Tag Archives: Scotch

Paul P John, inducted into Whisky Magazine’s Hall of Fame at the World Whisky Awards 2022

Paul P.John, an entrepreneur by choice, who ventured into the alcoholic beverages industry in 1992 and established John Distilleries in 1996, has not only steered the company to great heights, but also put on the world map India’s capabilities when it comes to producing some of the finest single malts.

Today John Distilleries has been declared the 4th largest liquor company in the country with production at over 8 locations across 7 states in India. The strong portfolio of brands in various liquor categories such as whiskies, brandy, and wines. His flagship brand, Original Choice is one of the top selling brands in India’s popular whisky segment and one of the top 10 selling whiskies in the world with sales exceeding 12 million cases a year.

His zeal to surpass the ordinary and his personal passion for single malts led him to create the Paul John Indian Single Malts.

Paul John Single Malts were launched in the UK in 2012 and they are currently available in over 43 countries. The brand’s several expressions have won over 280 renowned international awards.

And now for his stewardship, Paul P.John, Chairman of John Distilleries Pvt Ltd has been inducted into Whisky Magazine’s Hall of Fame at the World Whisky Awards 2022 held in London in March.

How does it feel to be inducted into Whisky Magazine’s Hall of Fame at the World Whisky Awards 2022?

It is a great honour to be recognised for the work that I have done, and especially for producing premium quality whiskies from India.

What are your future plans in the Scotch space?

We feel there’s a lot of potential be it in domestic or international markets specifically for single malts. Across the world, consumers are not fully aware of drinking or experiencing single malts properly, and as part of our efforts to build awareness of our brand we are helping consumers enjoy single malts better and we find more and more people turning towards such whiskies are their choice of drink.

Do you see a dramatic increase in Scotch sales in the near future?

(Allow us to point out that we don’t call ourselves Scotch, ours are single malts as we do not make our whiskies in Scotland)

And yes we do see a great potential in the sales of single malt whiskies across all markets.

What is the scope for Scotch brands bottled in India?

Both countries are working on bringing down the duties, if that happens there’s a lot of potential but until then there’ll be just a small growth.

How do you plan to increase the footprints of your premium single malt brands in India and abroad?

We’ve been on the job for the last ten years and we’ve had a steady increase in our footprint. We will continue to build brand awareness, venturing into new countries while continuing to build our presence in existing markets, today we are available across 40 countries in the world.

Which countries are you focussed on for your brands and why?

Mainly UK, USA, rest of Europe and Australia, and of course India.

What are your comments on the recent FTA with Australia?

We welcome more competition.

Which countries would you like to see India signing FTAs and why?

We are fine with working with whatever our government decides.

Are you looking at other segments like Tequila, Gin and Vodka?

Yes, we are planning to launch a premium gin shortly.

What is the next big award you hope to win?

Consumers, accepting the brand is the best award and recognition we can possibly get.

Indian liquor trends pre and post COVID

The Covid-19 pandemic has continued to impact India since its arrival in spring last year. The government initially reacted by imposing a national lockdown from 23rd March to 4th May last year. The on-trade was completely closed, as were most liquor shops in every state. Places of work shut down, so many young office workers left the urban centres. With the on-trade stifled, retail purchases and consumption of beverage alcohol at home became the norm in most mainstream categories. In India, however, women and younger consumers still feel uncomfortable drinking in front of more conservative parents and family members at home. Limitations on space and refrigeration favoured spirits over beer, RTDs and – especially for young urban women – wine, all of which are usually consumed cold.

The implications of the pandemic response for India’s status as a federal republic soon became clear. The importance of excise duty income from alcohol, tobacco and fuel was brought into sharp relief as revenue streams dried up and the diminishing income from national taxes, such as GST, were used to offset fiscal shortfalls at state level. Most states responded by increasing excise duties – often suddenly and steeply – as well as charging taxpayers one-off cess payments, commonly levied by central governments for a specific purpose. Unusually, this cess (tax on tax), commonly levied by central government for a specific and clearly defined purpose (and not shared with state governments), has been applied in a number of instances at state level as a Corona-cess. Some states have been more reluctant than others to review, reduce or cancel such supposedly temporary measures. For instance, Andhra Pradesh – where the government had tried to enforce prohibition before the pandemic – imposed a 75% excise duty incre for two days just as the national lockdown ended last May; and on the same day, Delhi imposed a 70% cess on the maximum retail price (MRP) of all liquor, which remained until 7th June.

The timing of the lockdown could not have been worse, especially for beer. The category relies on young urban drinkers and after-work occasions and its peak season for consumption was about to start. When lockdown ended, bars and restaurants re-opened in most states, but were limited to 50% occupancy, and workers were slower to return to offices. Many are still working from home or – during Q1 2021 – have returned to it.

Compared to some countries, where citizens often remained risk-averse and pessimistic after the first lockdown, Indian consumer confidence seemed to bounce back quickly. Many Indians assumed – wrongly – that their everyday hygiene challenges afforded them a high degree of natural immunity to the coronavirus.

