Mumbai: Allied Blenders & Distillers’ Officer’s Choice has toppled UB Group’s McDowell’s as the world’s largest selling whisky brand, according to a report.
According to a July report from the globally renowned trade magazine International Wine & Spirits Research (IWSR), the Officer’s Choice whisky, from the house of Kishore Chhabria-led Allied Blenders & Distillers (ABD) is the world’s largest selling whisky with a volume sale of 17.10 million cases in 2011.
With this, McDowell’s from the UB stable is down to No. 3 slot selling 16.39 million cases in 2011.
The world’s No. 2 whisky brand is the Johnnie Walker from the house of Diageo with 16.68 million cases.
“Yes, our Officer’s Choice is the world’s largest selling whisky brand today, according to the latest IWSR data. Considering our short history, this is a feat and going forward, we hope to maintain our lead,” ABD Vice-Chairman and Chief Executive Deepak Roy told PTI here.
This also makes the Officer’s Choice the world’s eighth- largest spirits brand, just behind the renowned Bacardi Rum from Bacardi-Martini, Roy said quoting the IWSR numbers.
Meanwhile, the world’s No 1 spirits brand is the Jinro from the Korean beer major Hite Brewery, with 64.59 million cases in 2011. The Jinro is called Shochu/Soju in Korea.
McDowell’s is now the 10th largest spirits brand in the world.
UB Group has five of the top 20 spirits brand in the world with the Bagpiper whisky (at No 11 with 16.03 million cases), Celebration rum (13th position with 15.4 million cases), McDowell’s brandy (15th position with 13.25 million cases), and the Old Tavern whisky at the 18th slot with 11.30 million cases, according to IWSR data.
Notably, UB Group’s Kingfisher Airlines has been facing fund crunch and near bankruptcy, and has fallen from the No 2 airline in the country to the lowest in terms of market share, with under 5 per cent last month.
Roy, who holds 5 per cent in ABD, was the Man Friday for Mallya for a decade from 1983 to 1993, when he was poached by Diageo and made him Diageo India chief executive.
During Roy’s stint at the UB Group, the industry veteran handled various marketing and management positions in McDowell’s and Herbertsons.
He also spearheaded Triumph Distillers & Vintners, an UB umbrella firm and the manufacturers of Gilbey’s Green Label.
In just 10 years, he was not only instrumental in growing two ‘millionaire’ brands for UB, but also helped revive the other brands.
In December 2002, Roy led a management buyout by acquiring Diageo India’s whisky business and successfully sold it at four-times premium in just over two years.
Currently, Allied Blenders & Distillers’ (ABD) is the third-largest spirits company in the country with volumes of 18 million cases in FY12. The company has grown at a CAGR (Compound Annual Growth Rate) of 25 per cent in the past five years, making it also the fastest-growing spirits company in the country. In FY08, ABD’s volume stood at 6.6 million cases.
From being a single-brand company a little over four years ago, ABD today has multiple brands which has a presence in almost all the categories within the spirits industry — whisky, rum, vodka and brandy, Roy said.
ABD has manufacturing/bottling bases in 37 locations spanning 19 states with 14 sales offices and employs over 500. Recently, ABD launched the Jolly Roger rum, which is a Jamaican pot-still dark rum, creating a new segment in the rum
ABD also recently launched the Class 21 vodka, which it claims is the country’s first grain vodka, available in three flavours- orange, apple and fusion of apple and orange.
It also recently brought in the Wodka Gorbatschow, which is the largest-selling vodka in Germany.
To fill the brandy gap, ABD also recently launched the Lord & Master brandy in the South, apart from launching the Officer’s Choice Blue, a premium extension of the flagship Officer’s Choice whisky.
The domestic spirits market was 286 million cases in FY12, growing 8 percent over FY11. Though the domestic market is largely a whisky-dominated with 56 per cent market share with 160 million cases, last fiscal the brandy segment grew 19 percent with whisky logging in a growth of only 6 percent.
The contribution of other categories within the IMFL are – brandy 69 million cases, rum at 45 million cases which grew flat last fiscal, vodka at 8 million cases growing at 2 percent and finally gin at 4 million cases growing at 7 percent.
Within whisky, the semi-premium segment is one of the fastest growing segments with sales of 41 million contributing to 21 percent of whisky sales.