Tag Archives: India

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.

LOFT by the CLOCK TOWER

Loft by the Clock Tower at 32nd Milestone Gurgaon opened its doors to the public in February, this year .It is for all those who love their beers with a side of exclusivity. With a wide range of global brews on tap and a carefully curated progressive menu set in eye-catching architecture, Loft aims to bring the Manhattan pub experience to life. Best described as a progressive microbrewery with a unique take on world beers, Loft is looking to redefine the region’s nightlife landscape.

The ambiance is heavily influenced by old fashioned meat-packing warehouses in Manhattan and New York, and with 5 sections spread over 12,000 square feet and 3 floors, the 300-cover drinkery is certain to cater to every need and whimsy of the demanding Gurgaon patrons The ambiance, will transport guests to the yesteryear bars of New York. From the vibrant Mad Hatter dance floor for those who love to party to the reflective Green terrace for corporate wine and dines, each corner has a one-of-a-kind theme to offer to create the perfect mood for any occasion with friends or colleagues The huge performing area with over 10 monthly gigs and some of the most prominent Delhi performers scheduled is also sure to attract the city’s music lovers. Most restaurants specialize either on food on their drinks, but the people behind Loft are clear that they want the best of both. “The food we serve is global cuisine with an Indian touch, which has been curated by Chefs Nishant Choubey and Tarun Sibal to bring this to life. The drinks and cocktails have been curated with support from Arijit Bose’s Bar Back Collective and the HT Hospitality,”said the Manager Operations.

“The food menu at Loft is an amalgamation of native and international flavours. At Loft, we have re-imagined classic dishes and made them our own along with celebrating an array of unusual combinations of flavours, textures and cooking technique,” he added. The menu at Loft by The Clock Tower is a multi-cuisine fiesta, with influences from across the globe craftily combined with Indian flavours and sensibilities to pander to the cosmopolitan palettes of 2019 Gurgaon. Guests may choose from a variety of sumptuous food offerings to pair their drink with – Malabar Quesadilla, Three Pepper Tofu, Wasabi Mushrooms, and Peanut Butter Paneer Tikkas among others. For the meat lovers, there are delicacies like  Kadahi Lamb Burgers, Banger and Mash Crostinis and Triple Cooked Pork.which provides a novel experience to anyone who walks in. Nitin Bhusan Prasad their operation head says, “Our beers are true to style and reflect a very Scottish, Irish, Hungarian and South-West Russia influenced beer portfolio. All the beers brewed at Loft are also true to style but with a slightly modern twist to it, for example, we brew a classical Belgian wheat beer, which has been infused with rose petals.” Loft’s bar menu is a delight for any beer lover. Rose Wheat American Lager, Oak chips infused Vienna Lager, Custom Blend Kaapi Stout and 5 spiced Saison make for a heady mixture of traditional brews with a twist and will keep the experiment-savvy public engaged.

Loft by the Clock Tower is the only microbrewery in 32nd Milestone, which has around 30 food establishments, which is one of its USPs.They have some fabulous live bands like Traffic Jam, to keep the evenings alive in a big way. And the DJs playing at Loft will certainly make the entire setup quite conducive for a fun evening out with friends and family. With so many corporates now located in and around the area, Loft gives people a place to party after work and relax with good food, drinks and music. A few years ago, the place would have seemed really far, one of the reasons why hotels and joints at this location didn’t do quite well. However, with the NCR expanding in a big way, 32nd Milestone has become a destination again due to great connectivity on the NH 8 and people willing to get into their dancing shoes after a hectic day of work.

The plans for expansions are huge and when asked, they said they are targetting to open two more 200 cover+ outlets by 2020.
– Lopamudra Ganguly

Churchgate just got Foo-ed!!

As legacy remains a witness, we realise that the famous Kamling has lived to be the most iconic Chinese restaurants throughout the ages. Inheriting their forefathers’ culinary versatility, Ryan and Keenan Tham, once again return, not only to ‘restore’ Kamling’s grandeur, but instead ‘evolve and expand’ its wings towards Asian Tapas dining by launching their newest property Foo Town.

Sited amongst the whirl of Churchgate, Foo Town is established where Kamling used to be – like an offspring born out of the mother’s womb. Since the Tham family has been revered for their warm hospitality experience, Mumbai’s first new age Asian Tapas restaurant also embraces this heirloom with a splendid 80-90 seating expanse. With outside seating as well, the restaurant welcomes its guests with a light caress of the green foliage that spreads above, outside as well as inside – a view seldom found.

There is awe in the air as we perceive that Foo Town is an extension of Foo Phoenix, yet diverging from it with 20 new dishes, including the Kamling Classics. Heritage remains intact as Foo Town serves the scrumptious Kamling Hakka Chicken and the delicieux whole Pomfret, along with the rich Kamling Peking Fish.

The ‘Tapas Touch’ of the restaurant is well inaugurated with the Foo Asian Burrata, a modern asian salad containing burrata and quinoa, crowned with romaine lettuce with a dash of avocado smears. The Po-Po gives us the Belgium pork with Pomelo, crafted with kafir and lemongrass, topped with peanuts and cherry tomatoes. Boasting an All- Day dining menu, Foo Town promises a prominent taste, with the splendour of its Small Plates like the lavish Japanese Vegetable Tempura with a Wasabi Mayo Dip or the Crispy Snapper glazed with a Black Bean Sauce.

