Tag Archives: interview

Heineken’s Five Star Experience

With millennials leaning towards fresher and lighter tipple, Heineken recently launched their Heineken Silver Draught beer in Maharashtra with the aim to make it available in other States soon. In an effort to educate the industry and the consumer, they also hosted a Star Serve programme that teaches the five steps on how their fresh draught beer should be served. Jacqueline Van Faassen, Head of International Premium Portfolio, Heineken India spoke to Bhavya Desai and Vincent Fernandes about the launch and plans moving forward. Excerpts:

The launch of the Heineken Silver Draught beer marks an important milestone for both, Heineken and United Breweries, who’ve been in India together since 2019. But while Heineken is a popular premium beer amongst the consumers, Van Fassen felt that the company was still missing on the draught experience, considering the trend where younger consumers are looking for a more fresher and lighter beer.

Heineken’s Global Draught Master, Frank Evers demonstrating the Five Star Serve Experience

The beer is already popular and available in the global markets and gets its freshness from utilizing natural ingredients like its A-yeast and 100% malt. And the brand is hoping to have similar success with the product in India as well.

Hence they launched the new Heineken Silver Draught beer with the initial launch market as Mumbai, Thane and Pune, which will be supplied from their Taloja factory with an aim to expand to the other States soon, most likely Karnataka once the draught is started brewing there. Apart from Taloja where most of the Heineken beer is manufactured, the company also has brewing plants in Telangana with development underway for another brewery in Mysore, Karnataka.

But what’s interesting is that Heineken is not only looking to capitalise on their new product but also are making efforts to educate the bartenders on how to serve the beer, thereby hoping to educate the consumer touchpoints and the industry as a whole. “This week we educate 400 bartenders on how to pour Heineken draft beer. This includes 200 today in Mumbai and another 200 bartenders in Pune later this week. They are important stakeholders for us since they make sure that bring it to consumers in the best way,” says Jacqueline.

The training programme was led by Heineken’s Global Draught Master, Frank Evers, which includes the five step serve process to give the consumers the best experience of the tipple. The steps include cleaning the glass with cold water, pouring it at a 45-degree angle with the right amount of foam and finally skimming the extra foam off. The foam protects the CO2 keeping the oxygen out making the beer fresh for a longer time says Evers. What’s also unique to the beer is its brewing process, which is horizontally fermented  as compared to the other lager beers which are brewed vertically.

But while serving the beer at the right temperature and with the steps seem interesting, whether the end consumer on-trade is really partaking at these points remains to be seen. But Van Fassen is confident that with the programme and efforts to educate the bartenders, once the consumers are served the beer correctly, they will identify with the quality and freshness of the product. Jacqueline is also aware of the potential of the draught beer category as a whole with a huge market that can be tapped on. She also states that the plans are that unleash the draught beer across India as soon as possible. And to do that they are focusing on activities like partnering with popular sports events like Champions League football. Recently the brand also hosted the F1 races across bars in Mumbai to further build on that social recall.

Kimaya Himalayan Beverages clock 100 crore turnover in one year

Abhinav Jindal, founder of Kimaya Himalayan Beverages, outlines the company’s growth trajectory

What is your impression of the response to craft beers?

The craft beer industry in India is still in its nascent stage, but it is exhibiting positive indicators of expansion. The global trend towards craft beer is starting to take hold in India, and this presents a significant opportunity for the industry. Unlike developed economies, where the craft beer movement has been established for over a decade, India is experiencing high double-digit growth in the craft beer category compared to a lower double-digit growth in the overall beer market. This indicates that the craft beer industry in India is experiencing a strong upward trend and is expected to continue this path in the future. The surge in the demand for craft beer offers possibilities to innovate and introduce new products in various categories, as well as to redefine existing categories in the competitive market space. This creates a lot of opportunities for innovation and differentiation within the industry, which will further drive growth and create more choices for consumers. Overall, the craft beer industry in India is poised for substantial expansion, and businesses that can tap into this trend and create exciting new products will be well-positioned to capitalise on this opportunity.

Do you feel consumers will go back to regular beer as compared to strong beer or is it only millennials?

The market trend indicates that consumers generally prefer stronger beer over milder ones, and this preference has been evident in the high growth rates of the premium, stronger beer category. With the availability of better-quality products in the stronger beer category, consumers are more likely to stick with their preference for stronger beer, and therefore, it is unlikely that there will be a significant shift in consumer preference towards milder beer.

What are your plans for the summer season – new launches, and promotions?

