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‘Bartending community in India is impressed with our handmade gluten-free vodka’

There is a rising demand for gluten-free menus in the restaurants of India. Since Tito’s Handmade Vodka falls in that category, the company is quite optimistic that the brand will get a special place in the eateries of India, says John Mcdonnell, MD International, Fifth Generation, Inc., Home of Tito’s Handmade Vodka in an interview with HospitalityBiz

Tuesday, November 27, 2018, 10:14 Hrs  [IST]

Q What is the speciality of Tito’s Handmade Vodka?
The way the vodka is made has catapulted it in a unique position. Tito’s Handmade Vodka, which is made of corn and undergoes distillation six times in Pot Stills. Since it is prepared out of 100% corn, naturally becomes gluten-free. Interestingly, other brands also claim that their products are also gluten-free but practically are not. If you use grain other than corn then it is not glutton-free. We do not make our product in big batches.

Q Have you already entered the India market?
Yes, we have entered the market around 15-18 months back and our journey started through duty-free shops. The reason behind the move is to gauge the success of the brand in such shops. We are quite satisfied with the response and decided to enter the domestic market full-fledgedly.

Q Which cities of India are you targeting? What is your marketing strategy to establish the brand in India?
As of now our target cities are Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru and the state of Goa. Our marketing strategy is quite simple and we want to be in key locations where people have the affinity for art and culture. Besides this, we will also be present in destinations where millennials and Americans visit. Later on we will expand the base of our distribution network.

Q You definitely carried out an intensive research before coming to India. Could you share with us the important findings of the research?
Yes, you are absolutely right. We carried out an intensive research in the UK market and observed that our brand was doing extremely well in that market. This is a very important aspect as large number of Indian resides in the UK. We also studied the profile of Indian visitors in US and how many of them are buying Tito’s Vodka. In fact, we kept a tab worldwide who is buying our product from the duty-free shops. The finding of the research especially in the Middle-East’s duty-free shops was an eye opener. It is important to mention here we found that 40-45% of Indian consumers are buying our product from the duty-free shops of the Middle East. Going by the findings of the research we feel that it is high time to launch our product in the domestic market of India.

Q How do you see the competition in India?
Talking specifically about the Vodka market in India, we observed that global brands have adopted low-pricing strategy here with the exception of super premium brands. Our pricing strategy would be mid-segment. Tito’s is priced at INR 3650 in Mumbai, INR 3550 in Delhi and INR 4500 in Bengaluru. I think gluten-free menus are very popular in Indian restaurants and since the brand falls in that category, I strongly believe that it will get a special place in those restaurants. Even bartending community here is also very impressed with our product.

Q Could you tell us about your distilling process?
I can only tell you that it is distilled six times. Everybody wants to know how the brand tastes so well but I am not going to disclose this. Think about Coco Cola, have they ever shared their recipe? So, this is same with us.

Q Do you have any plan to establish a manufacturing plant in India?
Not at all, we will remain in Austin, Texas only. We want to be authentic and incredible and unlike other multinational brands which have moved their distillation plants to India to save tax. If we move to other parts of the world then we will not be able to maintain our integrity.

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