USL uses Black Dog to expand scotch biz

Written by Corporate Bureau | Kolkata, May 10 | Updated: May 11 2008, 05:33am hrs
United Spirits Ltd is going all out to increase its 62% share of the India-made foreign liquor (IMFL) market in eastern India, focusing on premium scotch whisky, the fastest growing segment here.

Kaushik Chatterjee, chief operating officer, east, said USL's activity is now centered around Black Dog 8YO, a premium scotch whose only rival in the market is Teacher's Highland Cream.

"The scotch market in eastern Indian has been growing consistently for the last two years, at an average of 40%," Chatterjee said. In fact, the market is growing at 50% in new areas like Assam and Arunachal-albeit on a low base-and at 35-40% in West Bengal.

Black Dog, a 125-year-old brand, has two variants the 8 YO or eight-year-old, and the 12 YO, which falls in the super premium category. Black Dog 12 YO's platform is jazz.

To stress Black Dog 8YO's platform of a "timeless classic", USL has brought Elvis Presley tribute singer Stephen Kabakos to India for a nine-city tour. Kolkata was the second stop after Delhi. Guwahati will be the third.

"We will also organise bar tasting sessions, brand awareness campaigns and scotch appreciation programmes," Chatterjee said.

According to Chatterjee, while the overall IMFL market in eastern India has grown by 10%, USL has notched a growth of 19%. USL sold nine million cases in the east last year, against over 73m nationally.

Chatterjee said the new tax structure created by the state budget is very positive and will help the market grow.