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Raising a toast to whiskey lovers! India one of the key emerging markets for Jack Daniel’s globally

Jack Daniel’s has strong brand recall here and is growing at a healthy rate over the past few years, with consistent double-digit growth in the past decade

Tasmayee Laha Roy @tasmayee

When it comes to the choice of whiskey, millenials in India are drinking exactly what their counterparts across the world are. The growing interest in whiskey cocktails in India and the spurt in craft cocktail bars around us are visible proof of this growing interest, says Vineet Agrawal, Marketing and Commercial Director - India Area at Brown-Forman Worldwide LLC, the same brand popular for selling Jack Daniel’s whiskey.

In a chat with Moneycontrol, Agrawal talks about the recent trends among whiskey drinkers in the county, flavoured whiskey, the brand’s plans for India and much more.

Edited Excerpts:

Q: Tell us about the recent launches of Brown-Forman in India. Tell us about the collection and the price range.

A: We recently launched the Jack Daniel’s Bottled in Bond and Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Fire in India. Jack Daniel’s Bottled in Bond is a rich, bold whiskey that honours the 1890s – the era when Mr Jack Daniel began bottling his whiskey in his signature square bottle (1895) and the US government passed the Bottled in Bond Act (1897). Jack Daniel’s Bottled-in-Bond replicates those rules that were set more than 120 years ago. The ‘Bottled in Bond’ designation is only awarded to whiskey aged at least for four years, distilled during a single season at one distillery.

Charcoal mellowed through 10 feet of sugar maple and aged in handcrafted American white oak barrels, this bold whiskey is a robust reminder of Jack Daniel’s commitment to quality. Bottled in Bond is now available exclusively at the Delhi Duty Free store at $40 (Rs 3,000) for a one litre bottle. We are also excited to introduce Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Fire, which is now available across India and is priced at Rs 4,000 in Delhi, Rs 4,590 in Bangalore and Rs 4,400 in Mumbai.

Q: Who is the target audience for Brown-Forman? How much is the average spend on whiskey in your target audience?

A: With increasing disposable incomes, increasing international travel and increased exposure to global brands, we see consumers above the age of 25 years demanding quality and craftsmanship in brands they choose to consume and associate with.  We are seeing a clear premiumisation in the choices these consumers are making towards their preferred brands of spirits.

Q: Given the fact that people do not shy away from loosening their purse strings when it comes to choosing their favourite whiskey… do you have a luxury collection for the connoisseurs?

A: Yes, we do have a super-premium range of whiskies for the discerning consumers in India who are constantly seeking newer expressions from our family of brands. These include both permanent extensions as well as special editions to mark special occasions. Back in 2016, we had launched a limited edition to celebrate 150 years of our distillery. Currently, our most premium edition available is the Jack Daniel’s Sinatra Select, which costs $150 at the duty free and between Rs 25,000-30,000 in the domestic market. The Jack Daniel’s Sinatra Select is our tribute to the timeless friendship between Frank Sinatra (American singer, actor and producer) and Jack. We also have other premium brands like Jack Daniel’s Gold and Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel.

Q: Educate us on flavoured whiskey. How is the trend catching up?

A: Jack was an innovator and was always exploring how to do things differently. This included adding different spices and ingredients. Ultimately, he wanted everyone to have the opportunity to enjoy Jack Daniel’s in a way that fit their palate. At Jack Daniel’s, we believe whiskey drinking is a personal journey and we want to have something for people at every step.

In 2014, we launched our first flavoured variant — Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey — in India and have recently added a cinnamon-infused variant in the country, Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Fire. Innovations like these not only give our current consumers more choice and increase the occasions to drink our products but also helps us attract new consumers to the Jack Daniel’s family. The initial response for both these variants have been very encouraging.

Q: Tell us about the new consumption trends. What are the millennials drinking?

A: We think the Indian millennial consumers above legal drinking age are no different than their counterparts across this digitally connected world. We are seeing a growing interest in whiskey cocktails in India and the spurt in craft cocktail bars around us are visible proof of this growing interest. A lot of these consumers are increasingly choosing American Whiskey as their preferred beverage choice.

Q: How important is India as a market for Brown-Forman? Tell us about your future plans.

A: India is one of our key emerging markets globally. Jack Daniel’s has a strong brand recall here and has been growing at a healthy rate over the past few years with consistent double-digit growth in the past decade. We plan to build on this and continue on the growth path. The increasing cocktail culture, premiumisation of the retail environment and the urban lifestyle of consumers in India also hold a promising future for Jack Daniel’s in India. We also believe that we have the right portfolio in India to target different consumer tastes and preferences in the country.

First Published on Oct 11, 2018 05:23 pm
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