New Delhi: In a bid to encourage more people to try their drinks and attract younger consumers, liquor companies are pushing smaller bottles—60ml and 90 ml—into the market, besides innovating on packaging options.
Brands such as Bacardi Black, Royal Challenge and Teacher’s Whiskey are bottling their liquor in smaller, convenience packs making sampling not just easier but cheaper. For instance, a 60ml Bacardi superior rum is priced at Rs 50 in Delhi. (Alcohol prices vary across states.)
Manish Seth, director, sales and marketing at Bacardi India, said smaller bottles are important to generate trials among young people. “Consumers, especially the young, are becoming more demanding and look for variety. They do not want to commit themselves to a larger pack as they want to be able to try different variants,” he said.
Bacardi India is seeing rapid growth (in the double digits) in the 60ml pack size, though this still accounts for a small proportion of overall volumes. Over the next two-three months, Bacardi India will also introduce a 90ml pack in the market.
Last year, Bangalore-based Manjushree Technopack, which offers packaging solutions to consumer companies such as Unilever, Procter and Gamble and Pepsi among others, signed up with Bacardi India Pvt. Ltd, United Spirits Ltd and Diageo India Pvt. Ltd to package their liquor brands in smaller units.
According to Manjushree managing director Vimal Kedia, these companies are now seeking to sell 60ml packs aggressively. There has been a 15-20% increase in demand for the 60ml bottles in the past two years, he said. “Initially, the sale of packs in this size was restricted to hotels and airports, but now we are seeing the demand shifting to liquor shops.”
According to Seth, the increasing availability of smaller bottles in the alcohol market is a trend comparable with the sachets that changed the face of the consumer products business.
United Spirits, which dominates the whisky market with brands such as McDowell’s No. 1 and Royal Challenge, sees smaller bottles as encouraging upgrades. “Consumers like to try higher priced brands once in a while and the 60ml/90ml packs provide an economical way to upgrade to premium brands,” said Prakash Mirpuri, vice-president, corporate communications, UB Group. UB sells five million cases a year of 60ml and 90ml bottles, but in terms of volume, these still account for a mere 4.4% of the firm’s sales.
Ankur Bisen, associate vice- president, retail, at consultancy Technopak Advisors, views this as a key step in reaching out to the target audience. “This is an important starting point to ensure your customer comes back.” He also observes that young people are a big driving force for consumption of alcoholic drinks such as beer, vodka etc. The fact that 60% of Indians are below the age of 29 has a profound implication for this category. “When they begin to drink, the fact that it can be tried easily becomes important,” Bisen said.
According to an Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry report in November 2011, India’s alcoholic beverage market will reach more than Rs 1.4 trillion in 2015 from its current size of about Rs 50,700 crore.