Home / Companies / News /  Khoday’s bets big on single malt whisky with new launch

Bengaluru: Bengaluru: House of Khoday, maker of the iconic Hercules rum, is taking a bold bet on the Indian consumer’s long-standing tryst with whisky by launching a new single-malt brand priced at a steep premium to other homegrown labels. With aggressive market share targets, Khoday’s expects this move to be a “game changer".

The company’s single-malt whisky entrant, Peter Scot Black, is currently available in Karnataka, Punjab, Rajasthan, Chandigarh, Goa, Daman, and Silvassa. It plans to launch the brand in 16 states by 2020, and has also set itself a market share target of 10% during the same timeframe. The Bengaluru-based firm expects to sell 10,000 cases of Peter Scot Black by the end of its first full year of launch.

“We are confident that we will be the numero uno brand in the Indian single malts category. The profitability of the single malts segment will change the game for the company," said Swamy Khoday, executive director of House of Khoday, or Khoday’s as it is called. The company was set up in 1951 by Ramachandra Khoday. It was the company’s late vice-chairman, L. Srihari Khoday, who conceived the idea of launching a single malt under the Peter Scot brand in 2008.

Peter Scot Black is priced at 4,300 for a 750 ml bottle in Bengaluru. At a rough calculation, that’s about 800-1,100 costlier than what Amrut and Paul John’s single malt whiskies retail for in the city. Even Diageo Plc’s Singleton, the 12-year-old imported Scotch expression, costs only around 500 more than Peter Scot Black.

Amrut (Amrut Distilleries Pvt. Ltd) and Paul John (John Distilleries Ltd) have managed to carve out a name, acceptance and respect for themselves at the global single malt whisky stage. Before Amrut blazed the way and was named the third best malt whisky by whisky expert Jim Murray in 2010, Indian single malt whiskies were virtually non-existent as a concept globally.

“The Peter Scot Black is really nice but they should have worked hard on the labelling and pricing. Consumers are confused when we tell them the price because the packaging is not appealing enough. It should have been priced below 4,000 because that way, consumer trials would have then been easier to come by," an executive of a chain of liquor stores that has started stocking the brand said, requesting anonymity.

According to Khoday’s, Peter Scot Black was compared with Glenfiddich (William Grant & Sons) and Glenmorangie by consumers at blind tasting sessions it held in India. Should the launch prove to be a success, it would certainly boost its financial performance. Premium whiskies, especially single malts, fetch some of the highest profit margins for alcoholic beverage companies. Even Radico Khaitan launched an Indian single malt whisky brand called Rampur in 2016.

“Single malts are the ultimate aspiration standard underlining premium lifestyles. Increased discretionary spends over the years have expanded the size of the premium spirits market. Peter Scot and Peter Scot Black single malt will further leverage these enablers for our growth in the premium and super premium spirits category," Swamy Khoday said.

Khoday India Ltd, which used to be the listed group entity of the family-run firm, delisted in 2013 and last filed results with the BSE for the year 2017-18 in June 2018. That filing showed its net standalone income declined 6.37% to 138.258 crore as losses climbed 24.35% to 10.74 crore. The company said its turnover for the year ending 2018 was 590 crore.

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