French spirits major Pernod Ricard known for its brands Blenders Pride and Absolut Vodka plans to improve its manufacturing capabilities through automation in order to increase productivity in India.
Gagandeep Sethi, Vice-President of Manufacturing, Pernod Ricard India, told businessline the company is looking at mechanising layout changes, debottlenecking and other applications of robotics. “We are looking into opportunities of automating to take productivity numbers to levels not previously seen in the spirits industry,” he said.
Pernod Ricard aims to not only deliver products that are superior in quality but also use technologies like artificial intelligence to ensure safety and behaviour management, said Sethi. He added that the company is on a digital transformation journey and is working with configuring partners to make a majority of its plants’ lighthouse factories.
The company in India operates through its two distilleries in Nashik (Maharashtra) and Behror (Rajasthan) apart from 29 bottling sites. The company manufactures its brands Royal Stag, Blenders Pride, and Imperial Blue in India. Other products like Absolut Vodka and Chivas Regal from its global portfolio are imported to the Indian market. According to Sethi, 97 per cent of its India sales volume is produced in India itself.
Pernod Ricard sees a huge runway in the Indian market and is bullish on the premiumisation trend in the industry. Its sales last year grew 26 per cent and is seeing growth at CAGR of 17 per cent year-on-year, according to Sethi. India recorded a volume of around 53-54 million cases last year.
“There has been a shift in consumer behaviour, premiumisation is gaining interest as discretionary spending is increasing in the country. Consumers are also experimenting beyond traditional whiskies and are now showing an increased interest in tequila, gin, and ready-to-drink alcohol beverages,” Sethi said.