terms of a holistic approach to supply chain, or purely price based on any given month.

We, at Parksons, run highly regulated and governed companies, with sustainability, social compliance, ESG taking high priority in the way we operate and run our facilities.

Hence we’re more focussed on long term client partners who value the need for transparency, professionalism, fair governance, and sustainable practices. We are extremely fortunate and honoured to partner with them, and I’m sure more beverage companies will value this long term approach eventually.

Alcobev is an exciting place to be, and is the gold standard for premium packaging. So likewise, most players in this field, need to be on top of their game with technology upgradation, technical knowledge, and downstream supply chain security given that commodity markets are in their most turbulent phase at the moment. This is where the long term approach wins for most.

How has the pandemic affected the company?

Here again, the fact that our organisations are well managed and governed helped a lot. Both MPPL and Parksons’ plants were up and running shortly into lockdown 1, with the highest safety protocols and were operating when our clients needed us most.

In unprecedented times, I am proud that the human ‘can do’ spirit and agility took precedence and we managed the show when many could not. I earnestly would like to thank our clients and mill partners for supporting us, so we in turn could deliver whatever was needed out of us in short notice with great agility and flexibility.

I would say, looking back, it has been the toughest learning curve for all of us, and we have come out of it stronger. I say this with certainty and hope, that the worst is truly behind us.

How can the premiumisation trend boost the industry?

Premium products are seeing higher salience and acceptance, maybe owing to increase in home consumption due to lockdowns, modernisation of retail outlets (Delhi), and clearing of red tape for home delivery / app enabled ordering of brands as an added convenience to the consumer.

The dark market woes of the alcohol industry still remain, and hence the pack is the first impression that the consumer takes home with them. Most marketeers understand this very well, and we’re beginning to see less ‘me-toos’ and more bespoke work in the recent few quarters.

With premiumisation and better margins, alcobev companies are able to experiment with new innovations, and can justify higher packaging budgets. This brings in a lot of excitement to the consumer as well as the retail shelves, leading to growth and diversification in the industry.

Improvements in the overall consumption experience that the leading premium brands offer, viz.; design cues, primary & secondary packaging upgrades, closure, to pour and palate should lead to better and wider social acceptance of responsible and repeat consumption in the near future. Premium outlets will need premium looking brands, and going by the Delhi market example, there should be tremendous headroom for growth here.

Cheers to that!

Marking the Million Milestone: Royal Green Celebrates 10 Million Sales

Home grown Brand, Royal Green whisky from the house of ADS Group has crossed a massive milestone in the highly competitive Indian Made Foreign Liquor – deluxe segment dominated by multinational companies. The brand recently announced the crossing milestone sale of 10 million cases (cases of 9 ltrs) since it was introduced in the market in 2015.

ADS group started by First Generation Entrepreneurs – Maan Family, launched Royal Green in the deluxe segment with an objective of providing a premium quality product at an affordable price. Crafted by a seasoned master blender for the most discerning palate, Royal Green Whisky is a carefully curated melange of the finest premium Indian Grain spirits and imported scotch malts. Packed in an exquisite green bottle, the blend is far superior in terms of taste, smoothness and after feel.

Pan-India presence

Royal Green was initially launched only in Delhi and Haryana, but slowly has imprinted a strong presence pan-India. Today, it is available in 20 states in India and exported to other countries as well. The Royal Green Whisky has an alcohol percentage of 42.8% V/V, similar to other brands in its category, and is available in 1L, 75cl, 37.5cl, 18cl, and 9cl bottles. In India, the Royal Green Whisky price varies from territory to territory due to the variation in liquor taxation across Indian states and union territories. However, generally, it’s considered an Indian whisky brand priced under `1000.

Fastest growing millionaire Indian whisky brand

In spite of the pandemic induced lockdown in 2020, when most of the brands reported drop in their volume, Royal Green continued its march and grew to become (Source – Millionaire whisky Brands – 2020 by Drinks International) Fastest Growing Millionaire Indian Whisky Brand along with the following tags – fourth fastest growing whisky in the world, 26th biggest whisky brand in the world and 80th biggest spirits brand in the world.

