Spirit makers look to boost distribution reach

Imported liquor brands could soon take up significant shelf space at your neighbourhood wine and beer shop, as airport duty free stores, bars and restaurants that account for more than half of all premium spirits sales in India remain shut. In addition to making their products available at more outlets, […]

Imported liquor brands could soon take up significant shelf space at your neighbourhood wine and beer shop, as airport duty free stores, bars and restaurants that account for more than half of all premium spirits sales in India remain shut. In addition to making their products available at more outlets, top liquor makers are also in discussions with state excise departments and online food delivery companies like Swiggy, Zomato and Dunzo to push for home delivery of alcohol, including select premium brands, sources said.

“We will increase our distribution reach by at least 25-30% given the current situation, as there are only around 65,000 liquor outlets across the country,” said Sachin Mehta, country director (India & Indian subcontinent) at William Grant & Sons. “Travel retail has been wiped out. Online is the way forward at present. Globally, the online model is currently doing well for us,” said Sanjeev Banga, president of international business at Radico Khaitan. “We don’t have any other option at the moment other than to push our products to more retailers and look at new channels,” said a senior executive at one of India’s largest liquor companies.

With some states, including West Bengal and Punjab, already having allowed doorstep delivery of liquor during the lockdown, Amrit Kiran Singh, executive chairman of the International Spirits & Wines Association of India, said that seven more are set to follow suit within a fortnight. On Wednesday, Ratnagiri in Maharashtra allowed home delivery through WhatsApp and phone calls. Swiggy and Zomato did not comment.

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Lois C. Ferrara

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