IBHL enters India with Old Pulteney, Caorunn & Balblair Scotch Whisky


Global drinks player International Beverage Holdings Limited (IBHL), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Thai Beverage Public Limited Company, has launched a portfolio of its four select premium spirits in the Indian market. The company has entered with three of its finest single malt scotch whiskies; Old Pulteney, Balblair and Speyburn and a super-premium Scottish gin; Caorunn for Mumbai and Delhi.

IBHL’s India portfolio ranges amongst the best spirits within various categories in major markets such as the U.K. and the U.S., and come from few of traditional distilleries of Scotland. Each brand is a multiple award-winning spirit and will add significant value to the luxury drinks segment in India.

The company’s flagship whisky brand Old Pulteney which has won numerous gold medals at some of the prestigious international competitions introduced its 12 Year old expression for the Indian audience.

“The malt, characterised by its distinct coastal flavour due to its seaside location, is a high water-mark of quality spirits and will be perfect for the malt journeyman who has begun to expand his palette and is searching for a more refined and complex experience,” the company said.

Balblair originates from one of the oldest distilleries in the Scottish Highlands and is understood to be the malt for connoisseurs of fine whisky who understand and appreciate quality and values of timelessness that the brand stands for. Balblair doesn’t provide an age statement, but has an unconventional vintage approach by labelling its bottles with the year of its selection.

The whisky is hand-picked by the distillery manager himself at the point of optimum maturation, to bring out all the flavours to complement its character. IBHL has launched Balblair’s 2003 expression in India.

Speyburn’s 10 year old is the classic, definitive Highland single malt from Scotland, an everyday dram that anyone can enjoy, providing a natural transition for consumers up-trading to the single malt category. Due to the use of fresh spring water from Speyside combined with time-honoured methods of distillation, Speyburn Single Malt gains a distinctively warm, full flavour. Deriving from a distillery full of heritage and tradition, the whisky is still produced with many original features used already 100 years ago.

IBHL launched its portfolio in Mumbai and Delhi with a visit of the company’s master blender Stuart Harvey to conduct exclusive tasting and training sessions. “The three select single malts are an ideal spread in terms of positioning within the Indian market and will cater to a diverse range of single malt enthusiasts at varying stages of their malt journey,” said Stuart.

Although premium whisky only contributes 4% of the whisky volume in the Indian market, this premium segment has been outpacing the category, albeit from a small base, with a double digit growth of over 18% in the past 5 years. “We are more than happy about our decision to enter this promising market. For IBHL, India is a long term opportunity and with the growing affluence and international population, it makes sense to start at the more premium end of the spectrum,” said Malcolm E Leask, Vice President Sales -UK & International at IBHL.

Besides single malts, the portfolio is completed by the super-premium Caorunn Gin. Given a revival of the spirit in Europe and America, IBHL expects its impact into the Indian market, already visible in the healthy growth of the premium gin category by over 17% during the past 5 years. “In fact, mixologists and bartenders are increasingly using gin as a preferred cocktail mix in India as well, for which we have our Caorunn Gin,” Stuart shared.

Caorunn is a modern dry gin with an aromatic taste. In order to create a spirit of supreme quality and heritage, crystal clear Scottish water is married with six traditional gin botanicals and five Celtic Highland botanicals, all locally foraged around the IBHL’s Balmanach Distillery itself.

“We are expecting all our brands to be available in top retail chains and premium five star hotels and bars in August, first with Mumbai and soon followed by Delhi. Post the launch, the company will further look for opportunities to fast-track the brands’ growth by focussing on travel retail channel and extending supply to cities like Bangalore, Pune and Chandigarh,” Malcolm informed.