It was quite an impressive show by a home-grown new brand within a short span of time. The sale of 10 million cases has been the major highlight.

Commenting on achieving this milestone – Mr. Virat Maan – CEO – ADS Spirits stated, “We thank all our consumers, Trade Partners and Team at ADS who made it possible. We commenced our journey with a passion to create a whisky brand which would be a treat for the consumer’s senses, and that was the genesis of Royal Green. We take utmost care to ensure best of the quality in each and every ingredient that gets into this blend and also ensure last mile delivery of our product through right channels. I feel that passion for quality and ADS team’s passion to excel in all aspects has made this milestone achievement possible”

To celebrate this breakthrough and to thank its loyal customer base, Royal Green is planning a celebratory campaign with a special commemorative pack bundled with exciting consumer rewards.

Ambrosia Awards 2021

The 14th edition of INDSPIRIT 2021, organized by Ambrosia, the wine and spirit magazine, held on December 17th 2021 in New Delhi, came as a much needed breather to the alcobev industry. Industry leaders and other stakeholders descended upon Hotel Andaz for IndSpirit 2021, primarily to ‘reconnect’ with the alcobev community.

INDSPIRIT 2021, a mix of conference, exhibition and awards, was a runaway success, not just because ofthe huge number of attendees, but because it set a ‘positive tone’ for the industry.

The Managing Director of SAP Media Worldwide, Mr. Trilok Desai, set the tone for INDSPIRIT 2021 by talking about how the alcobev sector was bouncing back with a positive outlook, after a lull of almost two years adversely affected by the pandemic.

Braving the Delhi winter, industry stakeholders turned out in good number, endorsing the spirit of Ambrosia to move on, overcome the challenges and grab the opportunities. The coming together of the industry was heartening to note for a sector which has so much to offer, thanks to quality enhancements, innovation and camaraderie. Cheers to the Alcobev sector, INDSPIRIT and Ambrosia for saying ‘goodbye to 2021’ and welcoming 2022 with a lot of hope.