Introducing the Vegan Sushi dish, The ‘Foo Vegan’ Maki provides flavours of black rice, with a dash of avocado and Thai chillies, garnished with yam beans, guacamole and miso paste. The nourishing and wholesome Steamed Foo Baskets guides one through the gourmet realms of great health and nutrition, stretching from the Edamame and Pod; the Prawns topped with Pixian sauce and the lightly cooked Super Foo Salad. The Foo Sticky Rice with Lotus leaf contains a variation for the non-vegetarians with a dash of chicken, while the Sweet Potato sided with black bean sauce gives out a creamy escapade.

The newly added Broccoli dumpling bursts into flavours, as the Spicy Tofu dumplings tingle taste buds. Also, first time in Mumbai, the audience will be amused to find the splendid Chocolate and Marshmallow Sushi Roll, on the dessert menu, right next to The Yuzu Orange Cream Caramel promises to create fascination just as the rest of the menu does.

Foo Town serves us with an indulgence of brilliant cocktails by inhouse mixologist Dimitri Lezinska, with the menu quartered into four intuitive portions. The Foo Tails hails the menu with the Absolut blended Foo King and Foo Queen, followed by Miso Sour and the discerning Gateway Pavillion. As Gin remains the vogue of the era, the menu then presents the Gin Tails – a luscious collection of Gin blends like the Spanish G&T and Foo By The Bay. The sparkle and shimmer of the drink is well displayed by the High Tails collection, where the tall glasses clink to smooth down the Marine Drive Mule and the Fountain Road Cooler. And the menu’s hindmost category remains the Wine Tails – a sombre assemblage of Sangrias from around the globe.

The Tham Family, yet again with Foo Town, presents to us a plethora of the greatest Fine Dining Asian culinary experience along with an inherited aura of warmth and hospitality to perch not only onto our food palates, but also our hearts.

Thirsty City 127 opens bar in the city from the prohibition era

REMO offers a drinking experience of bygone prohibition era.


Prohibition era is just a memory but the thrill of the forbidden fruit still has its very own magic. Bringing back an era of subterfuge and smokescreens is a speakeasy Remo, an overground bar named and modelled on the original, where Remo returns with his magical potions of flavours, herbs, botanicals and alcohol. Mixes and con-coctions he had gathered in his wide spread travels across the world.

Its not going to be easy to find Remo. You’ll need friends in “high places” because entry is by invitation only. Secret knocks and frequently changed passwords will keep in regulars and block out all CI’s eyes and snitchers.

It was the gravest of times right in the middle of the darkest era in t he city’s history. Prohibition was in full force in Bombay Presidency, and it’s capital, the feisty big little port city of Bombay bore the brunt of this the worst. Unable to control the menace with just the corrupt police forces, who were generally sympathetic to the cause of the tipplers, the administration engaged private militias of moral police who cracked down on the remaining revellers with puritanical fury.

A pall of gloom had descended upon this beautiful town by the ‘Bay’. But as we know, the night is always darkest before the dawn. And it is at this point of the story, we present our protagonist, the swashbuckling hero, who saves the day.

Remo grew up in Cuncolim in Portuguese Goa, the independent territory to the south of Bombay Presidency, where the days were easy, the living was good and the evenings were merry. Still, Remo dreamed of a more glamorous life and he set out to make his fortune and see the world. He left Cuncolim, to work on board a cargo ship, and he travelled all over the world, especially the Orient. There he discovered the dark arts of combining flavours and liquors and making exotic, magical potions that lit up the night.

Remo’s adventures eventually brought him to Bombay, and he was booked by the beguiling charms of the deacadent denizens of the city. He got a job as a supervisor in the loading depot of a cloth mill. Remo led a dual life. In the day he toiled hard at the mill. But at night he cleaned up well and became a part of the social set that mattered.

And then Prohibition was declared! The night that previously never ended, now just never happened. The days wore on, and misery reeked from the very pores of this classically beautiful Art Deco city.

No, this isn’t your regular, cookie cutter fairytale. Our hero wasn’t blonde, and he didn’t ride a white horse. Our hero’s handsome face was a burnished brown and he rode into town on a large coastal barge! Remo had thought through it all – the barge had ostensibly taken exports of bolts of cloth to Goa, but it was the secret cargo under the hold on its return that was the cunning plan. Bottles upon bottles of desperately needed alcohol, and also, herbs, fruits, botanicals – all kinds of exciting ingredients.

There is the open storage yard, on the roof of the mill, Remo set it up under the stars – hidden, yet quite in the plain sight – the most daring speakeasy bar. He dug deep into the reservoirs of his memories and recreated all the magical potions he had encountered on the travels. Remo’s was truly a go-send for the Thirsty of the City, and they left their sea-side mansions, and travelled deep into its innards, to an neighbourhood they never had been to, and sat under the stars, and restarted the night.

