New Delhi– Current trends in the alcohol, beverage industry and data points that the Whiskey segment is only getting stronger. Aspri Spirits, a premium liquor importer driving a lifestyle trend in the alco-bev industry of India, puts the spotlight on Scottish Leader, one of their distinguished brands. Scottish Leader is a modern brand, the connects diverse perspectives to deliver a characterful drinking experience.
In a candid interaction with IANS, Guirec Danno, MD Aisa Pacific, Distell International details key insights about the whisky market in India, including the trends that are dominating the segment.
The whisky market is being driven by millennials today. What are your views?
Guirec Danno: There are a few reasons why millennials are driving the whisky market in India. The middle class in the country is expanding rapidly with over 150 million people entering the middle class every year. They have a significant disposable income, are experimental, and curious.
These millennials are contributing to the growth of the whisky segment in India and have made it the largest whisky market in the world. While scotch comprises only 3 percent of the 220 million standard whisky cases consumed annually in the country, more millennial consumers are getting into this segment with each passing day.
What according to you will be the market trend for the whisky segment in the year 2023?
Guirec Danno: Numerous trends are taking place in India with premiumisation being one of them. Owing to additional disposable income, young consumers today are looking for better quality products and this trend is rising rapidly in the country.
Another trend that we are witnessing is that female consumption of whisky is picking up. While 10-15 years ago, the consumers of whisky were primarily men, it is not the case today as about 25 per cent of conversations around it are happening among women. Today women are looking at different mixes and cocktails which was not the case two decades back.
Also, consumers today want to educate themselves on finer details like the composition of the product. In cities like Bengaluru, we are witnessing that consumers are walking in stores and experiencing the product.
How do you believe that your brand stands amongst its peers and what is the unique point of appreciation that can be attributed to it?
Guirec Danno: The liquid quality of Scottish Leader and its packaging is far superior to a lot of brands that are available in the market today. Our claim of higher quality is backed by several awards that we have bagged in India and across the globe.
What was your marketing strategy regarding the packaging?
Guirec Danno: Scottish Leader as a brand is only 50 years old and is comparatively young since scotch whisky has been around for a few 100 years. We are looking at it from a very modern perspective. Our packaging is very simple, straightforward, and striking and our master blender, Julieann Fernandez is the youngest in the world. She is a talented, young professional who operates with a team of 15 people and has been recognised as the best master blender last year.
However, the real challenge for us is the promotion of the product as unlike other product segments, the advertisement of liquor is not allowed in the country. To overcome this challenge, we studied each market and witnessed that there was a different market leader for the scotch whisky category in every market. Citing this, we framed our strategies in line with the market leader in every market.
We extensively focussed on millennials and made them experience our product and that’s how we started promoting the brand. We also focus more on the expertise of the individuals while onboarding them as brand ambassadors because they know why we want to promote the product in such a way.
Why has the Indian market become so important for international brands?
Guirec Danno: I believe three reasons make India stand out in the scotch whisky market. The first one is, of course, the economic growth, as about 150 million people in India have the means and the aspirations to experience whiskey.
Secondly, India is the largest whisky market with an annual sale of 220 million cases of standard whisky. Adding to that, the scotch whisky segment has been rising at a CAGR of 20 per cent and is expected to continue growing in the coming years.
The third element involves young consumers including females and millennials that are entering the whisky category. They are trying new cocktails and sharing their experience on social media.
What will be your marketing strategy for 2023?
Guirec Danno: We incepted our operations with a focus on the distribution of the brand and have marked our presence in the top 15 markets, with the help of our partner Aspri Spirits. In 2023, we will continue to focus on enhancing our distribution in more cities and towns and strengthening awareness about our brand.
At the same time, we are significantly focusing on the opportunities of PR, Digital promotion, Print, etc., and have also participated in several cocktail events in cities like Delhi, Gurgaon, and Mumbai.
Scottish Leader has touched a CAGR of more than 70 per cent and the growth of scotch whiskey in India is expected to be above 20 per cent in the year 2023.
What about targeting Generation Z with social media or influencer marketing?
Guirec Danno: Since the promotion of liquor is prohibited in India, it happens at a more personalised level where somebody who can relate to the brand, and experience the brand says I like it, and then we move forward with that.
We also conducted a campaign last month which was an initiative for the southern markets. As a part of that, we picked up about 15 influencers in three cities and sent them whisky hampers. (IANS)