Ambrosia Awards 2021 Winners

Category – Beer

BEST MILD BEER

Tag Premium Lager Beer

BEST BEER – STRONG CATEGORY

Bira 91 Gold Wheat Strong Beer

BEST BEER – STRONG CATEGORY

Sterren 8 Premium Strong Beer

Category – Wine

BEST POPULAR WHITE WINE

Fumé Blanc

BEST PREMIUM WHITE WINE

Soma Chardonnay Reserve

BEST PREMIUM INDIAN RED WINE

Reveilo Reserve Syrah

BEST POPULAR IMPORTED RED WINE

Born West Cabernet Sauvignon

BEST SUPER PREMIUM IMPORTED RED WINE

Robert Mondavi Private Selection Cabernet Sauvignon

BEST SPARKLING WINE

Casablanca Spumante Sparkling Wine

Category – Vodka

BEST POPULAR VODKA

One More Pure Craft Vodka

BEST PREMIUM VODKA

Smoke Classic Vodka

BEST SUPER PREMIUM VODKA

Stolichnaya Premium Vodka

BEST SUPER PREMIUM VODKA

Juno Premium Pink Flavoured Vodka

BEST PREMIUM FLAVOURED VODKA

Magic Moments Verve Cranberry Tease Premium Flavoured Vodka

BEST SUPER PREMIUM FLAVOURED VODKA

Absolut Grapefruit Vodka

Category – Gin

BEST PREMIUM GIN

Beefeater London Dry Gin

BEST SUPER PREMIUM GIN

Roku Japanese Craft Gin

BEST FLAVOURED GIN

Edinburgh Gin Rhubarb And Ginger

Category – Rum

BEST POPULAR BLACK RUM

Commander N Chief Caribbean Gold XXX Rum

BEST PREMUIM BLACK RUM

1965 Spirit Of Victory Premium XXX Rum

BEST PREMIUM RUM

Amrut Two Indies Rum

BEST WHITE RUM

Aspira Lemon Twist Rum

Category – Brandy

BEST POPULAR BRANDY

British Empire Brandy

BEST PREMIUM BRANDY

Courrier Napoleon Finest French Brandy

Category – Whisky

BEST IMFL REGULAR WHISKY

Royal Green Whisky

BEST IMFL POPULAR WHISKY

Oaksmith International Blended Whisky

BEST IMFL SEMI PREMIUM WHISKY

Single Reserva Premium Whisky

BEST IMFL SEMI PREMIUM WHISKY

Whistler Blended Malt Whisky

Best IMFL PREMIUM WHISKY

Signature Premier Grain Whisky

BEST FLAVOURED WHISKY

Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Apple Flavoured Whisky

BEST BLENDED SCOTCH BII

Grant’s Distinction Blended Scotch Whisky

BEST SCOTCH (BIO) ABOVE 12 YRS WHISKY

Dewar’s 15 Year Old Blended Scotch Whisky

BEST INDIAN SINGLE MALT

The Three Monkeys Indian Single Malt Whisky

BEST SINGLE MALT

Bowmore Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky – Aged 12 Years

PACKAGING AWARDS INDSPIRIT 2021

BEST PACKAGING AWARD (UNIT PACK)

United’s Epitome Reserve Rare Grain Whisky

BEST PACKAGING AWARD (UNIT PACK)

Glenfiddich Limited Edition Gift Pack

BEST PACKAGING AWARD (GRAPHICS)

8 PM Premium Black Whisky Cricksaw and Howzat

BEST PACKAGING AWARD (IDEA)

Monkey 47 Schwarzwald Dry Gin

BEST PACKAGING AWARD (BEER CANISTER)

Bira 91 Gold Wheat Strong Beer

BEST PACKAGING AWARD (CANNISTER)

Morpheus Blue XO Premium Brandy

BEST PACKAGING AWARD (BEER BOTTLE)

Sterren 8 Premium Strong Beer

BEST PACKAGING AWARD (BOTTLE SHAPE)

Roku Japanese Craft Gin

BEST PACKAGING AWARD (BOTTLE SHAPE)

Bacardi Reserva Ocho Aged 8 Years

INDIVIDUAL AWARDS INDSPIRIT 2021

FASTEST GROWING BRAND

Rockford Reserve Whisky & Rockford Classic Whisky

EXCELLENCE IN BRAND PROMOTION AND MARKETING

1965 Spirit Of Victory Premium XXX Rum

EXCELLENCE IN BRAND PROMOTION AND MARKETING

Oaksmith God International Blended Whisky

EXCELLENCE IN RETAIL AND DISTRIBUTION

STAR Agencies

NEW PRODUCT OF THE YEAR

United’s Epitome Reserve Rare Grain Whisky

SPECIAL FELICITATION FOR COMPLETEING 11 YEARS

Hospitality Purchasing Managers & Forum (HPMF)

START-UP OF THE YEAR

Kimaya Himalayan Beverages

ENTREPRENEUR OF THE YEAR

Ankur Jain

Founder & CEO

Bira 91

BUSINESS LEADER OF THE YEAR

Abhishek Khaitan

Managing Director

Radico Khaitan Limited

LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT OF THE YEAR

Shobhan Roy

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.

Beam Suntory Reports 2020 Results

Beam Suntory, a leading global premium spirits company, reported full-year results for 2020.

Global net sales were flat for the year, as a return to growth in the second half offset lower sales in the first half of the year. Full-year sales grew 4% in the United States, as restaurant and bar activity improved in the second half and spirits continued to gain share from beer and wine. Sales were essentially flat in Japan, up at a single-digit rate in the UK and Russia, up high-single digits in Australia and Canada, and up double digits in Germany and South Korea. The impact of the pandemic led to lower sales in markets including Spain, India, China, South Africa and the Global Travel Retail channel.