SCAM: Be Honest. Drink it. Don’t do it.

Launched in Chandigarh, the promoters of SCAM Beer are confident of its success.

Trying to create its own path, SCAM would like to create an unique beer brand and would like to achieve its ultimate goal of spreading excitement and positivity around the brand. In an industry dominated by major multinationals brands, SCAM seeks to create a niche for itself.

The vision of this refreshingly modern brand is backed up by the team behind it. Sugliq Global Pvt. Ltd. is promoted by Chairman Sanjay Lamba with other three Directors Paramjit Singh, Amardeep Singh and Baljinder Kashyap, who are trailblazers in their fields and form the backbone of SCAM, bringing forward a breathtaking new experience through it.

The promoters also shared some interesting figures related to beer consumption in North Indian states. While Punjab has 40 lac cases consumption per annum, Haryana consumes 100 lac cases every year. Chandigarh with 12 lac cases per annum is growing . Delhi has a consumption of 150 Lac Cases every year and HP 12 lac cases per annum. These states are growing at around 15% per annum.

We spoke to the management in detail. Excerpts of the interview.

What is the rationale behind the launch of SCAM?

Sanjay Lamba: Through the creation and launch of SCAM we are bringing something to the market which hasn’t been done before. We wanted to break the generic and monotonous ideas. And by thinking outside the box, the concept behind SCAM was born. The product is refreshing modern and unique in its content, in terms of taste and design. It holds so much character and depth which caters to the consumer who wants something more than a run-of-the-mill. SCAM does just that and raises the bar with its brilliant concept, proving the consumer with a stellar product.

How do you plan to leverage the positives behind the name, the all caps and the can design?

Sanjay Lamba: Every single design motif was carefully curated for SCAM. Every element represents and voices something about what the brand stands for and what it brings to the table. The name, SCAM in itself is multilayered. We wanted to reappropriate the term and make it unique to ourselves and redefine what it stands for. We extracted the rebellious and curious elements from it and showcased it through SCAM. It’s is now symbolic for rebellious side that exists in all of us along with honesty, creating the perfect balance and harmony.

The designs on the can echo that sentiment and ideology. It features the logo written in graffiti spray-painted font, an act of rebellion. The raising of the hands are symbolic of the youth generation uniting together for a single cause, their strength in numbers and unique personalities. Above all, by having SCAM in all caps, we want this message to reach the masses loud and clear for all to hear.

Do you own your brewery? What is your production capacity? Do you plan to have bottle packaging in 650ml and 330ml size?

Amardeep Singh: We have outsourced the production capacity and availability of capacity shall not be an issue. We shall be launching bottles in the sizes of 330ml and 650ml very soon. What is your pricing strategy for SCAM beer? Paramjit Singh: We are pricing SCAM in the premium segment. Our priority shall be to build consumer franchise through aspirational marketing and build volume on a strong foundation.

Which states do you plan to launch SCAM and is there a timeframe for an All India launch?

Baljinder Kashya: We have already launched in the states of Punjab and Haryana and shall be launching in Chandigarh, UP and Delhi very soon. Our plans are to have a national presence in 2 years time.

What is your impressions of the Indian beer market and what kind of market share are you targetting?

Paramjit Singh: The states, we are targetting in the beginning, are short of supplies and always demand driven. There is always a consumer for quality product. Our first priority is to connect with our target audience and bridge the gap between demand and supply. Market share is just a number. We believe in chasing value and not volume alone.

What is your target audience? Have you plans to broad base your target audience?

Sanjay Lamba : Our target audience are the ones who don’t believe in doing scam but drinking it. They are the ones who don’t want to follow the status quo and aren’t afraid of make their own paths and journeys. They are the trendsetters and influencers, wanting to make a positive impact on the world around them. They radiate exuberance everywhere they go, which makes SCAM, curious and bubbly the perfect companion.

Amara Breweries – Broadening its horizons

In what is seen as a a partnership that formed Amara Breweries, the newly registered company is making an impact in the growing Indian Alcobev Industry.

  When two come together with one vision and one purpose, the results are often surprising to the world. Amara Breweries is a result of one such partnership between Mr. Arvind Singla of the Singla Group and Mr. Hirdesh Chopra, one of the respected and experienced professionals from the liquor industry. The latest entrant into the Indian liquor industry, Amara was incorporated in June 2019 as the newest member of the Singla Group. Based out of Chandigarh, Amara is quickly making its presence felt in the Indian liquor industry.

The Singla Group was amongst the earliest pioneers in the Indian alcohol industry. From humble beginnings in pre-independence India, the Group today boasts of a rich legacy and heritage that only a handful of business houses can claim. With an operational history dating back over 70 years, the Group has not just kept pace with the changing times, but has moved smartly .

Today, the Singla Group comprises of three IMFL bottling units, 15 wholesale and over 800 retail vends across Punjab and Chandigarh. At the helm of the business is Mr. Arvind Singla, the Group’s leading light and current Managing Director says the Singla Group’s total turnover is to the tune of approx. `1500 crores and apart from liquor, the Group’s varied business interests include hospitality, mining and C&F for multinational B.I.O.

