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Professional 2018-03-21

Why India Could be the Next Big Market for Whisky Lovers

Jeff Arnett, Master Distiller at world number one whisky brand Jack Daniel’s is bringing that joy of journey to the Indian consumers.

What will be Jack Daniel’s strategy for Indian market further?

If Jack Daniel’s took off in India it would be really tough for us. The market and people have started to evolve. Our target is to give our best in the market. Jack Daniel’s doesn’t rely on what market is for success but we ride the world economies. Our driving principle is to ensure that we maintain quality and consistency with not just our products, but also the way our brands are positioned and the way we talk our brand to the consumers. The ambition is to be number one whisky brand in India. 

We feel it is the right time for the Indian market for which we have right mix products, resources in the country, developing interests for the brands coming in from out of the country and we want to be the part of that. Around 40 percent of our revenue comes from the US and the rest 60 percent comes from 160 countries around the world.

Are you customizing the products for diverse Indian market?

For different markets, we do make more affordable and accessible products. We are continuously trying to understand this market and evolve our strategies. We will put five products in the market that we think are relevant. For affordability, we have launched smaller SKUs to make our products more accessible to the consumers. Globally we have 10 products in our portfolio and over the next three years, there may be 12-13 products. In general, whiskies have evolved towards better.  

How Jack Daniel’s can be more relevant for vodka preferring young generation in India?

Whisky is back in the trend again for most of the globe. It’s not more of year- on- year change it’s a generation of choice. The overriding trend is that people are going for more flavours for spirits. There are different brands that are doing extremely well but in general, they are not keeping pace with whisky. India definitely seems to be whisky friendly. We are a serious whisky maker but at the end of the day, we want to create products that people like drinking.

Do you think Honey and Fire will move towards more serious whiskies?

Hopefully honey and fire is the whisky which has certain elements which lead whisky drinkers to taste other styles as well. I think they will because we found a lot of young people aspiring for Honey and Fire at the first step. Honey has sweet flavours of its own so it doesn’t necessarily pour with another sweet cocktail. With honey, you don’t necessarily need coke.

How do you find awareness about the brand among Indian consumers?

Indian consumers travel around the world today and also with the advent of digital media and social media the exposure is far higher amongst young legal drinking age consumers. People want to learn more about the good brands in the market.  A lot of mixologists are coming out of this country and doing well even at global platforms. There are many whisky cocktail bars opening in the market because there is a demand. 

Do you believe education about Jack Daniel’s in the F&B community is very important?

Partly, because there are a lot of brands out there. If the consumer recommends Jack Daniel’s and bartender doesn’t know about our brand then there is a chance that he will be served cocktail. I am trying to educate the community because we have a better reason why we are successful and make great products.   

What is your personal approach towards distilling whisky?

I being a master distiller never compromise with quality. I always say do ‘whatever it takes do it right’. I want to feel good that everything put out is worthy under the Jack Daniel’s name.

How do you define that whisky is the journey of life for most people?

I do believe that for most people whisky is the journey. In general, how older you get you tend to drink less and better. In college years you drink in volume, irrespective of the quality of the whisky, but as you get older you don’t drink in big volume but something nice and that can have quality, and a lot of people do that for lifetime. Thus, palate and preference changes. We have a portfolio that kind of reflects what people want to explore.   

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