Global sales for Jim Beam grew to surpass 11 million 9-litre equivalent cases for the first time, extending the brand’s leadership as the world’s number one Bourbon whiskey. Reflecting sustained consumer demand for premium brands, sales for Basil Hayden’s bourbon, Hornitos tequila, Toki whisky and Roku gin increased at double-digit rates. Sales were also exceptionally strong for Japanese ready-to-drink products and On The Rocks Premium Cocktails (acquired in September 2020), as consumer demand for convenience, refreshment and quality cocktails expanded.

“As we expected, consumer demand increased in the second half of 2020, even as the global pandemic continued to impact markets around the world,” said Albert Baladi, president & CEO of Beam Suntory. “I couldn’t be more proud of how our people adapted to confront the challenges of 2020 – from our frontline distillery workers to our sales teams, from our brand builders to every company function. As a result, we were able to meet consumers digitally in the emerging ‘home premise’ to support at-home cocktail-making and satisfy their expectations for convenience through increased investments in e-commerce and ready-to-drink products. At the same time, we supported our on-trade partners with innovations like cocktails to go, and guided by our vision of Growing for Good, we provided vital assistance to hard-hit restaurant and bar workers in markets around the world.”

“Looking ahead, the pace of recovery from the ongoing pandemic remains uncertain. In this environment, we expect to drive continued improvement in sales as we benefit from the strategic investments we made in 2020, the exciting brand plans we have in place, and our commitment to delivering quality to consumers at every step of the value chain up to the moment of consumption.”

Baladi also noted that Beam Suntory made substantial progress reducing its environmental impacts in 2020, and will soon announce a new global sustainability strategy featuring ambitious targets focussed on making a positive difference for nature, consumers and communities.

Update on Beam Suntory Growing for Good Initiatives

Environmental Sustainability

Carbon Reduction: Through the purchase of renewable electricity and the completion of multiple energy efficiency projects (Kentucky, Mexico and Scotland), Beam Suntory reduced its total Scope 1&2 carbon emissions by 25% compared to the 2015 baseline.

Water Efficiency: The company has reduced water use per unit of production by 29% (versus 2015 baseline) by optimising existing cooling systems and investing in more efficient cooling technologies at the Jim Beam distilleries in Kentucky.

Watershed Protection: The company has established Natural Water Sanctuary programmes at Maker’s Mark and adjacent to the Jim Beam distillery. The company continues to expand watershed protection activities to global manufacturing sites in India, Mexico, Spain, the US Virgin Islands and Ireland. Future activities are planned in Scotland, France and Canada. 

Sanitizer: To support hospital systems and first responders in the fight against Covid-19, the company’s facilities in Kentucky, Japan, Spain, Scotland, Ireland, Canada and Mexico produced sanitizer sufficient to clean more than 50 million pairs of hands.

Hospitality industry: The company provided more than $3 million to support restaurant and bar workers and their families across numerous markets. Initiatives included Maker’s Mark’s partnership with the LEE Initiative Restaurant Reboot Relief Programme and Restaurant Workers Relief Programme, which donated more than 1 million meals to restaurant workers in the US, the company’s Shift-Meals To-Go programme supporting US hospitality workers and their families, and support programmes for on-trade workers in markets including Canada, the UK, Germany, Spain, Brazil and India.  

Diageo posts Interim Results

Encouraging return to growth, good cash generation and increased dividend

Diageo posted its Interim Results, half year ended on the 31st December 2020 showing encouraging results, both in India and Globally which has prompted a rationalization of their portfolio and paring of debt. The Interim Results stated that the net sales (£6.9 billion) were down by 4.5%, as the organic growth of 1% was more than offset by unfavourable exchange. The operating profit (£2.2 billion) also declined by 8.3% due to the unfavourable exchange and a decline in organic operating profit.

Some of Diageo Products

However the organic net sales were up by 1%, despite a significant impact from Travel Retail and on-trade restrictions. The net sales in North America were also up by 12.3%, offsetting declines in other regions, except for Africa which was broadly flat. The growth in North America was driven by resilient consumer demand, share growth of total beverage alcohol, positive category mix and the replenishment of stock levels by distributors and retailers.

