Indian single malts make ‘sipping success’, outsell global brands


 ‘Make in India’ initiative has enthused a dynamic wave in the homegrown whiskey industry, driving significant growth in the locally produced premium options category

This is official. Indians guzzle more whisky than any other nationalities in the world with the country emerging as the world’s biggest Scotch whisky consumer by volume. 

It has been several years now that the confirmation came from the UK-based Scotch Whisky Association (SWA). That India is the world’s biggest Scotch whisky-consuming country by volume, overtaking previous topper France.

But what has been trending news in the recent years is the arrival of Indian single malt and premium whisky brands. From Amrut to Indri and Rampur, Indian brands are game changers.  

So admirers of Indri, Rampur, Paul John and Amrut are all over the world now.

The Government of India’s ‘Make in India’ initiative has enthused a dynamic wave in the homegrown whiskey industry, driving significant growth in the locally produced premium options category. 

This move is further evidenced by the 23 percent growth recorded in local whiskey brands last year, compared to a more modest 11 percent for imported foreign brands, Hospitality Lexis Media reported, quoting Ayaesha Gooptu, Head of Domestic Spirits, Bacardi India.

The data highlights a major milestone for Indian single malt whiskey, reflecting a burgeoning consumer preference for high-quality products from the homegrown brands.

Last year (2023) was an unforgettable year for the Indian whiskey industry as the homegrown single malts sales created history by surpassing imported foreign brands, according to data shared by the Confederation of India Alcoholic Beverages Companies (CIABC), the representative body of leading Indian alcohol beverage companies.

As per CIABC, of the total sales of 6,75,000 cases of single malts in the country last year, around 3,45,000 were retailed by domestic makers while the remaining 3,30,000 were by Scottish and others.

According to CIABC data, the homegrown single malts clocked 53 percent of total sales in 2023.

The industry body said some of the top Indian brands of single malts were Amrut, Paul John, Indri, and Gianchand among others.

Of these ‘Made in India’ single malt whiskey brands, Indri-Trini has also created a history separately by emerging as the fastest growing single malt whisky in the world ever after surpassing the 100,000 cases milestone within just two years of its introduction.

Indri-Trini, under the ownership of Piccadily Distilleries, has claimed to hold over 30 percent of market share in India, with a growth rate of 599 percent compared to the previous year.

According to reports, no other single malt whisky from any other country, like Scotland, Japan, or Taiwan, has managed to achieve the 100,000 cases milestone within just two years of launch. 

Whisky Magazine, citing leaders in the Indian whisky industry, reported that the shifting demographic of whisky drinkers in the country – leaning younger, with more disposable income – was precipitating changes in the sector, with more premium products – both malts and blends – leading the charge.

With this remarkable achievement, the homegrown Indri-Trini brand has earned a coveted position among the elite club of top-selling single malt whiskies worldwide.

The homegrown whiskey brands are not cheap, some of them are expensive too. 

Indri starts at $37 a bottle (around Rs 3,000), Amrut at $42 (around Rs 3,500), and Rampur $66 (around Rs 5,400) in shops in NCR (National Capital Region), while in comparison, France-made Pernod Ricard’s Glenlivet retails from $40 (around Rs 3,200) to $118 (around Rs 9,800), depending on the whiskey’s age.

Unlike many Asian nations where beer dominates the alcohol market, India is predominantly a whisky-drinking nation, and in response to this drink-India trend, global whiskey brands that have focussed on single malts aged in Scotland are looking to Indian whiskies to tap the boom in one of the world’s biggest whisky markets, according to a report by Mint.

Popular global whiskey brands such as Glenlivet and Talisker by Britain’s Diageo fight for shelf space with Indian rivals Indri, Amrut, and Radico Khaitan’s Rampur, and the craze for Made-in-India brands has prompted Diageo and Pernod Ricard, to join local brands.

According to a Mint report, Pernod’s larger rival Diageo in 2022 launched its first Indian single malt — Godawan, which was named after a large, endangered Indian bird, that sells in five foreign markets, including the United States, while Pernod launched Longitude 77 in 2023.

Data from IWSR Drinks Market Analysis shows India’s homegrown single malts soared 144 percent in 2021-22, beating the 32 percent growth in Scotch, while for the period until 2027, it predicts, consumption of Indian malts is set to grow 13 percent a year compared to Scotch at 8 percent.

After Indian single malt Indri Diwali Collector’s Edition 2023 won the ‘Best in Show’ Double Gold award at the prestigious Whiskies of the World Awards, whisky expert Jim Murray in an interview to Scottish newspaper The Herald, said: “I’m not at all surprised that Indian whisky is winning awards. In the last 15 years or so India has been making very good whisky and the fact that an organisation has given it world whisky award doesn’t surprise me at all. It has been obvious for a while that it has become world class.”

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