The past year has confirmed that India is squarely a brown spirits market. Whisky absorbs two-thirds of consumption in this market; brandy – with a strong presence in the south – takes 20%; and rum takes around half of that. In a total market that has shrunk by around one-fifth, whisky declined only slightly less than brandy and rum, which fell around one-quarter. Beer and RTDs suffered precipitous falls, deprived of many of the venues and occasions that had driven consumption forward. All clear spirits witnessed steeper declines in consumption than dark spirits: in each category, sales of domestically produced brands bottled in India (BII) fell away faster. Even allowing for the experimentation evident in categories such as Irish whiskey, consumers sought out brands that they knew, had earned equity and had consistent quality. In short, they sought out certainties.

Two other fundamental shifts have also occurred. Firstly, the premiumisation trend – evident before the pandemic – saw some importers shift their focus to retail, increasing its offering of high-end brands, which were previously targetted at Duty-Free and at the on-trade. Disposable income spent on going out to eat and drink before the pandemic was instead often redirected to premium-and-above products for at-home consumption. Secondly, as a corollary to this and confirming the pressure on the mainstream, was down-trading out of Indian-made foreign liquor (IMFL), either bottled in origin (BIO) or BII.

Budget-conscious consumers instead chose either country liquor or illicit alternatives, having long been deprived of licensed outlets in which to purchase their nips.

The on-trade closure has also impacted routes to market and the supply chain and it increasingly determines choice. When all outlets closed, some states permitted home delivery, which many thought heralded the long-expected rise of the e-commerce channel. In reality, this was an expedient option for retail outlets: e-commerce has not seen a consequent increase in regulation or investment since. On the contrary, drinks ordering apps, such as Hipbar, appear to have been actively discouraged.

The effects of a six-week shutdown of alcohol supply lasted long after it ended: restocking and logistics issues extended out-of-stock occurrences well into the summer months. Importers often found it difficult to source supplies as exporters were reluctant to ship to trading partners in an uncertain economy, not least because they wanted to avoid passing on rising logistics costs to consumers.

One of the responses, driven by leading country liquor suppliers, has been the emergence of intermediate or medium liquor produced locally: this refers to a price band of distilled liquor sold under licensed quota in certain states – presently Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh only – competitively priced between country liquor/IMIL (Indian-made Indian liquor) and IMFL. Commonly the price, set by the state, is at a 25% premium to the country liquor price, a similar proportion lower than IMFL pricing.

This system has the additional benefits of almost guaranteeing state excise income and reducing the occurrence of country liquor-related health issues through better-quality product. In theory, this model should be attractive to many more states. In practice, its implementation may be limited by the relative scarcity of country liquor distillers able to produce medium liquor of the requisite quality. Nevertheless, with investment and a little covert encouragement from the states, that provision will doubtless evolve over time.

In a decentralised India, the domestic beverage alcohol industry relies on a relatively small number of states for its success. The top three states – Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra and West Bengal – account for one-third of India’s population. The top six states account for half of the population. West Bengal is the only corporate state: the beverage alcohol industry is regulated directly through a state body. By contrast, the five largest states in the south are each home to beverage alcohol corporations.

This complexity and large size of India means that there are very few companies that are truly national. Even those that are considered national – thanks to a contract bottling network – still retain large regional brands in their portfolios. There is a small number of multinationals twinning domestic production with imports that are focussed on urban distribution shared among importers and wholesalers. India has a larger number of local distillers aspiring to convert their regional origins into a multi-region or national presence; and there are many smaller distillers, the majority of whom supply locally. Most distillers, therefore, will only be trading in one or two jurisdictions and navigating one or two bureaucracies. For the larger players, these challenges are manifold.

The second half of 2020 saw the Indian beverage alcohol market emerging quickly and largely unscathed from Covid-19 and lockdown. Leading spirits companies in particular were reporting quarterly revenues and volumes that had recovered to pre-pandemic levels. This was in spite of the on-trade remaining stifled, e-commerce failing to expand and the regulation and excise duty rises imposed by most states. However, by the second quarter of this year – the beginning of the new financial year for most corporations – this initial optimism about rapid recovery has somewhat evaporated.

The picture, though, is mixed. India’s federal state model shows up the inconsistencies between states: decisions can often be arbitrary, poorly thought through and political rather than practical, but a successful model in one state can be swiftly adopted in another. On the one hand, the Delhi state government’s legislation lowering the legal drinking age from 25 to 21 is positive for the industry. On the other, Andhra Pradesh will join Bihar, Gujarat and some other smaller states and territories to prohibit alcohol for around 250m people, which is nearly one-fifth of the population.

It cannot be overstated how the pandemic and its effects demonstrated the importance of beverage alcohol revenues to individual states’ budgets. Some state governments recognise this and are approaching their beverage alcohol policy with pragmatism by listening to the industry more attentively.

The key issues revolve around the temporary and permanent changes brought about by the pandemic. Office work may have changed permanently, calling into question whether or not urban on-trade lighthouse accounts will recover. It is uncertain when occupancy rates in on-trade venues rise above the current 50% constraint. The medium liquor system may see expansion into further states. It is also questionable whether premiumisation will persist or the second Covid-19 wave will dent consumer confidence fundamentally.

