Two more foreign brands add fizz to India's vodka market

PTI Posted online: Sunday, Jan 19, 2014 at 0000 hrs
Mumbai : The premium vodka market in India, growing at over 25 per cent and dominated by imported brands like Absolut, Grey Goose, is set to sizzle further with the entry of two more Russian brands.

The brands - Russian Spirit and Kruto - are also making their global debut from here.

These premium brands are distributed by US-based Russian Spirit Inc, owned by Uzbekistan Jew Roman Tallis, through Mumbai-based importer Mir Spirits, while the marketing is being handled by Mahesh Chauhan of Salt Brand Solutions.

Russian Spirit Inc Founder-President Roman Tallis, here to launch the brands, told PTI that India is a natural market for his business considering the large size of this market due to its huge young population, the target for his products. His firm is listed in the US.

These brands on an average undergo a gold filtering of 15 times and distilled over 10 times, making it a very smooth drink, Tallis claimed and added that the rivals have no gold filtration while distilling is hardly 5-6 times.

Tallis, who is also into telecom backend services under the WDT brand and works with Bharti Airtel and Tata Tele with international callings cards, said the products will be launched in Mumbai this week after the good response they received in Goa, where in two weeks they sold over 70 cases.

On pricing he said, while the Russian Spirit has a price tag of Rs 3,500 (nearly half the price of the largest selling brand Absolut) Kruto, which in Russian means 'cool', is priced at Rs 1,850 in Mumbai.

Mir Spirits Director Neha Kapadia said the premium market is around 9 million cases, or Rs 4,500 crore, and is growing at over 25 per cent. All premium brands are imported.

Kapadia said the Rs 30,000-crore liquor market is dominated by IMFL at 70 per cent (of this whisky forms 60%), beer (11%) and country liquor (19%). But in terms of volume IMFL is 36 per cent, beer (33%) and country liquor (31%).

Tallis and Chauhan said they are targeting sales of over 25,000 cases in the first year and 1.7 lakh cases in the second year of operations. Tallis' company, set up in 2011, will invest around Rs 10 crore for marketing the brands.

On expansion, Tallis said after Goa and Mumbai, they will move to Bangalore and Pune next month and by April, the brands will be available in Delhi. Rajasthan, Haryana and Chandigarh will follow thereafter. Tallis further said he will be bringing in his bottled water brands to India soon.

Russian Spirits Inc has close to 30 million bottles a month capacity at its Ukraine plant and posted USD 250 million in revenues from the vodka business last year.