New Delhi, India, September 6, 2023: As New Delhi gears to host the 18th G20 Heads of State and Government Summit, the International Spirits and Wines Association of India (ISWAI), the apex body of the premium AlcoBev sector in India and the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA), the association’s global partner, jointly look forward to a successful India-UK Free Trade Agreement (FTA).
Successful trade negotiations will help boost the economy, give employment, deliver more choices to consumers, and promote industry collaboration and technology transfer with key partners overseas, including the United Kingdom. ISWAI and the SWA firmly believe that a successful India-UK Free Trade Agreement (FTA) would do exactly that.
“Given domestic whisky producers’ size, popularity, brand and market power, imported Scotch Whisky will pose very little direct competition to Indian whisky. Only 24% of exports to India are bottled in Scotland, and most Scotch Whisky sold in India is bottled locally”: CEO, SWA
Commenting on the occasion, Nita Kapoor, CEO, of ISWAI, said, “In every trade negotiation, both the partners have their key objectives, without which there will be no deal. Should the FTA talks deliver a substantial reduction in India’s 150% tariff on Scotch Whisky, exports of Scotch will undoubtedly be boosted, and consumers will have more choice as smaller producers enter the market. It will also benefit India-Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL) brands by reducing import costs. It is also likely that there would be a further boost for jobs and investment in the manufacture of bottled-in-India Scotch and premium Indian whiskies for the Indian market that could then be sold in other markets as well.”
Adding further, Nita Kapoor said, “Indian consumers love whisky, both Indian and international. In 2022, the total Indian spirits market amounted to 367 million cases, with Indian whisky selling 234 million cases. By comparison, Scotch Whisky accounted for sales of 8.1 million cases in India – less than 3% of the total whisky market.”
According to industry analysts International Wine & Spirits Research, sales of Indian whisky have risen tenfold in the past 30 years and doubled since 2010. There is a strong growth in Indian Single Malt Whisky that outsells Single Malt Scotch on the Indian market. It has been sold in overseas markets for several years, notably the UK, where it pays no tariff. As it is matured and distilled from cereals, Indian Single Malt has quickly developed premium status in the UK as consumers seek quality, niche brands with strong provenance.
Mark Kent, CEO, of SWA, said, “For Scotch Whisky distillers, India is a unique market. Only 24% of exports to India are bottled in Scotland. Most Scotch Whisky sold in India is bottled locally, while bulk Scotch Whisky is an important ingredient in Indian whisky. As the IMFL and Scotch categories have grown, so has the investment in facilities in India and the jobs and growth that delivers, both in the tourism and hospitality industries. Given the importance of alcohol excise revenues to many Indian States, the public purse has also benefited. The more successful both categories are in India, the bigger their economic contribution will be.”
“Sales of Indian whisky have risen tenfold in the past 30 years and doubled since 2010. There is a strong growth in Indian Single Malt Whisky that outsells Single Malt Scotch on the Indian market”: CEO, ISWAI
Mark Kent further added, “Given domestic whisky producers’ size, popularity and market power, imported Scotch Whisky will pose very little direct competition to Indian whisky. Demographics and the strong prospects for India’s long-term economic growth mean there is plenty of room for Indian and Scotch whiskies to prosper in the world’s biggest whisky market.”
Scotch Whisky is the world’s most traded spirit, with worldwide consumption of 1.3 billion bottles. However, it is less than half the volume of Indian whisky production. This category of spirits must be aged in barrels for at least three years and often much longer, so the industry can never secure more than a small segment of the Indian spirits market, as to do so would essentially mean severely curtailing exports to other major markets worldwide, such as the United States and the European Union.”
About the International Spirits and Wines Association of India (ISWAI):
The International Spirits and Wines Association of India (ISWAI), is recognized as an authoritative voice of the Indian Premium Alcoholic Beverage Industry, with a keen insight in government policy, is instrumental in shaping industry perspectives, driving best practices, and promoting responsible use of alcoholic beverages.
Our members include Bacardi, Beam Suntory, Brown Forman, Campari Group, Diageo-United Spirits, Moët Hennessy, Pernod Ricard, and William Grant & Sons, global leaders in the spirits and wine industries. Our members are strong proponents of the ‘Make in India’ ideology, having made substantial investments over the years in different states of the country to embrace indigenisation and local manufacturing of a wide range of Indian Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL) and Bottled in India (BII) products. ISWAI members account for a substantial portion of the tax revenue generated from branded alcoholic spirits and wines across the country, apart from generating employment and business opportunities both directly, and in ancillary industries and services across states.
ISWAI is proud to be an active advocate of Responsible Drinking, and promotes the principle of ‘drink less, drink better’.
About Scotch Whisky Association (SWA):
The mission of the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) is to secure a sustainable future for the Scotch Whisky industry. We want Scotch Whisky to be produced sustainably, traded globally and enjoyed responsibly.
Our teams work across Scotland, the UK and around the world to:
- Drive our sustainability strategy, working with our supply chain to fully decarbonising the industry
- Campaign for regulatory and tax environments which support improved competitiveness and prosperity
- Secure rules and frameworks that allow Scotch Whisky to trade freely and compete equally with like products anywhere in the world
- Agree legal frameworks that ensure Scotch Whisky does not face unfair competition by enabling effective intellectual property protection
- Build constructive relationships with national governments and international institutions on the role alcohol plays in society, including promoting responsible consumption and participating in action to tackle misuse.