The wider economy, of course, is a determining factor. Declining disposable income has particular relevance for beverage alcohol spend. The industry is circumscribed by its investment in advertising and promotion. The pandemic has sharpened the senses of many executives and players, but left others close to collapse, unable to survive further uncertain events. States have pursued short-term solutions throughout the pandemic and it is unknown if this approach will persist. However, it is likely that the distilling capacity of the domestic industry will not grow. This has implications for all, given the contract-bottling model that has enabled the largest players to become truly national.

General Forecast Assumptions

On-Trade – In some states, the on-trade had re-opened up to 85% of its former capacity by Q1 2021. However, the occupancy restriction to 50% remains, so the real throughput is also likely to be at 50%. This will continue to affect beer and RTDs. Furthermore, on-trade sub-channels are re-opening at different rates.

Restaurants opened faster than bars; and bars faster than night venues. Whilst this appears to affect wine and premium spirits in higher-end outlets, the impact will be mitigated by the flexibility of suppliers, many of whom have switched attention to retail and targetting wealthier consumers.

Medium Liquor – Consumers in some states are now being offered a wider choice. Those who had traded down to country liquor may choose medium liquor instead of IMFL. Currently this is available in Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh, but more states may institute this. A significant number of consumers may prefer the taste and the brands on offer in the category to IMFL.

E-commerce – When three of the larger eastern states – West Bengal, Chhattisgarh and Jharkand – permitted home delivery of alcohol, it was thought e-commerce would, at last, be stimulated by the lockdown conditions. They were soon joined by Orissa and Maharashtra. However, steep delivery charges, regulatory uncertainty, a reluctance to invest and a poor delivery-logistics framework continue to hamper growth, as well as the nature of Indian e-commerce defined on the invitation issued by the West Bengal authorities as “handling the electronic ordering, purchase, sale and home delivery of alcoholic liquors from licensed food [and liquor] outlets”. Retail competitors required to pay for annual licences have lobbied against the channel as well. Some significant platforms – Amazon, Flipkart (Walmart), Big Basket, Swiggy, Zomato and the mobile app Hipbar, reportedly backed by Diageo and, in Mumbai, Living Liquidz – responded to state-level invitations to get involved after the Supreme Court ruled in favour of home delivery from licensed retail. However, it has become clear that any bureaucratic encouragement of home delivery has primarily been one of a range of responses to the crowds that gathered outside liquor shops last year and, while recurring lockdowns may help to accelerate e-commerce, the channel will not significantly impact the industry for the foreseeable future. Informal delivery, where customers call up the liquor store and get an order dropped off by moped, already existed and will continue.

Regulation – Uttar Pradesh, India’s most populous state, had previously imposed a cess of 20 per bottle of beer. West Bengal, the fourth most populous state, increased consumer tax by 30%. Rajasthan, the sixth most populous, enacted both, adding20 per bottle and imposing a 10% increase in consumer tax. Their approach is unlikely to change. Additionally, the election in Bihar state did not return a government willing to reverse prohibition. Andhra Pradesh’s government was unable to enact prohibition but has discouraged some national players by making trading there problematic. However, it is assumed there is no foreseeable regulatory movement throughout the forecast period.

Consumer Base Expansion – India’s population is approaching 1.4bn, with less than half being of legal drinking age. The actual number of alcohol consumers is believed to be closer to 160m, only 7.5% of whom are women. Per capita rates for beer and RTDs remain low at around 1.2 litres for men and 150ml for women, re-calculated at 10 litres and 1.25 litres on estimated drinking population numbers. Wine has similar rates to RTDs, spirits are 1.8 litres per capita and nearly 15 litres on a re-calculated basis. There are more younger consumers joining the potential drinking population every year. Uptake by women reportedly increased during the pandemic.

At-Home Consumption – This trend is likely to persist beyond the pandemic. Wealthier consumers of premium spirits and imports spend for indulging at home and for gifts. The wedding industry will revive: most wine suppliers are focussing on higher-end offerings, educating consumers about its accessibility and suitability during meals, as well as drinking before and after. Beer and RTDs will find difficulty switching as their core message is based on going out and socialising rather than at-home consumption, and most consumers have insufficient refrigeration space at home.

Key Market Factors

Cultural – The legal drinking age varies from state to state. In most states it is 21, but 25 in the populous states of Haryana and the Punjab. In Maharashtra it is 21 for beer and wine, and 25 for liquor. Bigger states with a drinking age of 18 include Rajasthan in the north and Kerala in the south. Delhi is about to lower its LDA from 25 to 21.

Three states with larger populations prohibit alcohol. Gujarat has been dry for the longest, with Bihar and now Andhra Pradesh having imposed prohibition more recently. Outcomes are mixed, with Bihar and Andhra Pradesh reportedly having some of the highest per capita consumption rates for beverage alcohol nationally once illicit alcohol is factored in.