Mr. Arvind Singla has ambitious plans for the Singla Group. He actively runs his decades old family business with a keen eye on future growth. A man of few words, he says the secret to his success is to work hard and an open mind to the changing business environment, markets, and consumers that help him take the best decisions for his company. Mr Singla admits his strength lies in prudent financial planning, treasury management, compliance and internal controls.

“We have seen the business evolve and change over the years. As it has changed, we have adapted with it. We rapidly implement reforms inside and outside the Group. We are cognizant that ultimately, the customer is the king. Our policies as a company have always evolved to work for the highest benefit of our consumers. And we have done this with our heads held high and an unwavering commitment to grow and expand the business,” says Singla

A quick look at Mr. Hirdesh Chopra’s credentials reveal an impressive professional background. For more than 30 years, he has held prestigious leadership positions at India’s top IMFL companies. Amara Breweries is well on its way to realise the lofty ambitions it has set for itself.

“Amara Breweries is the newest entrant in the Indian liquor industry. But the standards we have set for ourselves are at par or even better than leading international brands. In all areas of our operations, we will lead with industry’s best practises, be it in manufacturing, sourcing, product consistency and quality, packaging, distribution or marketing, Amara Breweries aims to be the best amongst the best,” says Mr. Hirdesh Chopra, Director, Amara Breweries.

Rise of the next generation

The stalwarts may hold the reins to the fortunes of Amara Breweries, but the next generation is not far behind. Mr. Hirdesh Chopra firmly believes in grooming and nurturing the next generation of entrepreneurs to take their vision forward. One of the young stars in Amara’s management is Mr. Ish Chopra, an architect by training, and in the liquor business by passion. Despite being new to the industry, Ish says he has gained insights into the liquor business, from his father Mr. Hirdesh Chopra’s long experience in the liquor industry.

“I think the trend to create and market beers in niche variants has been well accepted in india. However, one should not ignore the opportunity to produce and promote a balanced, well-carbonated, high quality and interestingly packaged beer for the mass markets.” Ish Chopra, Head, Business Development, Amara Breweries.

Ish adds that the gradual shift towards modest drinking amongst all age groups and a social, healthier lifestyle will prove a boost to the beer industry. The industry is currently growing at a healthy double digit rate in India. Ish has set ambitious goals for the future of his products. He believes that even though these goals seem lofty, they are very much achievable with the right strategy, planning, and flawless execution of that strategy.

This is amongst the biggest state-of-the-art bottling plants in India today with a current capacity of eight lakh cases per month of bottled and canned beer, with an extended capacity of 12 Lakh cases per month. Set up with the latest brewing, processing and bottling machinery from Germany and Italy.

Ginsberg – The Premium Strong Beer

The brand is currently being brewed and shipped out from Amara’s first brewery. Going by the name of Ginsberg, this strong yet smooth beer is produced using 100% Argentinian 2 Row Malts and the finest imported hops and yeasts from Europe. Amara claims that Ginsberg is the smoothest beer in the strong beer category in its price range.

Not just in production, Ginsberg will be aggressively marketed as well. The brand is drawing up plans to establish an imposing presence in the pubs and bars segment with kegs and draught beer product extensions. Currently available in Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh and U.P., Ginsberg will be available all over north India within the next 6 months have a pan India presence within 1 year. After establishing a national presence, Ginsberg plans to export to international markets as well. The company says that talks are already underway in key markets like the US, Europe and Australia.

Closer at home, Ginsberg will soon announce a known face from Bollywood as a Brand Ambassador to help its marketing efforts. The brand is already active on Social Media and will be rolling out a pan India marketing initiative in the very near future.

 

In an interview Mr. Arvind Singla, provides deep insights about the company’s game plan.

What was the rationale behind the company’s brewery project? What is the overall project cost?

Beer is one of the largest consumer categories in India around $7 billion in market size. It is also one of the fastest growing consumer categories, growing at double digit CAGR for the last 10 years.

People are shifting to modest drinking and beer being one of the most recession resilient industries in the market, with market growing at a pace of 10-12% each year in India.

Considering the large consumer base and the modest consumption of 5 litre per capita compared to regional average of 20.9 litre and 110 litres in developed countries, we look at the huge scope in the growth of beer across India with a big chunk of young population with high disposable income. Considering this, we are confident, so we have planned to set up a world class brewery.

Mr. Arvind Singla and Mr. Hirdesh Chopra



What are the important features of your greenfield project brewery?

Strategic location- within the heart of Punjab: 25 kms from Haryana; 45 kms Chandigarh; 200 kms from Delhi/UP and Rajasthan, 150 km from Uttrakhand and 75kms from Himachal Pradesh. This will make logistics cost very economical.

As the brewing industry is a heavy water consumption industry and the country is facing the ground water shortages across the nation, we are the only company using canal water, which is supposed to be the purest form of water source for any type of liquor with permission from the Punjab government. The water is coming from uphills, having a lot of minerals and the canal is full of water across the year.

What is the capacity of the brewery and what are the expansion plans for the future? Will excess capacity be offered for contract manufacturing?

