Beam Suntory Aims To Build Whiskey Sales in India With Oaksmith — Panjiva
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Beam Suntory Aims To Build Whiskey Sales in India With Oaksmith

Consumer Staples 756 India 506

Japanese distiller Beam Suntory will launch an India-only brand this week, Oaksmith, as it attempts to compete with Diageo in the expanding Indian market, Nikkei reports. The product will be blended in India from import base whiskies. The Indian market is attracting a widening range of spirits, most recently including new products in the gin sector, as outlined in Panjiva’s research of Oct. 30.

Total Indian imports of spirits climbed 15.9% year over year in the 12 months to Aug. 31, Panjiva’s data shows. Whiskey has led the way in accounting for $287 million or 62.6% of the total after increasing by 17.8% over the same period. Beam Suntory’s launch comes just as imports head into the peak season of December each year.

OAKSMITH ARRIVES INTO EXPANDING, SEASONAL MARKET

Chart segments Indian imports of distilled spirits by month.  Source: Panjiva 

Whiskey imports are so far dominated by Diageo, which accounted for 24.9% of shipments on its own by dollar value and 30.7% by number of shipments. That was followed by Pernod Ricard with 12.9% of shipments while Beam Suntory represented just 2.9%. 

The new brand is needed to bolster demand though which has slipped to growth of just 10.9% year over year in the three months to Aug. 31 from 17.2% in 2Q and 12.4% in 1Q. That reversal has largely been down to an 8.0% drop in shipments by Diageo as well as a 23.9% slide in the past three months by Thai Beverage, owner of the Glenlivet brand. 

Shipments by Pernod Ricard increased by just 2.0%. Beam Suntory meanwhile climbed 18.2%, possibly as the base stock for Oaksmith has started.

BEAM SUNTORY HAS A LONG WAY TO GO TO CATCH PERNOD, DIAGEO

Chart compares Indian imports of whiskey by Diageo, Pernod Ricard and Beam Suntory on a monthly and three-month average basis.  Source: Panjiva

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