Editorial: Singluar Strides

Jun 09 2014, 01:07 IST
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SummaryThe Indian whiskey market is starting to mature as single malts become the tipple of choice

There has been a change at the top in India’s single malt whiskey market. Last month, Glenlivet overtook Glenfiddich to become the largest-selling single malt in India. The Glenlivet 12 Years led the single malt category with a 25.2% market share, which just edged out the Glenfiddich 12 Years’s 24.8%. Both retail at around the same price, between R2,800-3,000. Glenlivet is owned by Pernod Ricard, one of the three big global spirits companies, while Glenfiddich is made by William Grant & Sons, one of the few privately-held whiskey manufacturers in Scotland. As with the whiskey, the Indian market for single malts seems to be maturing. Glenlivet registered a 30% annual growth rate which also made India one of the top-ten markets for the brand globally and ended the over 10-year reign of Glenfiddich.

While blended scotch whiskey sales in India grew 9.1% last calendar, single malt reported a growth of 9.8% and is poised for an annual growth rate of 24-26% in the current decade. No wonder India has become a prime target for the giants. The biggest of the three, Diageo, which is poised to take over Vijay Mallya’s United Spirits, has a portfolio of classic malts like Talisker, Lagavulin, Dalwhinnie and Cragganmore. The Talisker 10 Years reported a 50% growth in volume to make to the list of the top-five bestselling malts in India. The other top malts in the segment include Beam’s Laphroaig 10 Years. Beam Suntory is among the big three. India is the world’s biggest whiskey market and trends show that domestic scotch whiskey drinkers and younger drinkers are switching to single malts, which means that the next few rounds in the single malt battle in India should see plenty of action. Slàinte!

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