Current capacity is 0.8 million cases per annum. Expansion is possible upto 1.3 million cases per annum as per existing design plan. Yes, we already are in talks with multi nationals for tie ups for current capacity and future capacity

Which states do you plan to initially distribute your brands? When do you plan to go pan India?

We have opened markets for Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh, Uttar Pradesh and we plan to open markets for Delhi and Rajasthan soon. We aim to go Pan India in the financial year 2020-21.

What are the major features that will make your product stand out in the crowded market place?

In times of craft beers and light beers buzzing the market and being promoted tremendously well, somewhere the original identity of a rich in taste and a smooth STRONG BEER was lost.

Through our brands Ginsberg and Hophead, we plan to revolutionise the industry with a strong beer which is as smooth possible.The product is also reasonably priced.

Strong beer still has the biggest share in the country as compared to its other variants.

Ish Chopra



What are your immediate targets for your beer brands and what marketing initiatives have you lined-up to meet your targets?

Immediate targets are to make our brand establish itself in the market and prove the industry that we are here to last long.

This is only possible by using best quality raw material to ensure smoothness in a strong variant that our consumers will like. We are importing two row barley from Argentina.

We have hired one of the best and biggest marketing agency for our promotions and branding and that will be visible both online and offline in the next one month in all states where we are operational.

Do you plan to have a strong beer, canned beer and any plans for craft beers?

We are already producing strong beer in two variants Ginsberg and Hophead which are creating a boom in the market.

We also plan to introduce a lighter craft beer segment in late October. We have huge plans for the latter product which I hope to share when it is really close to launch.

What major challenges do you foresee in the beer industry?

We are new in the brewery business, but not new in the alcobev industry. Our philosophy and understanding of the market is that the consumer should get the right product at the right price. Our belief is that the consumer deserves the best of every penny he/she spends for the product.

Also considering the market trend, if we talk state wise, there is a shortfall in supply of beer in the season time and hence we believe with our future expansion prospects, not only in the state of Punjab, but across the nation and overseas, we would overcome this challenge in the years to come.

Beer being a volume game, will you plan for a brewery elsewhere in India?

Yes, as we plan to open markets down South, West and East, where we would be going both for our own plants and bottling arrangements in the respective states.

The Impact of E-commerce on Alcohol Trading

IWSR research indicates that 1.8% of the value of all global beverage alcohol is now Sold through E-commerce

Like others, the drinks industry has recognized what a critical medium the digital environment is to interact with consumers, inform them, learn from them and ultimately to sell to them. Regulation has made the online retailing of alcohol more complicated than other sectors and this has stifled development, but this is changing.

IWSR Drinks Market Analysis’ global database now captures just how effective drinks players have been at selling digitally. Although variances inevitably exist between markets, the results for 2018 show that 1.8% of the value of all alcoholic drinks traded around the globe is now sold through e-commerce.

It is wine that has best harnessed the selling power of the online retail environment. Last year as much as 3.6% of all wine value sales stemmed from e-commerce outlets, a figure that translates into nearly US$8bn of sales.

The rapid expansion of wine sales online has even threatened the viability of independent “bricks and mortar” wine stores in the UK. Online wine sales in the country have reached 6.5% of total sales value, prompting one leading wine retailer, Majestic, to announce that they are to sell off much of their retail estate to concentrate on their online business, Naked Wines.

The extensive number of wine producers and the diversity of choice has meant that a culture of experimentation has always existed within the wine sector. The online environment has proved to be well placed to service wine drinkers’ curiosity and to educate and inform consumption choices. The dramatic expansion of online wine marketplaces like Vivino, which after just nine years of trading now claims to have 10 million different wines and as many as 35 million users, has illustrated just how compatible wine selling is within the digital space. Sales of spirits through e-commerce may not be as pronounced as wine, but IWSR research shows that around US$6.5b of spirits were sold online in 2018, a figure that represents 2% of all global spirits’ value sales. For example, ecommerce is reported to now be Pernod Ricard’s fastest growing channel.

Direct selling on owned online platforms has proved less effective for spirits operators than partnerships or acquisitions with established online retailers and delivery services, perhaps because it compromised choice to exclusively sell their own brands. The recent trend has been for operators to partner with existing online platforms to maximise exposure and to showcase their brands from a different angle to consumers.

The development of the online marketplace is happening at different speeds with drinkers in some markets quicker to adopt new purchasing practices and habits than others. The reported 800m Chinese internet users have been quick to embrace the advent of e-commerce. The explosion in smart phone use, social media apps and mobile e-commerce has facilitated this shift in buying habits and meant that 6.5% of off-premise sales of all alcoholic drinks are now ordered online in China.

The e-commerce channel has proved particularly popular for wine sales in China. Encouraged by fierce competition, which has ensured low prices and fast delivery, online sales now account for 9% of sales value – that is a fifth of all off-premise wine sales, as well as online spirits sales of almost 4%.

Even in markets like China where e-commerce penetration is already comparatively high, it can be assumed that the e-commerce channel will continue to take share from “bricks and mortar” retail. The development of the channel will be fuelled by convenience, competitive pricing, a quickening speed of delivery and by rising digital competence.

