It is time to rejoice as Indian whisky brands drive the growth chart of fastest growing brands list published by IWSR. According to the August issue of the magazine, Allied Blenders & Distillers (ABD)-owned Officer’s Choice took the title of the fastest-growing spirits brand for the second year in a row.
Although its absolute volume gains slowed to 18.1% compared to 29.3% in 2013, this slight setback was not enough to prevent the Indian whisky from overtaking Smirnoff by nearly 3m cases in terms of total volumes, having already surpassed both Johnnie Walker and McDowell’s in 2013 to become the biggest global whisk(e)y.
Officer’s Choice has its feet firmly planted in the working-class section of Indian society, having historically targeted blue collar workers and daily wage earners.
The only non-Indian whisky in the top five is Fireball, the whiskey-and-cinnamon liqueur owned by Sazerac. Since 2009 Fireball has increased exponentially by 3,160%, from 130,000 to 4.2m cases in 2014, and jumped from 11th to third place in the last year. Yet the biggest instance of growth was seen last year when it nearly doubled from 2.2m cases, all while the global liqueurs market lagged behind, achieving growth of only 2.3%. The brand’s popularity is partly down to the way in which owner Sazerac has utilised social media to inspire demand among Millennials, as well as the cultivation of bartenders, and was able to achieve all this on a relatively small advertising budget.
There are a seven Indian whisky brands in the top 25 and another five brands whose key market is India. As the second most-populous country on the planet and one of its fastest-growing economies, the opportunities within the Indian spirits market are plentiful.