Bacardi India betting on whisky to boost market share
Mumbai: Cuban rum maker Bacardi is introducing its portfolio of global whiskies in India in an attempt to boost growth and market share in India’s whisky-dominated spirits market, a top company executive said.
Bacardi India, which largely sells Bacardi white, dark and flavoured rum and Bacardi Breezer, has introduced new premium variants of its Dewar’s whisky in India, Anshuman Goenka, category head of Ready to Drink for Bacardi’s AMEA (Asia, Middle East, and Africa) region, said in an interview.
“Of course, historically Bacardi rum has been at the forefront of what we do. This year, we are a lot more bullish on our brands like Dewar’s and William Lawson’s scotch,” he said. The company has launched all premium versions of Dewar’s whisky including Dewar’s 12-year-old, Dewar’s 15-year-old and Dewar’s 18-year-old, Goenka said.
“These as we speak are being distributed all across India. Now this portfolio is complete. We have William Lawson’s as our entry-level scotch. We’ve also got a single malt called Aberfeldy which has a connect with Dewar’s as well,” he added.
After monitoring the performance of these brands, Bacardi India will consider bringing in more of its global whisky portfolio to India, Goenka said. Some of these include Irish whisky Teeling, rye whisky Angel’s Envy, and premium single malt Craigellachie, among others.
This switch in strategy comes at a time when Bacardi India has been struggling with its performance and market share. Bacardi India ended financial year 2016 with sales worth Rs474.71 crore, up 12.83%, as per the latest available documents with the Registrar of Companies. The company declined to share latest figures. The company’s losses also rose 19.95% year-on-year to Rs369.44 crore for the same year.
Bacardi India’s share of the Indian spirits market has stayed stagnant at 0.4% by volume, as per data from market research firm Euromonitor.
Besides, this market led by the UB Group and United Spirits Limited is largely dominated by whisky. By value, the whisky market in India has grown 30.68% between 2011 and 2016 to Rs1.24 trillion, as per data from market research firm GlobalData. However, in the same time period, the market for rum has shrunk 9% to Rs19,100 crore in 2016, GlobalData found.
“I think rum, as you rightly said, has been struggling as an overall category in India. But we are playing in premium rums. Actually what is stagnating is cheap rums. Bacardi over the last few years has been growing phenomenally well on the back of its rum portfolio. Last year, we crossed 1 million cases,” Goenka said. “So the premium segment in rums is growing quite fast.”
Bacardi declined to share its market share in premium rum or how much of its revenue come from the sale of rum. However, the company’s plan to sell more premium whisky is a sure-fire sign that the rum giant is changing strategy to serve Indian consumer trends better.