The report also stated that the organic operating profit was down by 3.4%, driven by the channel and category mix. The productivity benefits from everyday cost efficiencies largely offset cost of goods sold inflation. The Net Cash from the operating activities was up by £0.7 billion to £2 billion, and free cash flow was also up from £0.8 billion to £1.8 billion. 

This primarily reflected a lower tax payment and working capital benefit driven by reduced creditor balances at the end of fiscal 2020, as a result of reduced sales demand and cost control measures triggered in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. The Creditor balances also recovered to more normalised levels.

The Basic eps of 67.6 pence decreased 14.6%. Pre-exceptional eps declined 12.8% to 69.9 pence, driven primarily by unfavourable exchange and lower operating profit. However the interim dividend increased 2% to 27.96 pence per share.

The improvement comes from the strong sequential performance in all regions compared to the second half of fiscal 2020. However, the manufacturer expects continued impact in the second half of fiscal 21 from on-trade restrictions and disruption to Travel Retail.

Ivan Menezes, Chief Executive, Diageo

Speaking about the results Ivan Menezes, Chief Executive, Diageo said, “We delivered a strong performance in a challenging operating environment, returning to top line organic sales growth during the half. North America, our largest market, performed particularly strongly and ahead of our expectations. Consumer demand has been resilient and the spirits category continues to gain share of total beverage alcohol. Across other regions we delivered strong sequential improvement compared to the second half of fiscal 20. This reflects improved market share performance through excellent execution in the off-trade channel, and the partial re-opening of the on-trade channel in certain markets.”

Menezes expects the ongoing volatility and disruption in the second half of the year, particularly in the on-trade channel, which will make performance more challenging. However the medium and long-term growth drivers and opportunities for the business remain intact and he is confident in the strategy, the resilience of the business and Diageo’s ability to emerge stronger. The organic operating margin improved compared to the second half of fiscal 2020 increased driven by the operating leverage and tight control of discretionary expenditure. The decline compared to the first half of fiscal 2020 reflected an adverse channel and portfolio mix. Menezes expects the margins to improve as the on-trade and Travel Retail recover and with the continued benefit of everyday efficiency. 

Diageo India Results

In India, United Spirits reported strong numbers for the third quarter of 2020-21, even though the recovery was not as strong as expected. Despite the current operational challenges, the company was able to report Quarter-On-Quarter (QOQ) volume and revenue growth of 7% and 16% respectively and bring its third quarter revenues close to that of the same period last year. Though more than 85% of trade channels like bars, pubs, and clubs are now operational, they are operating at a low capacity which has impacted the results. Due to Covid protocols and muted celebrations, small gatherings are replacing large events. On the other hand, off trade channels like home consumption are in the upswing and home delivery is also gathering pace.

Some of Diageo India Products

The third quarter Net Profit also zoomed 79% QOQ, mostly because of the reduction in debt and fall in interest rates. There was a QOQ increase in margin and once volume recovers fully, margin is expected to improve further due to stable input costs and expected price hikes. Price hikes are muted currently due to tough market environments. There was a demand impact in Bengal, where United Spirits was forced to increase prices for its popular brands due to increase in excise rates by the state government.

Despite small improvement in the Covid situation, large celebrations and full capacity in trade channels are still a few quarters away and that explains why liquor companies have not been able to participate in the recent market rally. However, analysts say that these are short to medium term challenges and the long term story on liquor consumption in India is still intact. To increase its market share during these difficult times, United Spirits is focusing on off-trade channels. Home delivery is already showing good traction in states like Bengal and Maharashtra and similar trend is expected from other key states as well.

Diageo strategic Review of Selected Popular Brands

United Spirits Ltd. (“USL”) is also initiating a strategic review of selected Popular brands, continuing the strategy towards long-term profitable growth through premiumising the company’s portfolio. USL’s Popular portfolio comprises around 30 brands and the strategic review will focus on approximately half of this portfolio by volume. This review will not include the McDowell’s or Director’s Special trademarks.

