Foreign liquor bullish about prospects in Punjab

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Chandigarh, Sep.19 (ANI): With affluent Punjabis developing a liking for imported liquor, foreign liquor companies affected by the global slowdown in the West are bullish about their prospects in the market in Punjab.

Many international brands are keen to explore latent avenues in Punjab.

Be it Johnnie Walker, Green Label, or Teachers... one can access it without effort.

"India is one of the world's largest markets for alcohol and has huge growth potential," said Vinod Mittal, proprietor of MG Store.

Today, enjoying foreign liquor has become a status symbol among the affluent Punjabi families. And consumers are delighted with the easy availability of foreign brands here.

"Definitely, it has made a difference. Previously, you know, people had to go abroad. Only from airports you could get higher brands. So the availability of these brands and, beer brands like Carlsberg and Tuborg has really made a difference. I think it's fantastic. I think if it expands to other markets like the wine industry for example, it would even be better," said Dushyant Singh, a liquor enthusiast.

In 2008, 170 million cases of beer were sold in India.

Each Indian consumes about five litres of beer, compared with 25 litres per head in China and 160 litres per head in the Czech Republic.

TVB Craft Breweries, a Delhi-based brewer, enjoying strategic technical partnerships with a group of Australian Craft Brewing Companies has rolled out a new brand of beer-Little Devils - in five flavours.

The company is planning to invest 12 million dollars to set up local brewery in India.

"We have launched in eight States and it has been a fantastic response. As you said lager beer is hugely popular and continue to be hugely popular but at the same time throughout the world its has been growing only 3-4 % over the last three years whereas craft beer is growing at an average of 12 percent and that is because I think a lot of people basically want a lot of different selection, a lot of different flavors. So the Indian market is behaving exactly the same as everywhere else. We are bringing in new flavors. Everyone is really interested to taste them and experience the new taste," said David Home, Chairman, TVB Craft Breweries.

The Famous Grouse, one of Scotland's best selling whiskey label, is planning to expand its customer base in India.

It is planning to launch its premium single malt whiskey brands - Macallan and Highland Park - priced over USD 70 (Rs 3,500) in India soon.

Several other global brewing giants like Carlsberg, Anheuser-Busch and Inbev have entered the country recently, as India is being touted as the last potentially big beer market in the world.

Offering plenty of scope to expand to foreign brands, India is progressively liberalizing its liquor imports to accommodate the concerns of the European Union. In 2007, it scraped the additional import duty and imported spirits worth 76.3 million dollars on wines worth 11.7 million dollars.

The sale of liquor is rising in India with more liberal attitudes towards alcohol consumption, rising incomes and the tendency to embrace a more international lifestyle among Indians.By Sunil Sharma(ANI)

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