Published On 10/01/2015

Digital Push critical for Liquor Industry

Digital Push critical for Liquor Industry


Pernod Ricard, the French-based global spirits behemoth, has one of the most luxurious and largest liquor portfolios in the world. With close to 50 labels in its kitty, including names like Absolut vodka, Chivas Regal whisky, Jacob’s Creek wine, Beefeater gin and Mumm champagne, the company entered India in 1993. On celebrating 25 years of its presence in India - Kartik Mohindra, Chief Marketing Officer of Pernod Ricard India (PRI) – chats with ET about Indian liquor industry and Bengaluru’s position in its scheme of things.

1. What is the top new liquor trend in India?

In the recent years, the way people consume alcoholic beverages in India has transformed radically due to economic growth, independent lifestyles, proliferation of social drinking occasions, rise in consumption by women, and social and international influences on lifestyle choices, leading to experimentation.

With extensive exposure to global trends, discerning consumers of Bengaluru now seek profounder expressions to enhance experience. Changing workplace demographics and less formal rapport has resulted in an increase in inter-generational socialization, leading to a more responsible relationship with alcoholic beverages, faster upgradation, and direct premiumization. Thus, we see craft whiskys like single malts, like The Glenlivet aged 50 years, coming to the forefront.

2. What sells better in Bengaluru - whisky or vodka – from your portfolio of brands?

India is a whisky-strong nation which forms 80% of the country’s total consumption. On the remaining 20% pie-share, Bengaluru has been over-indexed as the White-Spirits market.

Having said that, the cosmopolitan city brings in a diverse-experimental audience. White spirits like Absolut vodka is widely consumed. We are also witnessing a boom in gin consumption, the trend being fuelled by the cocktails on-ground and digital content online.

3. How significant is Bengaluru for PRI?

While Delhi and Mumbai rank higher in overall consumption, Bengaluru emerges as the frontrunner in experimentation and adaptation of new trends. As the melting pot of cultures, Bengaluru tops the charts for our product launches in India. Even in the luxury segment, newly-introduced single malts such as Aberlour, Scapa to Longmorn, and premium gins such as Monkey 47 have witnessed strong adoption in Bengaluru.

4. With their short-attention spans and strong drive for novelty, how are you planning to tap the millennials?

Millennials give priority to experience and knowledge. Thus, for any business to prosper, it is vital to appeal to tap the millennials and Generation Z. The evolution of world-class F&B venues has led to a burgeoning demand for experiences that match the venue.

Outburst of trends such as increase in cocktail explorations, and consumption of different liquor categories by the same consumer exemplify the experimental nature of millennials. Our immersive cocktail and mixology events such as Jameson BarTrenders and Absolut MashUp witness the highest participation from Bengaluru.

Winning millennials on social media is another strategy. Our research shows that five out of six millennials connect with companies on social media, and spend about 25 hours per week online. We continue to align our marketing expertise in this direction, especially for our leading brands such as Chivas Regal and Monkey 47.

5. What is PRI’s next plan for the Indian market?

Luxury spirits are an important focus area for us and we plan to build on them enormously. Creating rituals, stories and a sense of excitement about how the drink is made, poured and presented at the bar through consumer appreciation sessions really makes a premium product stand out from the pack. These experiences allow consumers to become a part of the brand; creating memories and ‘sharearable’ digital content.

We have also witnessed an upsurge in discerning whisky aficionados travelling from India to visit heritage whisky distilleries like the home of Chivas Regal, Strathisla Distillery in Scotland. (Originally established in 1786, Strathisla is the oldest working distillery in the Scottish Highlands). Such bespoke experiences, across our portfolio of brands, will pave the way ahead.

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