Demographic – A key driver of consumption has been urbanisation, particularly among younger LDA drinkers. The lockdown appears to have reversed this, with young office workers returning to their parents’ houses in smaller cities, towns and the countryside.

The overall population is nearly 1.4bn and grows by 15–20m or more every year. The drinking population is considerably smaller: at least half can only afford very cheap country liquor, which is largely unbranded alcohol with an estimated market of 250–285m cases.

The rapidly growing middle classes, who can afford premium-and-above, may number more than 150m. However, 98% of middle-class women and more than 20% of men are said not to drink for philosophical, religious or cultural reasons.

Some 49% of the population is aged under 19, and few drink, although younger consumers are generally more willing to consume alcohol than many of their parents. This leaves a market of between 25m and 30m people with the inclination and resources to drink IMFL.

Economic – There is little state support in India and wellbeing is the individual’s responsibility. With livelihoods uncertain but a young population inclined to optimism, the second Covid-19 wave may hit confidence hard and a volatile economy will see more cautious expenditure. Excise rates vary substantially from state to state even before the pandemic, which exacerbated the difference when states imposed cess payments to make up fiscal shortfalls.

A number of observers mention a shift to modern retail. This is consistent with state governments looking to secure the revenues they can expect from beverage alcohol and also with consumer expectations around improving retail venues.

Trade – Difficulties with the supply of stock have been widespread. It is reported that lack of supply inhibited sales, especially of premium products. The pandemic hindered logistics and rendered delivery more expensive. Brand-owner allocations have also reduced the agility to respond to demand.

A further element is that the phenomenon of medium liquor in Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh offers more settled revenue for states and gives consumers an alternative to IMFL. One leading country liquor supplier reports now selling twice as much medium liquor as it does country liquor per month. India is unusual in that spirits demand is significantly more developed than demand for beer. While there is some interplay between the two with bang-for-buck consumers keen to maximise alcohol content per rupee delivery, there were some signs that demand for beer was beginning to develop separately.

However, strong beers of 8.5% ABV still represent more than 82% of demand. The first lockdown also affected trade, and was both severe and ill-timed – six weeks without sales, just before peak season for beer and RTDs. The on-trade revived in the second half of 2020 with near full re-opening in some states, but night and weekend curfews, combined with 50% capacity limits, continue to constrain this channel. The uncertainty of lockdown and the unavailability of liquor drove some consumers back down to country liquor, although not in the south where it is banned in five large states.

There was more limited up-trading by wealthier consumers. However, mainstream products, brands and players have been affected with some of the less financially secure domestic players closing for some months. In some of the larger states, competition in the beverage alcohol category is relatively open. In more there are state corporations set up as wholesalers and frequently as retailers too. In all states, beverage alcohol participants must navigate a web of licences, quotas and taxes, and sometimes incentives.

In certain key states, the regulatory authorities that control pricing have rationalised their price lists. In Delhi, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Haryana the correction has been downwards for higher-priced imports.

It is reported that there is shift to modern retail. This is consistent with state governments looking to secure revenues from beverage alcohol and also with consumer expectations around improving retail venues.

Political – Breweries have been investigated by the Competition Commission of India (CCI) which has now resulted in fines for collusion and operating a cartel. The reputational impact is more serious than the financial cost.

The SWA has released the 2021 global export figures for Scotch Whisky

Global exports of Scotch Whisky grew to £4.51bn during 2021, according to figures released recently by the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA), as the industry continues to recover from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and US tariffs.

In 2021, the value of Scotch Whisky exports was up 19% by value, to £4.51bn. The number of 70cl bottles exported also grew by 21% to the equivalent of 1.38bn.

Growth in 2021 was driven in particular by consumers in Asia Pacific and Latin America, with value increases of 21% and 71% respectively. Key emerging markets for Scotch Whisky – like India, Brazil, and China – grew strongly. Exports grew by 8% in the United States – the industry largest market by value – despite the first quarter of 2021 impacted by the 25% tariff on Single Malt Scotch Whisky. Exports to the European Union grew by 8% in the first year since the UK left the transition period.

Despite the return to growth in 2021, the value of Scotch Whisky exports has not recovered to pre-pandemic levels, with exports remaining 8% lower than 2019.

Commenting on the figures, Chief Executive of the Scotch Whisky Association Mark Kent said, “The global footprint of the industry in 2021 is a clear sign that the Scotch Whisky industry is on the road to recovery.

“Value and volume are both up as consumers return to bars and restaurants, people return to travel and tourism, and we all return to a degree of normality after a period of enormous uncertainty for consumers and business.

“Scotch Whisky growth in global markets means more jobs and investment across Scotland and the UK supply chain. The industry has continued to invest in its production sites, tourist attractions and workforce to ensure that Scotch Whisky remains at the heart of a dynamic international spirits market and attracts new consumers around the world.

“But this this is no time for complacency. The industry continues to face global challenges, including ongoing trade disruption, growing supply chain costs and inflationary pressures, and undoubtedly there is some road to run before exports return to pre-pandemic levels.