The shift to digital platforms will change the alcoholic drinks landscape forever, providing a marketplace for a plethora of brands and concepts that are no longer reliant on winning shelf space from a few major retail chains.

The future alcoholic beverage market will be a more diverse and interesting place as a result.

Spirits Producers & Producer Organisations formally unite as the World Spirits Alliance

Global spirits producers unite to get a global voice.



Spirits producers and producer organisations from across the world joined forces recently in Geneva for the formal creation of the World Spirits Alliance (WSA), an international trade association dedicated to representing the views and interests of the spirits sector at the international level. Following many years of successful cooperation, members decided to set up a dedicated, formal organisation to act as the common global voice for the distilled spirits sector.

WSA will act as a representative partner and interlocutor before international organisations, such as the World Trade Organisation (WTO), the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the United Nations (UN). WSA and its members will continue to pursue the elimination of tariff, non-tariff barriers, and discriminatory taxes, fair, transparent and evidence-based regulation, adequate excise tax structures, proportionate evidence-based public health measures for distilled spirits and ambitious strategies to combat illicit alcohol.

“Many of us have been working together for nearly two decades, hence setting up a formal trade association to act as a united global voice on the integrity and social responsibility of our spirits industry is a natural and important step forward. Distilled spirits are a vibrant and highly dynamic sector with a unique diversity of products and producers across the world,” said Marie Audren who will act as Secretary General for the WSA.


       

“The aims of the WSA are to create a common platform for exchange and have a representative body that will allow us to comment on issues of global relevance, particularly in the areas of trade and regulatory policy, and help develop a positive environment for the sustainable success of the sector,” said Rodolfo González González (Camara Nacional de la Industria Tequilera) who was elected as first President of the WSA.


         

WSA members represent producers of products such as Baiju from China, Tequila from Mexico, Brazilian Cachaça, Indian IMFL, Cognac and internationally traded whiskies like Scotch Whisky, Irish Whiskey and American Bourbon (to name but a few).

“Distilled spirits are celebrated and responsibly enjoyed around the globe and generate jobs, economic growth and tax revenue in the countries where they are produced. At the same time, in many markets around the world, distilled spirits are heavily taxed and regulated, and we face trade barriers that are only applicable, or applied more excessively, to distilled spirits. This situation needs to be reviewed and addressed,” said Amrit Kiran Singh (International Spirits & Wines Association of India) who was elected Vice President.



       

“We want to demonstrate to national authorities that we are committed to responsibility and that advancing fair treatment of spirits products in the marketplace will have a positive impact on their economies,” concluded Chris Swonger, President and CEO of the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States (DISCUS).

WSA and its individual members are committed to responsible production, advertising and marketing practices and to encouraging adults who choose to consume spirits, to do so responsibly and in moderation.

The WSA membership includes trade associations and producers of distilled spirits from across the world:

• spiritsEUROPE
• Asia Pacific International Wines & Spirits Alliance Limited
• Camara Nacional de la Industria Tequilera
• The Scotch Whisky Association
• Association of Canadian Distillers
• Pernod Ricard
• DIAGEO
• International Spirits & Wines Association of India
• Japanese Spirits Liquor Makers Association
• Brown-Forman
• Distilled Spirits Council of United States
• Spirits New Zealand
• Rémy Cointreau
• Beam Suntory
• Spirits & Cocktail Australia
• Campari
• Edrington

Sterren Beer bags coveted award in Malaysia

Sterren Beer with its authentic German recipe produced in India under the guidelines of German Standards has been selected as the Prestigious Rising Brands of Asia 2019-20.

Incorporated in 2012, by the Chairman and Managing director, Mr. Vasudevan S, who established Sterren under the entity KALS Breweries.

Triumph of Celebration:

The KALS Group of Companies has varied interest spanning liquor retailing, motor fuel and lube, transport and logistics as well as FMCG distribution. With a grand vision to be successful in building a professional team with focused endeavors in the vertical and horizontal expansion of the Group, KALS Distilleries, KALS Beverages and KALS Breweries were formed by the visionary. Their products have already made their imprint in the states of Tamil Nadu, Kerala, AP, Andaman, Karnataka, Chhattisgarh, UP, and Puducherry and with global presence in UAE, Singapore, Malaysia, and Central Africa. Mr. Vasudevan’s visionary thought of Going Global has enabled the Product Life-Cycle Excellence of this product.

L to R: Dr. Uppilliapan Gopalan, COO, Mr. Arulmani Sekaran – Director and Mr. Rajasekaran S – Director of KALS Group, Dr. A.T. Kumara Raja – Chief Economic Advisor to Malaysian Government, Mr. Amit Sengupta – Indian Economist – Cabinet of Parliament to Modi and Chief Editor of Deccan Herald

Brand Quotient

With the headquarters in Chennai, under the stewardship of Mr. Vasudevan S, the brand Sterren celebrates more than 20% market share in this segment in TN and KALS employs more than 3000 employees. Sterren is an entry into ultra-premium with proud variants that fits the choice of all.

