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Imported gin appeals to new-age drinkers

Bacardi's Bombay Sapphire is the dominant player in the premium imported gin segment with sales estimated at 21,000 cases this year, up from 14,000 in 2014.

, TNN|
Oct 29, 2019, 11.45 AM IST
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The growing number of international brands has given a push to import numbers.
Gin is not very popular in India. Its sales are small — 2 million cases (of 9 litres each) — compared to even rum (42 million) and vodka (10 million). But imported or premium gins are steadily gaining acceptance among new age drinkers, who are exposed to global trends and like to experiment. Imports touched 50,000 cases this year, up from 20,000 five years ago, as per data from alcoholic beverages research firm IWSR.

“There is a gin resurgence in the country and it is part of the trend that exploded globally about five years back,” says Aastha Gupta, brand manager of premium white spirits in India and Southeast Asia for Bacardi. “It also has a lot to do with the fact that the younger generation is drinking less but better and treat gin as a casual drink.”

Bacardi’s Bombay Sapphire is the dominant player in the premium imported gin segment with sales estimated at 21,000 cases this year, up from 14,000 in 2014. The Cuban rum maker launched a super-premium version of it — Star of Bombay — two years ago and has plans to introduce another two variants from its global portfolio next year.

French spirits maker Pernod Ricard has introduced the premium gin Monkey 47 in India besides its Beefeater. United Spirits, controlled by Britain’s Diageo, has a toehold in the segment with Tanqueray and Gordon’s.

The growing number of international brands has given a push to import numbers. The growth is being helped by newer outlets increasing the distribution reach.

In India, it languished as it was perceived to be for the elderly. But that has undergone a rapid change now with more bartenders using gin as a base to come up with innovative cocktails and the emergence of craft gin makers such as Nao Spirits, Greater Than, Hapusa and Third Eye Distillery. These companies are redefining the drink by adding botanicals like mugwort and seaweed, as also Japanese yuzu plums and the time-tested grapefruit and citrus.

“Gordon and Tanqueray are the small steps to get our gin portfolio seated in the market. We will bring more of our global innovations to India. A lot of work needs to be done in category creation,” says Abhishek Shahabadi, head of Diageo India’s premium core and luxury portfolio. The two brands have sold 5,000 cases since being launched a year ago. While Diageo has a presence in the value category through Blue Riband, it has been de-growing for some time now.

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