We have some exciting developments this season. Firstly, we have introduced a newer bottle packaging for BeeYoung Strong 650 ml bottle, which is a one-of-a-kind innovation that is unprecedented in this industry. It is highly likely that this packaging has not been seen before in the market. Moreover, our team is actively working towards launching BeeYoung in Himachal Pradesh to mark our market presence. To further enhance our product offerings, we plan on introducing new variants in premium segment with unique flavour notes to the Kimaya’s profile, likely to be launched in a couple of months. On the marketing front, we have launched an exciting summer campaign that will be visible both digitally and on the ground. This campaign is designed to be fun and engaging, and we are actively seeking out opportunities for collaborations and event sponsorships that align with the spirit of the summer campaign in the near future.

How would you describe Kimaya Himalayan Beverages’ remarkable journey from being the latest entrant in the market just before the pandemic to becoming a company worth over 100 crores in just one year of full operation?

The pandemic has caused significant disruption in the industry, particularly impacting small businesses and homegrown brands. Despite the uncertainties and obstacles caused by the pandemic, BeeYoung, which was launched in September 2019, has managed to stay resilient with a mindful approach and strategic resource allocation. Through proactive market analysis, the company has taken effective measures to reach its sales targets and develop a robust strategy for expansion into larger markets. As a result, BeeYoung achieved a remarkable milestone by dispatching 1,00,000 hectolitres of beer in its first year of full operation, experiencing an impressive growth rate of 129%. The brand has also successfully established itself in Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, and Chandigarh and is now focussed on expanding into other states. To meet the increasing demand in its existing markets, Kimaya Himalayan Beverages is increasing its production capacity, reaffirming its commitment to meeting its customers’ needs.

How has the company ensured enhancing product availability in the existing market, diversifying the product range, and venturing into new regions across the nation.

To enhance product availability in the existing market, Kimaya Himalayan Beverages has established partnerships with distributors and retailers to ensure that its products are widely available. The brand has successfully established its presence in multiple regions of North India including Delhi, Uttarakhand, Punjab, and Uttar Pradesh. To diversify its product range, the team is working on introducing new variants with distinctive flavour notes to cater to the changing tastes of consumers. We are working on strengthening the foothold in North India by expanding into new regions and states, such as the upcoming launch in Himachal Pradesh. We have also invested in marketing campaigns to raise brand awareness and attract new customers. Overall, we have taken a proactive and strategic approach to enhancing product availability, diversifying its product range, and venturing into new regions across the nation. These efforts have helped us to grow.

What is the industry overview on alcobev category – the shifts and trends?

The alcohol beverage category has undergone significant shifts and trends in recent years. One of the most notable changes is the growing consumer interest in healthier and low-alcohol options. Consumers are more health-conscious and looking for beverages that align with their wellness goals. This has led to an increase in the demand for low-alcohol or non-alcoholic beverages, such as hard seltzers and non-alcoholic beers. Another trend in the alcohol beverage industry is the rise of craft and artisanal beverages. This has led to an increase in the number of craft breweries, distilleries, and wineries, as well as a growing interest in local and regional products. Finally, sustainability and environmental concerns have become increasingly important to consumers, and brands are responding by prioritising sustainability in their operations and products. This includes using eco-friendly packaging, reducing waste, and sourcing ingredients from sustainable sources.

Overall, the alcohol beverage industry is evolving rapidly, with a focus on health, quality, sustainability, and innovation. Brands that can adapt to these changing trends and meet the evolving needs of consumers are likely to succeed in this competitive market.

What steps are being taken to ensure Sustainability in the alcohol and beer industry: Innovative approaches towards environmental responsibility?

The alcohol and beer industry are taking various steps towards ensuring sustainability and environmental responsibility. These steps include implementing sustainable sourcing practices, using eco-friendly packaging, conserving water, reducing energy consumption, and minimising waste. Companies are exploring innovative approaches towards sustainability, such as using renewable energy sources, investing in water-saving technologies, and using waste-to-energy technologies. The industry is responding to the growing consumer demand for environmentally responsible products and operations. By prioritising sustainability in their operations and products, companies are demonstrating their commitment to social responsibility and ensuring long-term success in the competitive market.

How would you describe the Science of Brewing: The chemistry behind a ‘Perfect Pint’?

