Beverage industry raises a toast to making it happen

If it were just a numbers story, we could say the country’s alcohol industry is on track to recover from the 2020 Covid-induced slump, aiming to sell 345 million pre-Covid cases by the end of this fiscal year. tackle.

Behind the numbers, however, is a taste sensation – that of a tendency towards innovative offerings and premium products. When the pandemic pushed people to make it happen, they were ready to embrace quality and experimentation. The industry also responded to this sentiment with ready-to-drink drinks, new flavor profiles or even smarter packaging, say with mixers or accessories. Says Ipsita Das, MD, Moët Hennessy India, who sells Dom Pérignon, Moët & Chandon, Veuve Clicquot, Hennessy, Glenmorangie, Ardbeg, Belvedere brands in India: “We recovered in 2021. Our unit sales grew by almost 33% in 2021 compared to 2019, and our operating profit margin surpassed pre-pandemic levels. This is all thanks to premiumization, innovation and fueled by a higher disposable income of consumers.” The idea is supported by Abhishek Shahabadi, VP and head of portfolio, scotch & premium whites, Diageo India, which has Johnnie Walker, Black Dog, Black & White and Vat 69 brands in the Indian market. business quiet for a quarter as the first wave ebbed, we saw a rapid recovery in sales, led by a sentiment of consumption and premiumization.Business recovered better after the second and third wave, as consumers learned to take full advantage of the to enjoy life.” Thirvikram Nikam, joint MD of Amrut Distillery, pioneers of Indian single malt, says new launches have boosted the brand’s sales by 20% in the two years of the pandemic. “Increased state of mixed purchases. Gradually premium products started to do better than expected. Uncertain about the future, people started buying in bulk, which stimulated sales.” In October 2020, the company launched two limited editions in Naarangi and Triparva, followed by the Fusion X. Amrut entered a new category with the Nilgiris Indian dry gin in December 2020. In September 2021, Amrut experimented again with the launch of Neidhal Indian single malt.

For Moet Hennessy, the launch of the new Chandon identity in 2021 and the new brand direction for Glenmorangie and Belvedere ensured premiumization. As consumption shifted from restaurants to home, the brand teamed up with Svami to create a ready-to-eat range that gave the company a new growth channel.

Vinod Giri, director general of the Confederation of Indian Alcoholic Beverage Companies (India), the representative body of Indian alcoholic beverage companies, says the introduction of premium products in the ready-to-drink segment is a healthy sign of market development. “We are witnessing a wave of innovations in the Indian alcoholic beverage market. We previously saw the rise of Indian craft gin and now the RTD segment is witnessing brand launches with a diversified offering. Consumers are experimenting with experiences beyond the purely functional benefit of alcohol, which not only adds new consumers to the alcohol category, but also accelerates the social acceptance of alcoholic beverages as a normal consumer product.”

Radico Khaitan, owner of 8 PM Whiskey, Magic Moments Vodka and others, is also on the wave of home consumption. Chief operating officer Amar Sinha says: “People were eager to experiment with their drink while at home and tried drinks they might not have had before, such as craft whiskey, craft rum, and craft gin. The change in preference for premium is also a change in the health aspect as consumers became aware of quality and did not mind paying extra to taste premium flavors. Another factor is the psychological behavior of the internet generation, who want to portray themselves on social media as acceptors of experimental consumption.” He points out that the propensity to go premium has increased as people saved money by not going to bars and restaurants and could afford to kick up the spirits selection with the same amount.

Siddharth Wadia, Managing Director India, Middle East and North Africa, Brown-Forman Worldwide, the company that owns Jack Daniel’s says the second half of the year has seen a strong turnaround, with the most encouraging aspect of the recovery being accelerated growth in premiumization.

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