In a country where alcohol business is seen as a complex bureaucratic process and where each of the 29 states regulate their own laws on it, a recent report by IWSR, says that despite all the roadblocks, Scotch whisky in India has witnessed double digit growth of 11% volume growth.
India being the sixth biggest global destination for Scotch whisky has a significant influence on the global whisky market. “Demand is being fuelled by a rising consumer base of young consumers who are becoming more affluent in a country where the global reach of some of the smaller cities is becoming more significant, diluting the historical whisky sales bias towards the big three cities of Mumbai, Delhi, Gurgaon and Bangalore,” shared the report titled, ‘The volatility of the Indian whisky market’.
With the new affluent consumers preferring premium products, the value of whisky market in India is increased by 17% last year. According to the report this is a long term trend, with the average price of whisky in India nearly doubling in ten years to $7.18 for a litre.
In 2017, the liquor industry reported a major blow in their sales figure as a result of Supreme Court’s ruling on banning the sale of alcohol within 500 meters of nearly all state and national highways. Consequently liquor companies projected a decline of around 10-19% sales due to this.
On the contrary in 2018, the liquor industry got a boost by no new regulatory or tax interference. “The premuimisation process resumed and prompted the emergence of some pioneering and cult Indian whiskies; companies like John Distillers and Amrut Distillers are raising the bar for Indian whisky,” the report mentioned.
Most of the younger brands in the market are trying to contemporize the category of Scotch whisky to make it more appealing and accessible, be it the young drinkers or the 35 years old plus ones. “Restaurants and bars now have started to include whisky in cocktails which is making the category more relevant to the female drinkers too,” it added.
“Currently, the Indian Whisky category is strong: its innovation is bringing new consumers into the category and is building its profile among whisky purists, both internally and externally. Whether this trend will continue with the ever-present threat of Federal or State disruption remains to be seen; the category is prone to taking one step forward and two steps back following government regulation or tax changes.” the report added.