Anand Kripalu, Managing Director & CEO, United Spirits Ltd

The strategic review is expected to be completed by the end of the 2021 calendar year. Anand Kripalu, Managing Director & CEO, United Spirits Ltd commented, “This review reinforces USL’s and Diageo’s commitment to deliver sustainable long-term growth and improved profitability, through a sharpened focus on core Popular, Prestige and above brands, including international brands. 

United Spirits management is also taking steps to reduce its debt further by selling non-core assets and by improving its working capital cycle. United Spirits is a company with strong free cash flows which will contribute towards its plans to become a debt-free company by 2022-23 he added.

Celebrating 200 years of the Johnnie Walker story from Diageo Archive

Archive Manager Christine McCafferty speaks on what documents dating back to the 1820s can tell us about the Johnnie Walker story so far.

Johnnie Walker is such an iconic brand, with a truly special story, and it’s an honour to be celebrating 200 years since it all began. A big anniversary is of course a great opportunity to tell our brand story, but who needs that excuse. It’s something that I have been privileged enough to do on a daily basis since becoming the Archive Manager for Diageo 23 years ago – to everybody and anybody who will listen. And it’s a great story to tell, so who wouldn’t want to hear it. And we learn so much from understanding the origins of a brand and its journey, what makes the brand unique and what makes it tick.

Christine McCafferty

There’s so much wealth in the Johnnie Walker brand story. It all goes back to John and the grocery shop that was opened in 1820 in Kilmarnock. This is where John started selling and blending his own whiskies for his customers. This is the beginning of an amazing story of three generations of the Walker family that we have continued through to today. It’s a story of an obsession with quality, the Walker’s would never compromise on this and neither would we, and, it’s a story of the pursuit of flavour, all to give consumer’s the best scotch whisky. It’s a story of being distinctive, always wanting to stand out from the crowd, of introducing a slanted label, moving to a square bottle, and, creating one of the most famous whisky icons in the Striding Man figure. It’s a story about taking our product around the world, making it not just the number one selling scotch whisky, but the one enjoyed in every part of the globe. It’s a story about perseverance, surviving the bad times and coming back stronger again each time. And it’s a story of forward momentum, always looking forward and what comes next, with Keep Walking as the perfect mantra. I could add words like pioneering, experimental, innovative, confident, bold, brave, ambitious – all perfect to describe Johnnie Walker and those that have created it and worked on the brand. It’s unique, it has a special place in culture, in people’s lives – and everyone has a story to tell.

And my story is all about the amazing content we have in our industry leading archive and how I share this to not only to build the brand story, but to bring it to life. It is a real privilege to be able to access original documentation right back to the time of John Walker and to see what insights they can give us into the brand story and DNA. Here’s a couple of my favourite items from the archive:

Jhonnie Walker Grocery Shop Inventory list from 1825

John Walker’s grocery shop stock inventory, 1825. This inventory is the earliest record from the shop. It lists household products; wines and spirits, including whisky of course; and exotic products such as tea from China and pepper from Jamaica. It’s fascinating to see what John was selling in those initial times and the impact they no doubt had on how he felt about flavour as he started his blending journey.

John Walker & Sons annual balance book, 1857-1886 – John’s son Alexander took over the business in 1857, evolving it from a small, local shop to a thriving commercial enterprise. This stock book documents the widening range of products, including many more whiskies and different types of tea, dried fruits, and spices. These aromas and flavours inspired Alexander to create the company’s first commercial blend, `Old Highland Whisky’ and it’s a time I would love to travel to. Imagine wandering around the aisles of the shop, soaking up the atmosphere.

A pic from the `John Walker & Sons’ book by Alfred Barnard, 1893 and their Sampling Room. This book is only one of the two such copies known to exist today

`John Walker & Sons’ book by Alfred Barnard, 1893 – In 1879 John Walker & Sons opened what were considered the most advanced warehouses in Scotland. When renowned whisky writer Alfred Barnard visited the imposing new premises on Kilmarnock’s Strand Street, he noted the Walkers’ focus on innovation and craftsmanship throughout their whisky-making, bottling, and distribution processes. A true snapshot of the business at that time, this book is one of only two copies known to exist today, and gives us a truly special window into the remarkable business being ran by that time.

