Modi Illva India, 50:50 joint venture between the Umesh Modi Group and Italian liqueur maker Illva Saronno, is trying to find its feet in the Indian Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL) category.

Armed with a vodka and whiskey brand in its portfolio, the recent entrant into the space said it was looking to corner a 2 per cent market share in the whiskey category. The company said it may introduce brands from Illva Saranno’s global portfolio including Tia Maria.

“We wanted to get into the IMFL category and found a partner in Illva Saronno. They looked at the opportunity in the Indian market and launched products just to cater to the domestic market,” Abhishek Modi, Managing Director, Modi Illva said. Modi Illva’s whiskey named ‘Rockford Reserve’ and vodka ‘Artic’ are pegged in the super premium category and are priced over Rs 700.

It may be noted that brands that cost between Rs 600 and Rs 900 fall in the super premium category. Modi said the blended whiskey will be manufactured at it distillery in Modinagar, which has a capacity of five lakh cases annually.

According to various market estimates, India’s whiskey market stands at 160 million cases, with vodka at 3.8 million cases. Of this, the premium whiskey segment is estimated to be around 5-6 million cases a year. Rockford will compete with Blenders Pride, Signature, among others, while Artic will compete with brands such as Smirnoff and Absolut.

Without divulging any numbers, Modi said the company will be investing 4-5 per cent of revenue towards marketing and branding.

(This article was published on May 24, 2013)
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