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USL aiming for growth in premium space

BS Reporter  |  Chennai/ Bangalore 

United Spirits, the second largest spirits company in the world by volume, has set its sights on garnering a bigger pie of the premium spirits segment. Although a small part of its revenues at the moment, the company is devising strategies to market the recently acquired international brands in its portfolio.

To promote its Whyte and Mackay brand, which it acquired in 2007, the company has signed Kevin Pietersen, the South Africa born English cricketer who also plays for Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) in the Indian Premier League (IPL), as its brand ambassador.

“Our goal is to ensure we are far bigger players in the luxury market in India,” said Anant Iyer, business head- luxury,

Whyte and Mackay, the scotch whisky producer’s brand portfolio includes single malts (Isle of Jura, Dalmore, Tamnavulin, Fettercairn), (Whyte and Mackay, Mackinlays, Claymore, John Barr) and (Glayva) and Vodka (Vladivar).

To promote Black Dog, its premium scotch whisky, the company has used jazz events as a platform. Iyer said that the strategy was to use different platforms to promote its products in varied segments whose prices range from Rs 1,000 to Rs 3.5 lakh per bottle.

The company recently clocked a sales volume of 100 million cases for the fiscal year, making it the world’s second-largest spirits company by volume overtaking Paris-headquartered Pernod Ricard. It has now set its sight on the global number one position, which it is hoping to achieve in the next financial year. One of the primary focus areas in this regard, according to USL, is to move up the value chain. With its acquisition of Bouvet-Ladubay, a premium French wine company, the company said it will attempt to increase wine consumption in India.

USL is banking on the expectation that more than 100 million potential consumers will enter the legal drinking age in the next 5 years. To this end, has undertaken a capacity augmentation plan of over Rs 650 crore. It has launched Black Dog 18 YO (years old) in the super premium Bottled In-India (BII) scotch category to further ramp up its market share.

It has also upped the ante in the premium Indian Made Foreign Liquor Segment (IMFL) with the introduction of 100 per cent pure grain-based McDowell’s Platinum whisky.

First Published: Mon, April 26 2010. 00:48 IST
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