Historic first for Indian single malts: Homegrown brands outshine global giants with 53% market share in 2023
The success of Indian single malts signifies a shift in consumer preferences and a growing appreciation for the quality and uniqueness offered by domestic brands, marking a new era in the world of spirits.
In a surprising turn of events, the sales of Indian single malts have surpassed those of global giants like Glenlivet, Macallan, Lagavulin, and Talisker, marking a significant milestone in the spirits industry. According to early estimates from the Confederation of Indian Alcoholic Beverage Companies (CIABC), Indian single malts have secured a remarkable 53% share of total sales in 2023.
In 2023, the total sales of single malts in India reached approximately 6,75,000 cases (nine litres each). Strikingly, around 3,45,000 cases were retailed by Indian-origin makers, while the remaining 3,30,000 were attributed to Scottish and other international brands. This noteworthy achievement is seen as a testament to the rising prominence and quality of Indian single malt whiskies.
Vinod Giri, the director-general of CIABC, told TOI that local brands experienced a substantial growth of around 23% in 2023, outpacing the more conservative 11% growth observed in imported single malts. This development is hailed as a significant milestone for Indian whisky makers, highlighting their journey from being underestimated a decade-and-a-half ago to becoming leaders in terms of quality and refinement.
"It's not everyday that such a feat is achieved. From being mocked around till just a decade-and-a-half back, Indian whisky makers have come a long way as they are now second to none in terms of quality and refinement," Thrivikram Nikam, joint MD of Amrut Distilleries told TOI.
Tapping into the growing preference for 'Made in India' brands, even global players like Diageo and Pernod Ricard, traditionally sourcing their single malts from Scotland, have entered the fray by launching local brands. Diageo introduced Godawan in 2022, while Pernod recently entered the market with its first Indian single malt, Longitude 77.
Kartik Mohindra, Chief Marketing Officer at Pernod India, attributes the success of Indian single malts to the diverse and fast-growing market in India. He notes that the younger audience is eager to experiment with niche products, creating a demand for newer and unique offerings.
Paul P John, chairman of John Distilleries, which produces single malts in Goa, believes that foreign brands are now "panicking" as Indian companies grow in prominence. "They were caught napping and are now trying to catch up. Unfortunately, they are taking short cuts, and are producing stuff here that they don't understand. India has arrived," he told the publication.
Indian single malt makers are challenging the traditionalist views held by Scotch puritans, who often emphasize the importance of 'Scottish weather, Scottish water, and Scottish barley.' Prem Diwan, chairman and MD of Devans Modern Breweries, highlights the fantastic quality of Indian single malts, attributing their demand to this excellence. He contrasts the experimental nature of Indian makers with the more traditional processes of Scottish counterparts.
Kartik Mohindra from Pernod acknowledges that there is ample demand for all players in the market to continue growing. The success of Indian single malts signifies a shift in consumer preferences and a growing appreciation for the quality and uniqueness offered by domestic brands, marking a new era in the world of spirits.