Internationally, the gin market is almost reaching saturation levels. International trends usually come late to India. But, the party in India, may still be be-gin-ning. There couldn’t have been a better time to set the trend for the craft gin market in India. A few years back craft gins took over the market and how in a country that is essentially known to love its brown spirits. Only time will tell if gins will have a bigger share than what it has today or is it only a balloon that will burst very soon, as the industry experts are seeing a huge surge of gin lovers and gin manufacturers. Gin is going through an extremely exciting phase and transcending into the mainstream in India, with many more brands.
Gin revolution in India has been nothing short of remarkable. spirits with a main characteristic flavour derived from juniper berries produced by distillation or mixing of spirits with juniper berries and other aromatics or extracts derived from these materials. Juniper makes all the difference, and it’s what makes gin, gin. With a wonderful palate and aromas and floral aromas and notes of gin’s earthy juniper make gin a unique and refreshing drink. And when it’s gin and tonic, then you know the party is going to end on a high note.
Gurpreet Singh, Co-Founder & Director, World of Brands (WoB) throws light on the gin revolution in the country.
- What is the rationale behind getting into a category like Gin?
India has quickly caught up with the ‘Gin renaissance’ that the west started experiencing about a decade ago. The gin category has undergone phenomenal growth with many of the white spirts consumers switching to the younger more versatile category of Gin. There has been an explosion in the number of Gin brands (both international and local) that are getting launched in India. It’s akin to the explosion of brands the craft beer segment saw in Indian between 2017-20. At ‘World of Brands (WoB)’, as a young startup it made immense sense to enter this growing category which was creating such a buzz across social and digital media among the young consumers. These are the consumers which will form an integral part of our journey across segments in the alcobev category over the next decade.
- How has your journey been venturing into a niche category?
In the spirt of this experimental mindset we have at ‘World of Brands (WoB)’ explored multiple market penetration strategies on the Great Indian Gin (GiG). All of these are based on the deep consumer insight we as a team of industry experts bring to the table. We redefined the entry level premium pricing and bridged a large price gap that existed in the category. We also invested in creating popular flavours in a familial format with Great Indian Nagpur Orange Gin and Great Indian Shimla Green Apple Gin to attract the larger vodka consumer base to Gin and have also experimented with smaller packs of 180ml & 60ml to aid in trials and penetration.
The Great Indian Gin from its name to all the element in its packaging resonates Indianness. The colours, the patterns, the musical instruments and the dancers all resonate India. Our thought on launching our first brand was to create a brand that Indians from across the world would be proud of. The Great Indian Gin is crafted for the Indian palate and represents the versatile youth of today. It is a perfect yet an uncomplicated drink for all occasions.
The consumers have responded well to the product, the packaging and these insight-based market penetration strategies we adopted on the brand. The initial response to Great Indian Gin and these three initiatives on pricing, flavours and small-packs has been very encouraging. We have in a very short time run away to market leadership position in the segment in Puducherry. The brand is amongst the top 3 selling Premium Gin brands in Karnataka and we have had a very positive response in Goa as well. We have as recently as December 2022 launched in Telengana, our 4th market, and have had a very good response there as well. We are not surprised at this early success as we have great belief in the quality of the product.
The blends across the three Gins we have launched so far have been created by one of India’s most renowned and legendary master blenders ‘NJ Menon’ who has been on the forefront of multiple successful blends across his vast six decades of versatile experience. Many of his blends feature in India’s top 10 and the world’s top 25 selling brands.
- What is the current gin scenario in India? Any key trends that you would like to share for the year 2023?
While gin is growing rapidly in India, it still remains a very small segment in the overall high-spirits segment. Even today vodka is 6-7 times the size of Gin. However, one is seeing a clear movement of consumers from Vodka to the more versatile segment of Gin. This is reflected in the slowing down in the growth in Vodka and the rapid growth in Gin. We expect the market to continue this fast-paced growth for at least another 5-6 years. We also expect many other manufacturers to follow us in launching the familial flavours to attract the consumer of flavoured vodka which contributes to around 50% of the overall vodka base. We also expect that other manufacturers will follow us in launching small packs which immensely help in penetrations and trails in any category.
- What are the other categories that you are planning to launch by end of this year?
At our company World of Brands (WoB) we have adopted a ‘new production development’ process of populating our innovation pipeline which is driven by a cross functional team of highly experienced individuals from the AlcoBev industry. There are multiple products under different stage gates of development for launch. The Great Indian Gin (GiG) is a product of this process. We are at an advanced stage of development in 4 other segments in the AlcoBev category. We have fast tracked one of these for launch as early as March 2023. It’s an innovative craft product aimed at the large base of beer consumers and we are uncontrollably excited about it!
This launch will see ‘World of Brands’ enter the ‘low spirts segment’, making it one of the few companies in India that will have brands ranging from the high to the low spirts segments. This is an exciting launch and its going to redefine a category and a generation of consumers. For us as well it could be a gamechanger as the beer category is the largest category with volumes of around 350 Mn cases. Even a small percentage here is a very large number for a newbie startup like ours.
- How is your product and services unique in the market place?
With Great Indian Gin (GiG) the insight-based market penetration strategies that we have adopted of redefining the entry level premium pricing, providing familial flavours and small SKUs, have all resonated very well with our consumers. This has been a large part of our early days success we are witnessing on the brands across the markets we are available in is on a large part on account of these insight-based market penetration strategies that we have adopted. The packaging and the product as well have been highly appreciated by the consumers.
- What new products and services do you plan to introduce and how will it have an impact on the AlcoBev industry?
As a startup we at World of Brands (WoB) keep a watchful eye on how the various segments across the alcobev category is developing, what are the existing gaps and what are the developing niches within each segment. We are very clear that we will focus on launching products that are world class, design enviable packaging and create products and brands that address these existing gaps or developing niches across segments.
Going toe to toe with a large established manufacturer in any segment with a me-too offering and playing is not something we assign easy success to and this is very many other startups have failed or have struggled to succeed. This is why we assign a very significant portion of our time in the deep insights which become the basis for creating our products and brands. Consumer insight and data is the key to this and towards this end we have also developed a tech based vertical within the company. The tech-oriented work we are creating is already in an advanced stage of development which will change the lives for all manufacturers in the days to come. This interesting conversation we will reserve for another time.