Spirits brands innovate to stay relevant with the new customer

Amrita Nair-Ghaswalla Mumbai | Updated on January 24, 2020

The alcohol beverage space represents a highly innovative and dynamic environment for growth, with Diageo India intent on raising a glass to the new consumer as many begin to explore and push conventional boundaries.

The many opportunities in the Indian market allows spirit brands to continuously reinvent and innovate, insists Nitesh Chapru, Chief Innovation Officer at Diageo India.

“In India, the alco-bev category is highly under-penetrated and has amongst the lowest per-capita consumption compared to other developing countries around the world,” Chapru told BusinessLine in a telephonic interaction.

The growing socialising and celebration of occasions has got consumer patterns undergoing a metamorphosis. “There is a paradigm shift, more than ever before, and it is a great opportunity for brands to innovate with their offerings,” adds Chapru.

Chapru is currently driving inorganic revenue growth for Diageo India and is responsible for core brand relaunches and line extension innovations on core brands.

The company’s portfolio of brands include Johnnie Walker, Black Dog, Black & White, Vat 69, Antiquity, Signature, and Smirnoff.

Brands in the alcohol beverage category need to innovate in order to stay ahead in an ultra-competitive market characterised by rapidly changing consumer demand. More so, when people are choosing to cut back or cut out alcohol altogether.

“As a brand we see opportunities in building a strong foothold into cultural caches which are constantly evolving,” says Chapru. This year, the brand reinvented this play in culture and the opportunity to dive into young affluent lifestyles with the line extension of Scotch Hipster.

The Hipster is premium Scotch made portable, with Chapru stating it will make the drink more relevant for Indian consumers and their spontaneous social occasions.

The Scotch Hipster is a ‘new to world’ format, adds the executive, and is intended to reframe Scotch as a contemporary and stylish category and place it at the heart of ‘The Future of Socialisation’.

Research by Diageo showed the increasingly digital lifestyle of consumers has been driving fundamental changes to the way people socialise. Planning ahead is a thing of the past, with consumers more intent on a spur-of-the-moment socialising.

The drinks giant is now looking at how it can create innovative products and market its brands in this rapidly changing social environment.

“A smaller pack size is a way to rewrite the narrative around Scotch and connect with the young adults,” says Chapru. The Hipster aims to allow consumers enjoy their drink in a smaller, portable size, and hence, drive more spontaneous social experiences, he adds.

Published on January 24, 2020

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