Sterren 6 – Premium Quality Beer (Wheat-base Beer)

Sterren 7 – Premium Quality Strong Beer (Lager Beer)

Sterren 8 – Premium Quality Extra Strong Beer (Extra Strong Beer)

Sterren- Authentic Sporty German Word-a Royal Blend of Excellence with Contemporised Brew which are available in three variants of ABV 6%, 7% and 8%. Its quality is simply stellar with an orange citrusy note and available in 650ml, 500 ml and 330 ml beverage grade cans.

Sterren 8 – Premium Strong Beer is enroute to ultra-premiumisation. Sterren -8 indeed is a mix that is consciously branded as a blend of contemporary touch with traditional pitch. Flavour and imported hops makes it a perfect top-notch that rollickingly touches the sentiments of millennials and youths. Sterren is manufactured under the aegis of an agreement through a Technology Transfer Programme from VLB (Berlin) with GMPs complying with the standards of Food Safety Management Systems (ISO 22001:2015), Environmental Management Systems (ISO 14001:2015), & QMS, & BRC AA Standards of International Food Safety Norms

Trailblazing

Practicing brand values like trust, respect, passion and commitment, they strive to create an organisation that delights customers and associates creating a higher recall in every market present. Using their unique German technology and German Recipe they have earned a turnover of 590 million USD. Their recipe is certified under the German Standards. In order to be part of the growing consumption of the beer business and also to be a full-spectrum alcoholic beverage company they strive to deliver integrity, quality and consistency with Sustainable Brand Augmentation for customer loyalty. Their brewery plant is a fully-automatic plant best-in-class in the country with end-to-end manufacturing. It is one of the few brewery plants in the country with Can Beer Line, which services the export market.

Cutting Edge

The German quality of Sterren Beer embarks the taste, flavour and texture on the taste-buds of the consumers. They have invested in research and surveys as they strongly believe in feedback resulting satisfaction and an opportunity of loyalty. The brand interacts and engages with their customers through influential marketing, participation in Oktober fest in Chennai (India), Beer fests and organising Sterren Nights. Their impeccable quality and product packaging also contribute to the high customer acceptance.

Budget sets a clear action plan for making India $5 trillion economy

 

India is cruising towards becoming a $5 trillion economy. Indian alcobev industry stalwarts add credence to FICCI’s take on the budget.



Commenting on the Union Budget 2019-20 recently presented by the Finance Minister Ms Nirmala Sitharaman, Mr Sandip Somany, President, FICCI said, “Directionally the budget is good, and it takes forward the plan that was laid out by the government during the Interim budget. There are several positives in the budget, and it provides a set of benefits for most segments of the society. We see a clear action plan for realising the vision of making India a US$ 5 trillion economy over the next few years with a focus on ease of living.”


Anand Kripalu



“A balanced budget that draws from a long-term vision for the country! Through policy reforms to rejuvenate investment, ‘Make in India’ and Ease of Doing Business, as well as measures to tackle the country’s water shortage and climate change, the budget lives up to the government’s vison of a New India that aims at inclusive growth. The acknowledgement of India Inc’s role as the nation’s job and wealth creators is heartening. Operating with the high standards of compliance, in a sector that is in urgent need of regulatory reform, we are delighted at the Government’s vision of ‘Minimum Government Maximum Governance’, which we hope the Centre will encourage States to adopt towards the alcoholic beverages sector,” points out Anand Kripalu, Managing Director and CEO, Diageo India.

The budget maintained its focus on infrastructure development. While the government would continue with its existing major national programmes like Bharatmala, Sagarmala, Rural roads, Udan and Inland waterways scheme, the vision of taking connectivity to the next level through ‘One Nation One Grid’ for electricity and a similar plan for gas grids, water grids, i-ways and regional airports is indeed ambitious and would be transformational in its impact. “FICCI has been advocating the need for such networks and would work with the government on realising this vision. We are also encouraged by the Minister’s focus on promoting public-private partnership for modernisation and upgradation of the nation’s railway infrastructure,” added Mr Somany.

The MSME sector also got its due focus in the budget. Availability of finance and delay in payments are the two key issues faced by MSMEs. The government has attempted to address these through allocation of `350 crore for interest subvention scheme for GST registered MSMEs and creation of a payments platform to enable filing of bills and payment thereof on the platform itself. Also noteworthy is the suggestion to set up a social stock exchange for listing of social enterprises and voluntary organisations. This is expected to open up new avenues for funding for entities working in the social sectors.

Neeraj Kumar



With the Indian economy poised to become a $3 trillion economy in 2019, the Union Budget balanced prudently between focus on enablers for near term growth with a visionary 10 year road map to sustain and scale this growth.

Closer to our category, the announcement to develop 17 iconic world-class tourist sites is good news. We continue to expect greater transparency and ease of doing business in states and central regulatory framework to enable sustainable and compliant growth for our sector, says Neeraj Kumar, MD Beam Global Spirits & Wine India.      

Abhishek Khaitan





The industry sees a confident and clear articulation to boost growth by reduction in corporate tax and sops to housing sector and startups. The focus on sustainability with electric vehicles and water is visionary but enabling infrastructure needs to be implemented.