“The UK and Scottish governments should do all they can to support the industry’s continued recovery by making the most of global opportunities, including the ongoing UK-India trade talks, ensuring fairness in the UK duty system, and investing in a more sustainable future as the industry works to reach net-zero by 2040.”

Summary

Export value of Scotch Whisky in 2021 was £4.51bn, up £705m compared with 2020, but down £403m compared to 2019.

Export volume of Scotch Whisky in 2021 was 1.38bn 70cl bottles (equivalent), up 238m 70cl bottles compared with 2020 and up 73m compared to 2019.

On average, 44 bottles of Scotch Whisky are exported every second (up from 36 bottles per second in 2020).

Top 10 Markets

The largest export destinations for Scotch Whisky (defined by value) in 2021 were:

USA:£ 790m8.4% (£729m in 2020)
France:£ 387m2.8% (£376m in 2020)
Taiwan:£226m24.3% (£182m in 2020)
Singapore:£212m-14.3% (£247m in 2020)
China:£198m84.9% (£107m in 2020)
Latvia:£156m-11.8% (£176m in 2020)
Germany:£148m6.4% (£139m in 2020)
India:£146m42.9% (£102m in 2020)
Japan:£133m16.2% (£114m in 2020)
Spain:£118m7.9% (£109m in 2020)

The largest export destinations for Scotch Whisky (defined by volume, 70cl bottles equivalent) in 2021 were:

France:176m bottles-0.1% (176m bottles in 2020)
India:136m bottles44.3% (95m bottles in 2020)
United States:126m bottles12.6% (112 m bottles in 2020)
Brazil:82m bottles80.5% (45 m bottles in 2020)
Japan:56m bottles25.9% (45 m bottles in 2020)
Spain:48m bottles32.0% (36 m bottles in 2020)
Mexico:48m bottles13.0% (42 m bottles in 2020)
Germany:46m bottles7.2% (43 m bottles in 2020)
Poland:45m bottles19.4% (37 m bottles in 2020)
Russia:42m bottles40.7% (30 m bottles in 2020)

Regional data

In 2021, Scotch Whisky exports by global region (defined by value) were (% change vs 2020):

European Union:£1360m8.2% (30% of global exports)
Asia Pacific:£1210m21.4% (27% of global exports)
North America:£1000m11.2% (22% of global exports)
Central and South America:£443m70.7% (10% of global exports)
Middle East and N Africa:£187m55.0% (4% of global exports)
Africa:£157m14.6% (3% of global exports)
Western Europe (ex.EU):£98m6.0% (2% of global exports)
Eastern Europe (ex.EU):£47m33.8% (1% of global exports)

Dewar’s Scotch Whisky Celebrates its 175th Anniversary

Dewar’s Scotch whisky marked 175 years of Scotch-making recently. Over the course of these spectacular 175 years, Dewar’s has created some mighty fine products along the way and crafted an unparalleled experience for patrons. The whisky maker has a rich history with over 15 plus products which cater to the premium category. Dewar’s is also widely known for pioneering the double ageing process to serve its drinkers a refined and balanced taste.

Founded in 1846 by John Dewar, the journey of Dewar’s started from a small wine and spirits merchant shop in Perth, Scotland to become a global brand that it is today. John Dewar was so proud of the quality of his blended Scotches that he was one of the first Scotch blenders to put his name on a bottle as a guarantee of quality. In 1880’s, Alexander and Tommy Dewar inherited Scotch whisky business from their father. They divided the responsibility between themselves and embarked on a journey to make Dewar’s one of the fastest growing premium whiskies in the world. In 1890, Master Blender A.J. Cameron joined Dewar’s and pioneered the novel Double Ageing process for greater harmony and extra smoothness to all the Dewar’s blend.

Taking inspiration from Dewar’s first Master Blender- A.J. Cameron’s achieved notes, Master Blender Stephanie Macleod created the Dewar’s Double Double whisky range using an innovative four-step ageing process. The unique taste of this double blended scotch has enabled the brand in winning multiple/several prestigious titles and accolades like ‘World’s Best Blended’ and ‘Best in Class’ among others.

Commenting on the wins, Vijay Dev, Consumer Marketing Lead, Whiskies at Bacardi India said, “This is a significant milestone for Dewar’s! We are elated to be a part of one of the world’s most awarded Scotch whisky, after all double is better. With our commitment to serve the smoothest blend to our consumers, we will be bringing multiple variants like Japanese Smooth and Ultra-Premium Double Double Series 21, 27 and 32 year old to India in the near future.”

Currently at the historical achieve of Dewar’s in Glasgow, Jacqui Seargeant, Global Heritage Manager & Whiskies Archivist, Bacardi has been preserving more than 10,000 items from the rich heritage of the DEWAR’S family including bottles from the 19th century, documenting family photos from company founders, curating museum collections, and fact finding the origin stories of classic cocktails. The archive has inspired bottle designs, brand campaigns, and recipes. While going through the archives, Jacqui came across Tommy Dewar’s Original Highball recipe, which is today whisky drinkers’ favourite cocktail across the globe.