The Jhonnie Walker Still Going Strong image

John Walker & Sons `Around the World’ book, 1920s – By 1920 Johnnie Walker was being sold in over 120 markets. To celebrate 100 years of the business and the global reach of their brands, John Walker & Sons produced their Around the World book, which essentially is an early travelogue. The book features all the markets in which Johnnie Walker was being sold and was a thank you to their agents around the world for their contribution to the success of the business. I love how important relationships were to the Walker’s as they established their global business, just as it is for us today.

I could, of course, go on and pick examples of beautiful historical packaging, ground-breaking advertising, photographs from all around the world, and all these items have a role to play in piecing the brand story together. The items themselves are fascinating, and I love seeing how people react to seeing the original documentation that takes us back in time. But the insights that these items give us are equally as important. I like to think of myself as a bit of a detective or journalist, pulling snippets of information and materials together from various sources, to create a really rich and vibrant story relevant for any audience. There’s certainly no shortage of materials and stories.

And we continue to add to these collections by collating materials created for the brand today so we can continue to tell the brand story as it evolves for future generations. Just as we look back with pride on the legacy we have inherited from our founders and all those who have worked on the brand, we too will leave our stories in the history books for those that come next to be inspired by. It’s fascinating to think what a brand like Johnnie Walker has lived through, 200 years of world events, and, it’s exciting to think about where our journey we take us in the next 2, 20 and 200 years. I can’t wait to see, bring it on!

UP Govt approves New Excise Policy

The Yogi Adityanath-led government has approved its new excise policy which is set to reduce the excise duty on the alcobev products in the state. The new policy includes number of updates that reduce excise duty in certain categories including a slew of measures as part of its new excise policy.  

The most notable change is the reduction in duty to 200% on beer from the erstwhile 280%. The shelf life of the product has also been extended to nine months. The government has also done away with the rule of needing collector’s permissions for opening liquor shops within five kms of neighbouring border/district. 

One of the other key notable change in the policy is also to move to complete digitisation of the department in the 2021-22 year, a move that is welcomed by many manufacturers. Needless to say that the since the lockdown most states have adopted digitisation, which has been working well for them. Efforts would be made to computerise all the processes and procedures of the excise department under the Integrated Excise Supply Chain Management System (IESCMS).

The new policy will also allow sale of IMFL and imported liquor in the  scotch category, with a maximum retail price of ₹ 2,000 or more, to be permissible in mono-cartons. The government is also looking at encouraging more manufacturers to invest in production of wine within the State.

Special incentives for Wines has also been added into the policy

As an incentive the wines that are made out of locally produced fruits shall be exempted from excise duty for a period of five years. However there is no clarity on how much percentage of local fruits needs to be used yet, something that will become clear in time. The local wine merchants will also be allowed to retail wine with wine taverns also allowed on its premises.

It is also now mandatory to obtain a license to keep liquor more than the prescribed limit at home now. In a statement released by the government they said, “to provide good quality liquor at economic prices, UP Made Liquor (in Tetra-pack and of 42.8% strength only) made from Grain ENA, shall be sold at an MRP of ₹ 85 through country liquor shops”. 

It is now mandatory to have a PoS Machine at retail stores

It is also now mandatory for the retail shops to install card machines for selling the liquor. Also a select premium retail vendors will also be permitted at airports. Wine-tasting facilities and sale of drinking accessories shall be allowed at premium retail vends.

Ambrosia Awards 2017 – Packaging Jury Round

With the 11th edition of the Ambrosia Awards Packaging category getting more and more competitive, a star-studded jury went through close to 150 products to choose the 9 winners of the Packaging Category of the Ambrosia Awards 2017. See what they had to say about the winners and why they chose them?