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Professional 2016-05-04

Uncovering the finest scotch

Whisky sessions are a growing at restaurants and hotels in India, James Arney, Brand Ambassador for Ballantine’s scotch whisky in India talks to us about the growing trend of whisky in India.

By Deputy Features Editor
Uncovering the finest scotch

How has whisky session evolved in India?

I think there is a lot to do with the culture. The concept of whisky testing is a very new concept in India. In my opinion people are afraid to taste scotch drinks. What we will be doing is something different; to provide entertainment and make people taste the product. People in India are very brand oriented. We started giving choice to consumers because the entire whisky brand is not available in India because of FSSAI and other legal parameters.

What is overall whisky consumption in India and globally?

In terms of whisky in general India is the largest consumer of Whisky in the world. My top selling brands ballantine’s do 74 million bottles globally and Royal Stag which is available in India sells 180 million bottles. India is a very competitive market. France, China and US is some of the top markets. And, today everyone is telling India is the next.

Which is the highest selling whisky in India today?

In India by volume Chivas Regal is the highest selling whisky.

How about Ballantine’s?

Ballentine’s consumption is quite low. UK is the expensive place to buy whisky. In France we do about 9-10 million boxes, but here we do 600 thousands boxes. So, over all in Asia India is among top ten market for Ballentine’s.

What is the number of sell for Chivas as compared to Ballentine’s?

We are doing 74 million boxes of Ballantine’s and around 40 million boxes for Chivas because of the price difference they have.

What is the challenging in bringing brands to India?

In India if you import you have to pay minimum 100-150 per cent taxes on alcohol. Meanwhile, FSSAI is testing all the ingredients. That’s the reason smooth companies are not operating in India, bouquet whisky is not present in India.

Which is the top consumption market for whisky in the world?

France is the largest scotch whisky market in the world, China, America, India is big, Japan is being big, Africa is pushing things up, Brazil is big in certain markets. 

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