Premium Scotch brands to raise a toast for Pernod Ricard in India

Abhishek Law Kolkata | Updated on August 18, 2021

Kartik Mohindra, Chief Marketing Officer, Pernod Ricard India

Seagram’s 100 Pipers drives sales volume

With the pandemic leading to change in liquor consumption patterns and a preference for whisky, Pernod Ricard — the second largest spirit maker globally — is witnessing greater traction here for premium Scotch brands driven by Seagram’s 100 Pipers.

At its global analyst concall in June, the company said: “India is stable in the 9-month period (July 2020 – March 2021)” with all key brands registering double-digit growth in Q3 (January – March). International brands portfolio and “a better mix within the Seagram Indian whisky portfolio” were attributed to the improved numbers.

Volume growth

New variants in 100 Pipers — that include blended malt offerings among others — are either being expanded or are in the launch stages. This comes at a time when the brand, 100 Pipers, registered 19 per cent volume growth in FY21, selling over 10 lakh cases in the country. Pernod Ricard’s accounting year starts from July 1. The last time it crossed the one-million-case mark was in 2018.

The premium variant ‘100 Pipers blended Scotch, aged 12 years’ crossed 100,000 cases in annual sales, a first for the spirit-maker.

100 Pipers is the largest selling Scotch brand here, by volume sales, and is the market leader having 2x the size of its nearest competitor. It falls in the “bottled in India Scotch’ category and competes with the likes of Black & White and Black Dog.

According to Kartik Mohindra, Chief Marketing Officer, Pernod Ricard India, the double-digit numbers come at a time when the average growth in the premium whisky segment has been at 7-8 per cent.

Consumption pattern

“There has been a change in drinking pattern with people buying into whisky as a form of self indulgence. The first time drinkers too are starting with whisky as more and more drinking occasions come-up at home. Existing consumers are also upgrading and taking to premium variants like the ‘12-year’ blended Scotch one or the recently launched ‘8-year-old blended malt Scotch offering,” he told BusinessLine.

Expansion of new variants — like the 8-year-old blended malt Scotch — is being carried out from July onwards with markets opening up post the second wave of Covid-induced lockdowns, including the prime markets of Delhi and Maharashtra.

“More launches are in the pipeline and there will be premiumisation of portfolio in the 100 Pipers brand too,” Mohindra said adding that “whisky is amongst the fastest growing segments in India” and there is “enough headroom”.

Mass brands (or IMFL) in the whisky segment include Imperial Blue and Royal Stag.

India outlook

According to Helen De Tissot, Executive VP – Finance and IT operations, Pernod Ricard SA, resurgence in Covid led to the company “facing some restrictions in key States of Maharashtra and in Delhi (and others)”.

“The type of disruptions we have taken into consideration in our guidance. So what we're expecting in Q4 (April to June) is at least the very good question, disruptions, for sure. We will monitor very closely the situation there,” she said during the investor call.

Published on August 18, 2021

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