Oaksmith Whisky – A blend of Scotch Malts, Bourbon and Japanese craftsmanship

The global premium spirits company Beam Suntory has combined its knowledge and expertise of premium spirits from across the globe to bring to India, a truly International blended whisky, ‘Oaksmith Gold’. It is a first of its kind spirit with the best of Scotland and The United States of America by blending premium aged Scotch Malts, aged Kentucky straight Bourbon – some from distilleries over 200 years old – with world class Japanese craftsmanship. Oaksmith Gold and its blend are a celebration of craftsmanship and global collaboration, combining the best of East and West in a beautifully crafted 6-edged bottle. A celebratory ode to the impeccable Japanese craftsmanship, Oaksmith Gold is an iconic global brand starting off from India, bringing in an unmatched international experience with every sip.

What makes it truly gold?

The ingredients do the magic. From Grain to Bottle, Oaksmith Gold is a spirit with a smooth taste. It delicately blends high quality aged Scotch Whisky Malts from the lush highlands of Scotland with aged Kentucky Straight Bourbon whisky from The United States of America using impeccable craftsmanship of Japan. As a result of this world class unique blend created by one of the most celebrated master blenders globally – Shinji Fukuyo, the man with over 30 years of experience creating the most famous award-winning Japanese whiskies in the world such as Yamazaki and Hibiki – the taste of Oaksmith Gold is rich, smooth and refined. On the palate, the flavour profile is mild but full body with woodiness from the oaks casks, on the nose, it is rich fruity and has a sweet top note followed by a hint of smoke (peat), on the finish, it is clean and smooth making it very delightful. This makes it perfectly suited to tickle the taste buds of connoisseurs and beginners alike.

Aged Bourbon Whiskies from the Americas

Elegant. Smooth. Refined. That is what four years of aging in newly charred American white oak barrels does to the bourbon, which goes into the delicate Oaksmith Gold blend. A method tested over more than 200 years of time – a method as old as the distillery that produces it.

Aged Scotch Malt Whiskies from Scotland

Oaksmith contains carefully selected Premium and Aged Scotch Malt Whiskies that speak of the pride and confidence of some of the most charming distilleries in Scotland. Crafted as nature intended, these precisely selected whiskies are known for wholesome maltiness, honeyed sweetness, a delicious creamy texture, and as much character as the Highlands of Scotland!

The Impeccable Craftsmanship of Japan

Japanese dedication to quality and craftsmanship is world renowned. Oaksmith Gold is a perfect representation of Takumi which in Japanese means ‘artisan’ or ‘skillful’ as it is an ode to Japanese craftsmanship. The rare blend has a fine balance of smokiness, sweetness and smoothness that was crafted by world renowned Shinji Fukuyo – Chief Blender at Suntory, the founding house of Japanese Whisky – after spending hours meticulously selecting aged spirits in oak barrels. The name – Oaksmith is a tribute to this craftsmanship, and the fine oak casks that Beam Suntory’s whiskies are aged in. From seed to sip, Oaksmith Gold is gentle on the nose and strikes a balance between the oak’s woodiness with notes of rich fruity sweetness giving it a clean and smooth finish. Further, to truly match it to the local palate, he travelled across the length and breadth of India to understand the nuances of Indian food and flavours and what could match perfectly with them.

What constitutes The Perfect Serve?

This beautifully crafted whisky blends well into any cocktail and pairs well with almost all flavour profiles of food. However, the perfect serve of Oaksmith Gold, is a celebration of purity, authenticity and high quality that comes alive recommended as 45 ml poured in a pre-chilled, wide mouthed whisky rock glass. Add signature Oaksmith Gold spherical ice for this Takumi ritual, if not, four big ice cubes or six small, and finally add water to taste, but no more than the pour size (45ml in this case).

Pricing and Availability

Oaksmith Gold brings Japanese mastery – otherwise a super-premium and luxurious phenomenon – to Indian whisky price points to elevate the product experience many notches above the standard segment offering. Oaksmith Gold is currently available in the states of Maharashtra, Telangana, West Bengal, Karnataka, Chandigarh, Goa, Assam, UP and ranges from Rs. 630 to Rs. 2,000 for a 750 ml bottle.

1 million cases in sales – Seagram’s 100 Pipers becomes the First and Only Scotch Brand in India to Smash the Record, yet again

Seagram’s 100 Pipers, the largest selling Scotch whisky in India, continues to achieve bigger milestones and set new benchmarks in the industry. It has proven itself to be a market leader, thought leader, and innovation leader. In the last business cycle, Jul’20 – Jun’21, 100 Pipers has broken not one but two records.

100 Pipers became the first and only Scotch brand in India to cross the 1 million+ case mark in annual sales, twice – a solid stamp on the consumers’ love for the brand.

Adding to this success streak, the brand’s premium variant ‘100 Pipers Blended Scotch, Aged 12 years’ crossed 100,000 Cases in annual sales for the first time ever since its launch in 2012. A notable performance by the aged variant – it is now the largest selling 12-Year-Old Scotch in India, confirming that “Age Matters” to the discerning Indian scotch aficionado.