Brewing is a complex process that blends the art and science of beer-making. It involves a variety of chemical reactions that transform simple ingredients such as water, malt, hops, and yeast into the diverse range of beers we enjoy today. The science of brewing entails understanding and manipulating these chemical reactions to create the desired flavour, aroma, and appearance of beer. However, creating the perfect pint requires not only scientific knowledge, but also artistic skill. Artistry in brewing involves being artisanal and selecting the right ingredients in the desired quantities. It also involves carefully combining the ingredients without adding concentrated hops, colour, or flavour. The art of brewing complements the science, which includes determining the appropriate temperature to boil, ferment, and so on. Understanding the chemistry behind brewing is essential for creating a satisfying and enjoyable drinking experience that caters to the diverse preferences of beer drinkers worldwide. In summary, brewing is a delicate balance of science and art that requires skill, expertise, and creativity to produce a perfect pint.

What can you do to make the industry more circular?

To make the beer industry more sustainable and reduce waste, adopting a circular approach is crucial. At Kimaya Himalayan Beverages, we have taken steps to minimise our environmental impact by recycling the used bottles. Additionally, breweries can use sustainable ingredients such as organic and locally sourced grains and hops, as well as switching to renewable energy sources like solar or wind power to reduce their carbon footprint. Breweries can also reduce packaging waste by using biodegradable materials. Furthermore, minimising packaging waste by using lightweight materials or reducing packaging size can be another effective approach. Lastly, partnering with local farmers to source ingredients can reduce transportation emissions and support the local economy. Adopting these circular approaches can significantly reduce waste, promote sustainability, and help create a more environmentally friendly product. As businesses, we have a responsibility to act towards becoming more sustainable for future generations.

How would stress the importance on the Art of Beer Labelling: Design Trends and marketing strategies?

In the beer industry, the art of beer labelling is a crucial element that plays a vital role in attracting and retaining customers. A well-designed beer label not only conveys essential information about the beer, such as its flavour and ingredients, but also serves as a marketing tool that sets the brand apart from its competitors. As design trends in beer labelling continually evolve, companies are embracing creative and eye-catching designs that appeal to a broad range of consumers.

‘Our aspiration of reaching $1 billion sales by 2030 drives our Premiumisation Journey’

With offering some of the best global spirits and portfolio on offer and an aim to establish itself as the home for premium spirits across categories and create human connections while focussing on sustainability, Beam Suntory has major plans for India. In an interview with Ambrosia, Neeraj Kumar, Managing Director, Beam Suntory India talks about the journey, their aim and the Indian consumer. Excerpts:

You have been associated with the company for over 15 years. How has the company grown in India over those years? From then to Now?

Beam Suntory is a proud custodian of world-renowned spirits whose legacies can be measured in centuries. We are a leading premium spirits company and the world’s third largest as well. Over the last few years, we have introduced some of the world’s most exclusive brands from our global portfolio to the Indian consumers, providing an opportunity to access some of the most sought-after spirit experiences in the world.

We have also made our successful debut into the Indian whisky space with Oaksmith Indian Whisky inspired by Japanese craftsmanship. Apart from this we have also launched more than 10 renowned Japanese brands from The House of Suntory – Yamazaki, Hibiki, Suntory whisky Toki and Roku Japanese Craft Gin. We have strengthened our Scotch brands portfolio with Bowmore, Laphroaig Select and Teacher’s Highland Cream Reserve and continue to embolden our Bourbon whiskey portfolio with Jim Beam and Jim Beam Black Kentucky Straight Bourbon whiskey.

Our aspiration of reaching $1 billion in sales by 2030 continues to drive our premiumisation journey in India. We strive to deliver a portfolio that combines the best of the East and West, with an unwavering emphasis on quality. We have invested in capacity and our people capabilities and proud to be certified as a Great Place to Work in India, three years in a row.

The Indian liquor market is expected to grow by 7% annually in the 2021-25 period, with whisky and spirits among favourites. What do you think are the key drivers in India?

The increasing demand for luxury spirits and premiumisation among Indian consumers signals a greater emphasis on quality. With rising disposable incomes, exposure to global culture and a desire for premium products, purchasing habits are evolving, making India an appealing market for global and Indian brands.

The channel landscape has also seen a dramatic shift in specialist store infrastructure. In addition, consumers now enjoy world class on-premise premium experiences and cocktail immersion, specially led by whiskeys and gins. The Indian consumer base is expected to grow and is witnessing a trend towards premiumisation. We expect a greater thrust on new innovations across whiskies, gins and vodkas, presenting an opportunity for cocktail craft as well as beverages for refreshment occasions. These trends will continue to drive growth at the top and premium end of the market.

What is Beam Suntory’s strategy to expand the India market?

