For Delhi corporate lawyer Alphus, weekly parties are a given, where he loves a good single malt served straight on the rocks.
“I treasure my collection of single malts,” he says. Alphus, who goes by his first name, exemplifies the Indian upper-middle class, which earns and spends well. “I travel often and buy liquor from duty free stores,” he says.
At parties he likes to gift a bottle of Glenfiddich or Glenlivet. He is part of the burgeoning number of upper middle class customers that add to rising spirit sales in India.
A recent report by the International Wine and Spirits Record (IWSR) reveals India’s fast growing pace in the booze circuit. While whisky has seen a surge of 14.5% Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) for the year 2009-2010, it is the single malt segment that has emerged as a winner, registering a growth of 28.4% CAGR.
Even the wine market is not far behind. “Wine is increasing at a massive rate of about 30-35% per year,” says Debjit Dasgupta, country manager, Ace Beveragez, dealers in fine wine. “Nowadays people are also choosing to gift wine on occasions. Call it a status symbol, or just plain curiosity, the fact is that Indians are opening up to learning more about.”
Arun Barathi, COO of Delhi Duty Free Services (DDFS), that offers over 140 varieties of single malt and scotch, says liqour sales are on a high. “The mid-premium range of blended scotch whiskies have been popular, over the last year, there has been a surge in the sale of single malts,” he says. IWSR attributes India’s growth in this segment to its increasingly important status in the world economy, and the consequences this has on personal wealth.