Asserting its dominance in the Scotch whisky market, the brand had recently launched a new variant ‘100 Pipers Blended Malt Scotch, Aged 8 Years’. This is the first & only ‘100% Malt’ Scotch offering in the Standard Scotch category – a game-changing innovation by 100 Pipers.

With a global footprint spanning eight countries across Asia, Europe, Africa, Middle East and South America, 100 Pipers brings a truly international experience to the Indian consumers, with the widest range of unique Scotch variants. It is also the second largest Scotch whisky in Asia.

Commenting on the multiple achievements, Kartik Mohindra, Chief Marketing Officer, Pernod Ricard India said, “100 Pipers continues to shape the Indian Scotch segment and set new records. This is driven by its increased popularity among the younger, aspirational consumers who are resonating strongly with the brand’s purpose-led initiatives due to their uniqueness, authenticity and credibility.

Like, the international award-winning Legacy Project – which showcases endangered Indian art-forms via Limited Edition Packs and provides tangible livelihood support to artisans. Recognised internationally and in India by some of the most prestigious awards in the world for creative excellence, The Legacy Project won the Bronze Pencil at One Show Awards (New York), Merit at D&AD Awards (UK), Bronze at Spikes Asia, and multiple honours at Kyoorius Creative Awards.

Also, the 100 Pipers Play for a Cause platform that has been leveraging music for many years to raise awareness and funds for various social causes like meals for underprivileged, flood relief, etc. in addition to supporting the partnering musicians.

In addition to trendsetting campaigns, the young, aspirational consumers have also taken well to the newly launched 100 Pipers Blended Malt Scotch, Aged 8 Years. This category-first 100% Malt Scotch seeks to give younger consumers a unique experience that welcomes them into the world of Malt Scotch. With the discerning consumer increasingly experimenting with Malts, this eclectic and premium scotch showcases its craftsmanship and heritage that dates back to decades of scotch whisky making.

Overall, our strong performance over the years is a testament to great product craftsmanship, category first innovations, our differentiated and aspirational brand communication, and purpose-led initiatives – all coming together to help us build greater stature esp. amongst the younger consumers.”

As the largest whisky market in the world, India’s Scotch segment continues to be highly aspirational for whisky consumers. With sales hitting bigger benchmarks across variants and a keen eye on leading innovation, Seagram’s 100 Pipers is poised to continue as the dominant force in the market.

ASCI bans surrogate advertising in IPL

The Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) banned surrogate advertising of liquor during India’s showstopper event – Indian Premier League 2021 which however, got truncated, due to some players and franchise staff testing positive. Talks are on to hold the unfinished spectacle in the United Arab Emirates, like it did in 2020 without crowd attendance, to be viewed on a broadcast platform.

It was during 2020 IPL that surrogate advertising was active on television and digital medium, particularly OTT (over the top), the latter in the absence of clear guidelines. “The IPL broadcaster for TV has confirmed to the ASCI that all advertisements are checked for CBFC clearance so that they are not in violation of the Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act, 1995 (CTNR). Keeping that in mind, the ASCI processed complaints on advertisements appearing in OTT, digital and print media,” ASCI said. The association suo motu took up 14 complaints and some of the advertisers withdrew the ads.

Brand extensions have some leeway

The CTNR rules prohibited the direct or indirect advertising of cigarettes, tobacco products, wine, alcohol, liquor or other intoxicants in 2009. The Information & Broadcasting Ministry, however, allowed advertisements of products even if they shared a brand name with a liquor or tobacco product so long as it wasn’t a manifestation of the prohibited product. Advertisement of brand extensions of liquor and tobacco products is permitted under CTNR, provided the product sold under the brand extension does not make direct or indirect references to the prohibited product, it is distributed in reasonable quantity and is available in a substantial number of outlets, and the proposed expenditure on the advertisement of the brand extension product is not disproportionate to the actual sales turnover of that product.

ASCI guidelines for brand extensions

The Advertising Standards Council has ‘Guidelines for qualification of brand extension product or service’ wherein for an advertisement to qualify as a genuine brand extension advertisement (by implication, not surrogate), the in-store availability of the product sold must be at least 10% of the leading brand in the product category or sales turnover of the product must exceed `5 crores annually or `1 crore in the state where the product is distributed.

Age-old question, whether to allow liquor advertising or not?

However, the question that keeps raking up is an age-old issue – whether to allow liquor advertising / surrogate advertising or not? And the topic is universal leading to unending debates. Across continents, there are countries where liquor advertising is allowed and then there are as many countries that have banned / restricted advertising of alcoholic beverages. In the United States, spirits advertising has self-regulatory bodies that create standards for the ethical advertising of alcohol. In the UK, advertising for alcoholic drinks follows a code enforced by the Advertising Standards Authority, while the packaging and branding of the products is subject to self-regulation. In Thailand, alcohol advertisements are allowed but with a warning message. In South Korea, public advertising is allowed only after 10 p.m. In the Philippines, alcohol advertising comes with a disclaimer ‘Drink Responsibly’. In India, liquor advertising was banned after the Ministry of Health found that cigarettes and liquor had adverse effects on a person’s health. However, advertisements for liquor brand extensions can run on television only if they have a certificate from the Central Board of Film Certification. That led to the companies (manufacturers and also advertising agencies) becoming innovative with ‘surrogate advertising’ wherein unrelated products with the same brand name is manufactured / advertised and sold, only to ensure that the liquor brand name stays right on top of consumers’ minds. Unrelated products include mineral water, music CDs, soda, sports accessories and anything that can be advertised.

