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Alcohol companies, which saw healthy growth in the summer months, aim to ramp up supplies in October in anticipation of a robust festive season. As the pandemic wanes, alcohol makers are gearing up to secure supplies expecting an improvement after two years of subdued celebrations.

Nao Spirits & Beverages, which makes gin brand Greater Than, expects to double sales from the previous year’s 53,000 cases. The Diageo India-backed gin maker typically sees an increase in sales October onwards in Maharashtra, Delhi and Goa. “A lot of this supply will be pushed out during the festive season," said Anand Virmani, the company’s co-founder and chief executive officer (CEO).

The pandemic didn’t allow customers to indulge in festivities for the last two years, said Amar Sinha, the chief operating officer of Radico Khaitan, the maker of various kinds of Indian Made Foreign Liquor. “This year the festive quarter looks very promising," he said.

Beer maker Medusa Beverages Pvt Ltd. has tied up with three breweries in North India to cater to growing demand after two years of a complete washout, said Avneet Singh, founder and CEO of the company. Sanjit Singh Randhawa, managing director, Bacardi India &South East Asia, said the company is seeing demand across categories ahead of the festive season for both at-home and out-of-home channels.

“The past two years have altered drinking behaviour significantly and consumers are now leaning more and more towards premium and super-premium alcohol, a trend that is going to gain prominence during the festive months, as discerning consumers seek to enjoy high-quality drinks," Randhawa said.

Bacardi India has expanded its premium spirits range in the last few months with the launch of Dewar’s Japanese Smooth and the brand’s super-premium Double-Double range. It also introduced Bacardi Anejo Quatro, Bacardi Reserva Ocho and Bacardi Gran Reserva as part of the premium rum range.

“We are experiencing growth above our pre-covid levels and our premium portfolio of brands across whisky, rum, gin, vodka, tequila, sparkling wines and ready-to-drink are well-positioned to win this festive season," Randhawa said.

In India, October to January are considered good months for alco-bev companies.

Vinod Giri, director general, Confederation of Indian Alcoholic Beverage Companies (CIABC), a body that represents domestic brands such as Amrut Distilleries, Third Eye Distillery and Devans Modern Breweries, said pan-India sales have been seeing strong growth now and the festive season will give the much-needed fillip to business.

However, Delhi might play spoilsport as its revised alcohol policy has left many liquor firms in a flux and unable to supply their brands to the new stores in the city.

Currently Nao is not available in Delhi and hopes to be selling by the end of this month, provided it gets its clearances.

“The potential for the products is great in Delhi at this time of year and it would be unfortunate if we were not available around this time," said Virmani.

Last October, companies expected to tap into Delhi’s large market around Diwali but the change in excise policy left liquor firms with excess stock.With the Delhi government reverting to the old policy from September 1, the city is in churn again.

Ishwaraj Bhatia, co-founder and COO, Simba Beer, said while the company was expecting the sales to accelerate in 2021 but the effects of the pandemic were pervasive last year, they are hopeful for this festive season. “We have witnessed 35% growth post pandemic and have ramped up supply by 20% to cater to the demand of the ongoing festive season. We are expecting a major chunk of the festive sales from Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Punjab, Delhi, Karnataka, North East and Jharkhand," he said.

 

 

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