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We believe Indian consumer is maturing in taste - Jackie Matai, Co-Founder, Aspri Spirits and Sumedh Singh Mandla, CEO, Core Brands

From a humble start in 2004, today Aspri Spirits Private Limited has presence in 22 states across India and brings into the country over 55 brands and companies from 20 countries across the world. Having recently been inducted into the Keepers of the Quaich, Jackie Matai, Co-Founder, Aspri Spirits talks about the experience and Sumedh Singh Mandla, CEO, Core Brands discloses the company’s growth strategy to Sumit Jha

Thursday, December 20, 2012, 14:45 Hrs  [IST]

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Q You have been recently inducted into Keepers of the Quaich. As an Indian, what does it mean to you?
Jackie Matai: Yes, it was a great experience. The Keepers of the Quaich is an exclusive international community of people recognised for their outstanding commitment to Scotch whisky. The Keepers of the Quaich is an exclusive non-profit making society, with membership by invitation only for people with a positive record of association with Scotch whisky. The objective of the society is to promote the heritage and values the whisky as the world’s finest and most prestigious distilled spirit. It is an honour and privilege to be part of this elite group.

Q. Aspri Spirits is one of the leading names in the Indian market to bring in international brands. How has the journey been so far?
Sumedh Singh Mandla: Our growth has been sustained on a consistent philosophy to offer best quality service and to deliver the range and quality of products that customers demand. Our motto has been to deliver ongoing growth to the brands that we represent. We endeavor to present to the consumers top quality products, innovative ideas, international trends and experiences. We currently represent over 55 finest brands and companies from over 20 countries.

top_201212_5.jpgQ. The Indian market for high-end spirits and wines is witnessing a radical change over the recent past. Where do you see it going from here? Do you see a continued growth?
JM: We believe that the Indian consumer is maturing in taste and aspiring for better quality. We do see more consumers in the middle and upper-middle segment patronising premium and ultra premium category of spirits and wines. We feel this is a positive and ongoing trend and as long as Indian economy remains robust this growth will continue.

Q. What positioning does the IMFL segment take when compared to the brands that you import into India? The domestic manufacturers market has been growing, as has been the overall consumption. What are your views?
SSM: At present, the imported segment volume is very small as compared to the Indian Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL) category. Difficult policies including the dual and high taxation on BIO segment does hinder this growth. We do believe that rationalisation and uniformity in taxation and liquor policies would happen at some stage and this will bring a tremendous growth for imported segment in the time to come.

Q. What is competition for you?
SSM: As we deal in spirits, wine and beer category, we compete with all major players for both imported and IMFL segment. We always believe that our quality service, strong distribution network, strong team and brand strength in our portfolio will provide us with the required growth in future as well.

“Direct advertisement for liquor is not allowed and we abide by law of the land. Thus we spend lot of our resources and time in creating on ground concepts and activations, which are targeted at educating and adding value to the experience for our F&B trade partners as well as consumers”

Q. The Indian market restricts direct promotions. What is your view on the surrogate promotions of various products available here?
JM: Direct advertisement for liquor is not allowed and we abide by law of the land. Thus, we spend lot of our resources and time in creating ground concepts and activations, which are targeted at educating and adding value to the experience for our F&B trade partners as well as consumers.

Several liquor brands engage the surrogate activation tool to promote their products among the targeted consumer. I feel, this is a smart way of reaching right profile without too much of brand splashing or addressing wrong/under age consumer profile that could happen in open advertisement format. 

 
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