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NEW DELHI : Moët Hennessy India, part of the French fashion conglomerate LVMH - Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, has launched limited-edition drink mixers in collaboration with non-alcoholic drinks brand Svami.

In a first, these curated non-alcoholic mixers have been crafted to be paired with the company's vodka, whisky and cognac range (Belvedere, Glenmorangie and Hennessy), for in-home consumption for Indian consumers, said the company.

Moët Hennessy India’s head of marketing Sophia Sinha pointed to the shift in consumption of liquor from bars and pubs to homes, as the pandemic kept people indoors for the last 18 months. For a large part of 2020, India was under strict lockdown with restaurants and bars remaining shut. Even earlier this year, the second covid-19 wave kept people confined to homes.

With high discretionary incomes and no avenues such as travel or eating out to spend on, consumers have started enjoying drinks at home and upgraded and picked up more premium products.

"Many consumers started cocktailing at home but found that there was no way to make an easy simple cocktail that tasted the same every time," said Sinha. For this, the company has made three different natural flavours to go with one each of its spirits.

The pandemic saw many new product categories take off. Within the mixing space, the burgeoning “home premise" drinking category has made the company rethink many of its existing strategies and tweak them towards home drinkers, Sinha said. "We had to pre-empt consumption behaviour to predict the next trend and collaborations that are India specific. Programs built around (the likings of) the Indian palate are seeing growth," she added.

For now, the mixers will be focused on the Indian market and will have a limited production for the major metros. By the end of the year, the mixers will be available pan India wherever these alcohol bottles are purchased. For starters, the company will roll out an "on-pack offer", with the three mixers offered complimentary.

Aneesh Bhasin, co-founder of Foxtrot Beverages that runs Svami said with this collaboration they wanted to offer a great home drinking experience. "These products have been created along with Moët Hennessy for them. It is a great story for a global liquor powerhouse to work with a homegrown brand," he said.

Vikram Achanta, founder of Tulleeho, a Delhi-based drinks training and consulting firm said it is a smart co-branding move. "It could also help Moët Hennessy build brand awareness and traction across a wider platform and Svami too will benefit from the association. Since this is a limited-edition product, it will be linked to the festive season," he said.

Other brands too are entering such collaborations. Jimmy's Cocktails that started operations in the pandemic has tied up with a craft gin brand Greater Than (called Cherry-Sour) for a similar style mixer which will hit shop shelves by December. It is also working with three other global brands in India to create similar co-branded products.

Ankur Bhatia, founder of Jimmy's Cocktails that is run by Radiohead Brands, said even before the pandemic in-home liquor consumption had grown and has jumped significantly in the last 18 months. "In every glass of alcohol consumed, nearly three parts contains some kind of mixer. That's where we and a lot of our competitors are operating. Alcohol brands are also realising that people are mixing their drinks with such products and that's what is leading to the growth in this category," Bhatia said.

Jimmy's raised 6 crore in seed funding this year.

Achanta of Tulleho agreed that there’s a lot of excitement in the non-alcoholic category, with many Indian brands launched across sub-segments in the last couple of years. “This is definitely here to stay," he said.

Alcohol consumption in India was pegged at 5.4 billion litre in 2016 and was expected to reach 6.5 billion litre by 2020, said research firm Statista. According to a study released by Lancet in 2019, India's alcohol intake was up by 38% in seven years between 2010 and 2017.

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