Indians may not be drinking all the whisky distilled in Scotland. But they are downing a large share of anything which is sold as whisky.
India is the largest spirit market in the world, (particularly whisky and scotch) both in size and volume, says a new global study released Wednesday. According to British consultancy The International Wine and Spirits Record (IWSR) Indians downed over a billion litres of spirits in 2006.
By 2011, that is expected to touch a whopping 1.3 billion litres. Almost all of it - 99 per cent - will be locally made 'Indian Made Foreign Liquor'. But even at 1 per cent, Scotch imports are expected to cross 13 million litres by 2011, IWSR estimates.
Indian tipplers will have a lot of Asians for company. At 1.04 billion nine litre cases in 2006, the Asia-Pacific region is the world's largest market, accounting for 47 per cent of all spirits drunk in the world, says the survey, conducted by IWSR in collaboration with Vinexpo. Asia Pacific is followed by Europe. The Americas come third. “The bulk of these high volumes in India are accounted for by Scotch and other whiskies,” said Dominique Heriard Dubreuil, Chairman, Vinexpo Overseas, which is also organizing Asia’s largest wine trade exhibition – Vinexpo Asia Pacific -- at Hong Kong from 27-29 May, 2008. “It is because of the high local production that India has today become the largest spirit market in the world,” Dubreuil added. This trend is in contrast to what is prevalent worldwide, where growth of spirits sales is slowing. “World consumption of spirits reached 2.213 billion nine litre cases in 2006, up 6.2 per cent compared to 2002. It will continue to grow, but at a slower pace of 1.8 per cent between 2006 and 2011, when it should reach 2.25 billion cases,” says the study.
It attributes the slowdown to falling consumption in Europe and decreasing popularity of ‘local’ spirits like aniseed-based, rice alcohols, aquavit etc. throughout the world.