For Beam Suntory, India is a strategic market with a long-term growth ambition. The company continues to deliver strongly along its ambitious goal of reaching $1 billion in revenue in India by 2030. Our ‘Yatte Minahare’ spirit inspires us to dream big and our commitment to the India ambition is consistent with our objective to develop our business scale sustainably in India and join our other large markets like the US and Japan.

Beam Suntory aims to establish itself as the home for premium spirits across categories and create inspiring human connections, while maintaining an integral focus on sustainability. The company continues to develop its presence here with robust investments on capability building, capacity expansion and inspiring top talent to join our global talent pool. With the early signs of success with Oaksmith whisky, we have a long-term commitment to build a business of scale whilst driving premiumisation.  

You mentioned that by 2030 the company would touch $1billion in annual revenues in India, is that objective on course? Can you share the revenues from India as of 2022 across categories?

The Indian market is advancing towards quality over quantity and our goals for the Indian market are in line with the consumers’ needs catering to their discerning palates. With leading brands like Teacher’s, Jim Beam and Oaksmith and a range of luxury and premium products, we are confident in our ambitious goal for 2030. Over the past two years, we have accelerated our current portfolio, gaining value growth outperforming peers in the market. Our portfolio has been crafted carefully for Indian consumers and guided by our competitive advantage of ‘East Meets West’. These include principles of ‘Gemba’ (real consumer and customer insights from the points of consumption) and ‘Monozukuri’ (an unwavering commitment to quality from Seed to Sip). Our consumer-first mindset will continue to develop our
portfolio to pioneer and leverage category, channel and consumer trends.

Since the launch of Oaksmith, it has become a very popular product. Can you share the market share, cases sold, etc. for the brand? Will the whisky be made available in the other markets as well?

After a successful launch in 2020 in Maharashtra and Telangana followed by expansion in over 20 markets, Oaksmith is at the helm of reinventing the Indian whisky segment. As a result of consumers tremendous response, Oaksmith has already sold 1 million cases since its launch, reinforcing Beam Suntory’s commitment to lead the growth and premiumisation of the Indian spirit’s market. With multiple international accolades behind its name, including the London Spirits Competition, we remain optimistic of this brand’s future in the market.

There is a major push towards sustainability in the industry. What are Beam’s plans towards the same?

Inspired by our Proof Positive commitments and Growing for Good vision, leaving a positive impact on the environment is central to Beam Suntory’s business and fundamental to its culture across every facet of the value chain. At the start of 2021, we made a global announcement to invest more than $1 billion to make positive impacts on the environment, consumers, and communities through our Proof Positive programme.

We have been making significant progress on this vision both globally and in India. Some of our local initiatives include

•             Reduced dependency on single use packaging, starting with our range of Teacher’s and Oaksmith.

•             Tree plantation project in Mumbai and Goa.

•             Donation of USD 150,000 to NRAI to support workers in the F&B community during Covid-19.

•             Donation of $600,000 to British Asian Trust, Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), National Restaurant Association of India and Government-led relief efforts to mitigate the shortage of hospital equipment supporting Covid-19 relief during the second wave.

What is your understanding of ‘Growing for Good’, can you break it down for us?

Our vision of ‘Growing for Good’ guides us to demonstrate a commitment to social responsibility and sustainability by promoting ethical and environmental-friendly working practices and behaviours. It applies both to the company and to everyone within the company and relays that the bigger we are, the greater our positive impact can be.

As a business that heavily relies on natural resources to make products that delight consumers around the world, we believe it is our responsibility to give back and leave the planet in a better way than we found it. To further define this vision, our long-term sustainability strategy – Proof Positive sets bold targets for us. Resting on pillars of nature, community and consumer, it guides us to make actional change within a defined timeline that protects the planet, offers education and expanded choices to consumers and gives back to our society.

The Ready-to-Drink brand sales has grown 16% driven by performance in Japan, Australia and the US, any plans for that category?

The emergence of the RTD (Ready to drink) market in India is growing at a fast pace and is bringing a distinct change in drinking behaviour. RTDs are popular since they come in various flavours and variants that are low in alcoholic strength and suitable for the refreshment and light experience. We are understanding the consumer needs and bringing forth products in response to their evolving preferences and will continue to monitor this space to guide our future business decisions.

Greater Than Gin, yes, what can be?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ambrosia: How is Hapusa different from Greater Than?

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

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

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

Ambrosia: What next from ‘Nao Spirits’?

Virmani: Lots more

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

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

Is Radico focusing on premium brown spirits for growth?

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

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

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

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

What are the plans for 8PM this fiscal?

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

In this digital age, what is your campaign strategy?

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

India Glycols Ltd forays into IMFL

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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