India

Rare whiskey in India: That's not happening anytime soon

02 Aug 2017 | By Anish Chakraborty
Rare whiskey gives India a miss, here's why

Whiskey brands, such as Director's Special, Blenders Pride, McDowell's No. 1, Haywards, Antiquity Rare are easily available in India unless you are in a dry state or it's a national holiday.

The problem starts when you want something rare to celebrate a special occasion. In India, it's next to impossible to get your hands on a rare whiskey.

Here's why.

In context: Rare whiskey gives India a miss, here's why

02 Aug 2017Rare whiskey in India: That's not happening anytime soon

SamplingNot due to lack of demand

Liquor companies across the world are simply not interested in bringing their luxury portfolio to India. It's not because there is lack of demand but rather for a practical reason.

Before selling, they have to necessarily send a bottle to the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) for sampling.

That's obviously a big problem for brands due to several factors.

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Exclusivity is a big deal

FSSAIExclusivity is a big deal

Liquor barons wouldn't be crying over the fact that FSSAI is having a good drink at their expense if a single bottle of these luxury brands didn't cost an exorbitant amount of money.

Sometimes, only 20 bottles get produced of a particular title in the world. Sending one to a lab for testing is not really the best way to go about finishing them.

Limited-editionChange in manufacturing preference

Earlier the age of the whiskey used to determine its exclusivity and price. Forty, 50 or 60-year-old whiskeys of Macallan, Glenfiddich, and Dalmore, therefore, had significant demand.

Now, the trend has shifted. Manufacturers are now creating limited-edition bespoke whiskey. This makes them already few in number, harder to acquire and with Indian regulation hiccup, things don't work out.

Duty-freeThere should be a way to solve this

FSSAI CEO Pawan Aggarwal said that the testing procedure can't be changed and that the bottles are also sent back to respective manufacturers after testing. However, it is obvious that they can't be sold like that.

The authorities are open to suggestion to solve this problem. The manufacturers need to find a way or they can simply sell them at duty-free shops.

PremiumThere are other hiccups

In India, there is another hiccup when it comes to liquor.

Liquor firms need to make a separate label for each state they intend to sell their liquor in. For premium products, it is difficult and the product eventually loses its charm.

Therefore, liquor giants tend to be content in selling liquors that are less pricey in India.