The Rise in the Consumption of Craft Liquor & Myths about Alcohol

Short Description
One of the most common misconceptions is who drinks rum in India. Rum till recently was one of the largest categories after Whiskey.
  • Lalit Kalani Founder, Rock Paper Rum
Rock Paper Rum

With the changing times, India has witnessed a tremendous increase in the consumption of craft liquor. Consumers are willing to try new spirits, especially where they see good value for the quality and Indian brands have set their mark when it comes to quality products.

Lots of Innovation: At least 10-15 new brands have launched in the last two months across multiple categories of Gin, Rum, Whiskey, and Vodka. Brands like Paul John, and Amrut have already started making a mark in the international arena by representing India to a new standard. Indian craft brands are giving stiff competition to imported brands, especially in urban areas. Brands like Strangers, and Greater Than have paved the way for this new consumer segment, and the rising tide is now raising all ships. The next 10 years for Indian craft liquor are going to be very exciting with more new companies coming in. A similar trend happened in the US and Europe about 5-10 years ago and now we are seeing the same trends picking up in India.

Expanding portfolio: It's no secret that this rise has seen a shift in the quality of brands building momentum in urban cities, benefiting the industry as a whole. One brand at once makes a smaller impact, but the increase in the number of brands helps build a greater repertoire. Today more and more people are keen and interested in investing in or launching newer brands. We will also see celebrities associating themselves with liquor more than before. The taboo is being broken. And we have also seen how celebrities in the West have generated more wealth than their regular careers - George Clooney, and Ryan Renolds. The Rock with his tequila, and Bruno Mars now with a rum.

Merger is on menu: Observing and understanding the above trends, We will also be seeing a lot of M&A activity in this segment as larger companies will want to start participating in the growth of this new segment. We can already see this starting with Diageo investing in Nao Spirits. As mentioned, India has put up a fair representation in the international markets. Today’s consumers are aware of and are interested in premium quality craft spirits owing to changing cultural attitudes of the young and affluent population is a major contributor to the growth of the craft spirits market worldwide.

But even with all this growth, there are a lot of myths and misconceptions that prevail. One of the most common misconceptions is who drinks rum in India. Rum till recently was one of the largest categories after Whiskey. We have all grown up with Old Monk. We have started seeing the launch of new rums in the markets now. E.g. Rock Paper Rum, Makazai, Amrut which is mostly consumed during the Holiday season like Christmas and mostly during the winter, as most believe that Rum is primarily a winter drink. But traditionally Rum is made in tropical countries and hence is not only for the winters, in fact, a lot of our refreshing tropical cocktails are also made using rum. Another common misconception we see is the Gender biased drinking, the segregation of what a man’s or a woman’s drink should look like. Let it be cocktails or drinks like whiskey is no more just a man’s drink, and Gin is no more a woman’s drink. People are having their drinks in the best ways suitable to each taste and preference. Most believe that Gin as a category is saturated in the markets.  But it is still one of the fastest-growing categories and has surpassed rum very quickly!

As a whole, in the coming years, we foresee rapid growth in the craft liquor market and we must welcome newer brands as I believe one cannot be a game changer we need newer brands that will push the limits and break these misconceptions that will, in turn, result in increased options for the consumers looking for new and exciting craft spirits in the market.

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