“The budget is focussed on vision and inclusive growth,” believes Mr Abhishek Khaitan, Managing Director, Radico Khaitan Limited. The new government till date has pursued pro-growth initiatives and, I believe, this budget will continue the impetus to further boost economic growth and investor confidence. The government is well positioned for a swift and efficient execution of progressive initiatives. Smt Nirmala Sitharaman’s maiden Budget – the first to be presented by a female Finance Minister — emphasises on infrastructure development, freeing up liquidity to troubled NBFCs, generating jobs in the MSME sector, and generally enhancing the ease of doing business. As a listed corporate, we believe that having a 35% public float is positive in terms of better corporate governance standards and valuations and carries a potential of increasing India’s weight in the global indices.

The budget is equally focused on welfare, health, sanitation, water, transformation, standard of living and support to farmers.

Nirmala Sitharaman ji stressing on the ‘Gaon, Garib and Kisan’ aims at enabling the rural economy through multiple schemes. With the aim of boosting the agricultural sector in the country, the government’s plan to reassess the implementation of zero budget farming has the potential of nearly doubling farmers’ income. Additionally, 10 thousand new farmer producer organisations will be set up for ensuring market reach for the farmers. The other schemes announced in the budget such as Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana, cluster-based rural industrialisation for promoting 50,000 artisans, 75000 skilled agri entrepreneurs and overall focus on dairy sector are all very laudable.

The vision of each house having water, electricity and cooking gas by 2022 is commendable and there is a very close interdependence between water, sanitation, health, nutrition, and human well-being. We view water as a central resource for a sustainable India and the thrust to provide piped water to all rural households by 2024 is what inclusive growth is all about.

To conclude I commend Ms Sitharaman for appreciating the contribution of India’s private sector in the fantastic rise of the country’s economy. While the fiscal balance has been managed well with the deficit aimed at just over 3%, the overall, the budget is pro-poor, pro-rural and pro-ease of doing business. The simplification of the GST, the simplification of tax reforms and indirect taxes and the support to startups not only will help in bringing in more capital and employment, it will significantly benefit society at large and help achieve aspirations of millions of Indians.

“I would emphasise that the government has taken due cognisance of the funding needs of a growing economy and this is reflected in a series of measures announced to deepen the country’s capital markets as well as help increase inflows both through the institutional investment and direct investment route. In our pre-budget consultation, FICCI had suggested the need to look at FDI norms in sectors such as insurance, animation, gaming etc. and we are glad this found a mention in the budget,” said Mr Somany. Additionally, to attract cross border investments, the statutory limit of FPI in a company is proposed to be increased from the current 24% to the sector foreign investment limit.

The announcement to further provide `70,000 crore for capital infusion into public sector banks along with measures to strengthen the governance processes within the banks should help in improving the credit flow to the industry. “The NBFC sector has been in focus on account of the stress being faced due to liquidity crunch in the last few months. Acknowledging the important role played by NBFCs, some key measures have been taken which should help ease the liquidity situation for the fundamentally sound NBFCs going ahead. As this happens, we hope to see greater amounts being sanctioned and disbursed by the para-banks particularly in the MSME and retail segment,” said Mr Somany.

Another novel feature of the budget is to marry the benefits of rural infrastructure development with sustainable livelihood opportunities. Having achieved tremendous success over the last five years in terms of promoting connectivity, housing, provision of electricity and clean energy in rural areas, the focus now is to promote traditional resource-based industries and create avenues for self-employment and entrepreneurship. “From the point of view of the farm community, the decisions to set up 10,000 farmer producer organisations and fully leverage the benefits of e-NAM for getting fair and remunerative price are welcome. In FICCI’s Agenda for the New Government, both these points were highlighted, and we had urged the government that these are essential components of any strategy aimed towards doubling income of our farmers over the next few years,” said Mr Somany. To strengthen the education system in the country, FICCI had suggested that the government finalises and implements the National Education Policy, sets up a National Science, Technology and Human Research Foundation; and hasten the setting up of Higher Education Commission of India. FICCI would like to thank the government for having incorporated these suggestions in the budget proposals.

On the disinvestment front, FICCI welcomes the government’s decision to enhance the target for the current year to `1.05 lakh crore. We had of course suggested that given the demands on exchequer, government should look at a target of `1.5 lakh crore. Additionally, the government’s decision to consider divesting its stake in select public sector units to below 51% is interesting and we look forward to details on this subject. “On the taxation front, while we are happy to note the decision to raise the turnover limit from `250 crore to `400 crore for companies that would attract a corporate tax rate of 25%, we had hoped that this rate will be applicable to all firms. Given the way tax policies are evolving globally, we need to be competitive if we are to attract and retain investments at a high level. With the Economic Survey also highlighting the critical role played by private investments in addressing concerns related to growth and employment, a bigger boost to the corporate sector was expected,” said Mr Somany.

Enhanced deduction for interest payments on loan taken for affordable housing, clarification on Angel Tax and the thrust on speedier resolution of legacy tax disputes in the indirect tax segment are some of the other important announcements on the tax side.

Finally, government has remained focussed on making India a ‘cash-lite economy’ and once again we saw in this budget a couple of suggestions that would help the country move ahead on this track.