By Pranoy Chakrabarty India is witnessing a very exciting time for the alcobev industry. We have seen immense innovation and creativity taking forefront in the industry in the past couple of years. Today we are experiencing a wave of the renaissance with many homegrown brands experimenting with specially crafted local flavours.

An industry that has in the post-covid times bounced back with utmost vigour; the years ahead look bullish. As per Statista insights, the revenue in the Spirits segment amounts to USD 34.47 billion in 2023 and it is projected that the market will grow annually by 5.18 percent (CAGR 2023-2027).

Spicing up the drinks Matching up to these very encouraging projections, the Indian liquor market is playing along with great experiments and new launches. Homegrown brands are making vodka with Basmati rice, Whisky infused with betel leaf, Gin punched with botanicals like Himalayan juniper and green chilli, and Rum with hints of cinnamon and star anise, Meads with locally sourced Multi-floral honey and introducing flavours like passion fruit, lemon and lime; the list is endless and invigorating.

Brands and consumers play along While India was dominated by imported alcohol brands previously, consumers are now more accepting of homegrown brands, one due to a change in mindset and second because of the relatability factor.

Homegrown brands have done a tremendous job to compete with wellestablished giants in the industry, be it packaging, quality ingredients used, and targeting the right set of consumers. Quality is no longer restricted to imported products. New age consumers are very experimental in their liquor choices, they are demanding innovation and therefore newer flavours and newer drinks, and are liking the Indian touch.

Exposure to newer categories like Meads, Seltzers and Cyders offer a unique experience for the consumers in an otherwise traditional industry. Homegrown brands are introducing categories and flavours with Indian ingredients that work great for the Indian palete. Home brewers have up their game, with quality and flavour both. From absolutely new categories like mead and seltzers to omnipresent feni of Goa and the Indian mahua have found its new avatar. The local rice beer too has been spiced up to suit the taste of the upmarket liquor consumers. The sales figures of these local flavoured spirits are very encouraging leading many brands to keep adding more of these flavours.

The coming of age for newer drinks While localised flavour profiles are surfacing, newer drinks like meads, seltzers and ciders are most suitable and are targeting a newer segment of audience, the young new age consumers. With a focus on the audience that is being introduced to alcohol for the first time and do not have an acquired taste for hard liquor, these drinks are using local ingredients like multi-floral honey sourced from the Himalayan regions, apples from Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh used in ciders among many other ingredients to provide these audiences with a fresh take.

Ready to be Indianised On the sidelines, the upmarket spirit stores across the country have suddenly been Indianised. What is also exciting is the fact that these brands are already finding their space in the global liquor market, and this should be a new high for the Indian brands, and the Indian alcobev industry. Going forward, I think Indian flavours will keep the world in high spirits.

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