Active on digital media

The question here is when liquor companies are active on social media which is a major influencer, an indisputable force and not to mention its enormous reach, the whole idea of banning on OTT and television smacks of hypocrisy. It is indeed paradoxical that excise which is one of the top revenue earners for most states, going up to 15 % of the overall revenues, is not allowed to be promoted. There is a school of thought that believes if a product is allowed to be manufactured and sold, it should be allowed to be advertised, but that is over simplification as it will certainly be like opening up the Pandora’s Box.Gokul Krishnamoorthy who worked with an agency that handled United Breweries in an opinionated article in the Financial Express says “While ASCI banning surrogate ads by liquor brands during the curtailed IPL 2021 was a welcome move, it prompted a question in many minds. What explains the existence of a team called ‘Royal Challengers Bangalore’? One can’t help but remember that the current captain of the team Virat Kohli is idolised by a young boy in a health beverage commercial, among many others. Royal Challenge is a brand of whisky owned by United Spirits, which also owns the Royal Challengers Bangalore cricket team. If scale of presence, volume of advertising, market share and the likes are the key metrics by which one decides whether or not an alcohol brand can advertise its extension, then Royal Challengers Bangalore has no problem at all.” He goes on to add “The only seeming solution then, albeit rather simplistic and overarching, is that if a brand is present in a category where promotion is banned, it should not be allowed to promote itself in any context. It should be denied the right to promotion, whether for its shared corporate brand, for its extension, for its event, for its cricket team or whatever else.” Since such conundrums exist, there are those who feel that we need to shed this hypocrisy and accept that people do drink and reaching them is a legitimate part of a company’s business plans. The companies should be allowed to promote safe, moderate and responsible drinking. In states where there is prohibition this issue does not crop up at all. With digital media coming into play, some players have been advertising brand extensions as the CTNR does not apply to advertisements over the internet. This is changing as we have seen the government bringing social media under control. The digital medium is pretty nascent and governments are grappling with policies to rein in the medium. Indian liquor companies have been using social media to promote their brands. The UB Group recently tied up with a digital content company which produced a web series titled ‘Pitchers’, a five-part series on four friends trying to launch a start-up. With over 10 million viewers, the show got a rating of 9.7 out of 10 on internet movie database website, making the new concept of advertising, going beyond surrogate advertising. As rules become stricter, liquor brands will look at different channels – events, experiential, branded content and in-film, like ‘Pitchers’. As manufacturers need to advertise, one way or the other as to get their products sold, they have been innovative in how to get the message across.

Glenmorangie Highland single malt Scotch whisky cocktails from Moët Hennessy

This upcoming World Whisky Day, raise a glass and call in the celebration with Glenmorangie The Original 10 year old single malt scotch whisky. Have it by itself the old fashioned way or shake up some signature Glenmorangie cocktails as under.

Price (Delhi, Bombay, Bangalore) Glenmorangie The Original

Delhi – ` 4800

Bangalore – ` 7618

Mumbai – ` 7426

Glenmorangie Cocktail Recipes

ORANGE MINGLE

Glassware: Nick & Nora

Ingredients:

45 ml – Glenmorangie Original

2 ml – Orange Marmalade

10 ml – Aperol

15 ml – Lemon Juice

10 ml – Orange Juice

25 ml – Egg White

Orange Bitters

Garnish: Edible Flowers

Directions:

Add all ingredients to a shaker and reverse dry shake. Double strain into a Nick & Nora glass. Garnish with bitters and edible flowers.

THE ORANGE HIGHBALL

Glassware: Highball

Ingredients:

50 ml – Glenmorangie Original

50 ml – Soda Water

50 ml – Tonic Water

Orange Wedges

Garnish: Orange Wedge

Directions:

Fill a highball with ice and add Glenmorangie. Squeeze on wedge into the glass and then top with Soda and Tonic Water. Garnish with an Orange Wedge.

GLENMORANGIE GINGER LEMON

Glassware: Old Fashioned

Ingredients

50 ml – Glenmorangie Original

7.5 ml – Sweet Vermouth

7.5 ml – Ginger Syrup

2 Dashes – Angostura Bitters

1 Dash – Orange Bitters

Garnish: Lemon Twist, Crystallised Ginger

Directions

Add all ingredients to mixing glass filled with ice. Stir until well chilled, strain into an old fashioned glass with a block of ice. Garnish with a lemon twist and crystallised Ginger.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rampur Sherry PX Finish Indian Single Malt Whisky

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

Rampur Double Cask Indian Single Single Malt Whisky

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

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

Angus Dundee forays into the Indian retail market

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



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

What are the major activities undertaken in the Indian market?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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