High Spirits

Radico Khaitan: Celebrating the IMFL legacy

One of the largest players in the Indian spirits industry, Radico Khaitan was formerly known as Rampur Distillery in existence since 1943. Dr Lalit Khaitan bought the distillery in 1972 to run it as a bulk spirit supplier and bottler for other liquor companies. Amar Sinha, COO, Radico Khaitan speaks about the company’s latest single malt whisky Rampur’, how it is meeting the global G&T trends and the furture roadmap of its India-made foreign liquor (IMFL) labels worldwide 

Way back in 1972, Dr Lalit Khaitan along with his father bought Rampur Distillery to run it as a bottler for other spirits, as a part of their family business. In 1999, Radico Khaitan decided to launch and market its own brands. It became the first company to conceptualise the innovative idea of offering scotch blended whisky and the first company to position 8PM as India’s premium whisky. Currently, Radico Khaitan has four brands such as 8PM Whisky, Magic Moments Vodka, Contessa Rum and Old Admiral Brandy in its portfolio.
Rampur Single Malt Whisky which was launched in 2016 gained global recognition and acceptance almost instaneneously. Speaking about how the brand earned its insignia, while also giving a detailed description about its unique distillation process distinguishing Rampur from the other single malt whiskies in market, Amar Sinha, COO, Radico Khaitan says, “The Whisky is named after Radico Khaitan’s first distillery in Rampur. One of the key USPs of the product is that it is aged, distilled and matured in the foothills of the scenic Himalayas. The Himalayas provide polar opposite of climate conditions throughout the year with the flavour of the famous Indian summer giving Rampur an added dimension and depth. The super-premium malt whisky is steeped in the rich Indian heritage having been distilled in traditional copper pots, and is produced as non-chill filtered single malt whisky. Whisky in India matures faster than the whiskies in Scotland or Ireland due to the weather conditions and prolonged summer season.”
What also adds to the luxury element to Rampur is its unqiue packaging – it comes in a luxurious canister with the bottle wrapped in a hand-crafted silk pouch adding a touch of royalty to the packaging. “The bottle is stout and extremely robust looking with a thick base and a cork with sleeve – giving the bottle an understated and subtle look of luxury,” adds Sinha.
The brand won accolades across the world including the coveted Gold Award at the Monde Selection Quality Awards and Double Gold at the World Wine & Spirits Awards, says a proud Sinha while talking about the IMFL’s success globally. “Today, the brand has emerged as one of the most desired Indian single malt whiskies in the world. It is available over 30 countries and was recently launched in the Indian markets starting from Delhi,” he adds.
Highlighting the distinctive tasting notes of Rampur, Sinha says that it has a balanced taste of malty and creamy vanilla, a hint of fruits like apricot and apple with sweet and winey flavour for a longer finish texture and mouthfeel. “The aroma of Rampur is rich in fruity top note, toffee in the background, floral, honey, dried fruits with the hint of balanced spices which embraces diverse and dynamic taste palates,” he adds.

Global G&T trend
It is evident seeing the trends across the world, and India in specific, that Gin and Tonic or popularly referred to as G&T has made it to the bar menus and is being served irrespective of the time of day. Sinha too agrees with this saying, “The trend of G&T has been going on ever since. The reason for it to pick up in the recent times can be attributed to the changing weather conditions where white spirit is treated as a cooling agent.” Also he feels, “This drink is incredibly refreshing and it’s not hard to imagine why James Bond ordered one of these to enjoy on his hotel balcony overlooking Kingston Harbour at the Blue Hills hotel. The drink is also one of the favourites of Prince Charles from the royal family of England as brought to light by a royal expert. With this level of patron-base, the trend was sure to get elevated among millennials and varied age groups are already turning to it.”
Not restricting to whiskies only, Radico Khaitan has earned its name in the overseas market. “Radico Khaitan launched Jaisalmer Indian Craft Gin in the international market last year to tap into the category and to celebrate the origin of Gin & Tonic in British Colonial India,” says Sinha about the story behind launching Radico Khaitan’s Indian craft gin – Jaisalmer.

Future roadmap
Highlighting that the spirits industry is focusing on premiumsition, Sinha informs that the company has already started steering the industry trend. “With the launch of new premium products and upgradation of the existing products in the premium segment, the company is in line with the industry to grow this trend,” he adds.
Mentioning how the company is meeting the trend, Sinha explains, “Rampur Indian Single Malt Whisky has hit the domestic market and is poised to give tough competition to its contemporaries. Furthermore, Magic Moments Verve has been positioned in the super premium vodka category against international brands and is spreading its reach and gaining wide acceptance. 8PM Premium Black Whisky has been launched in over seven states in the premium segment. Also, there is a wide range of new products in the premium segment in the pipeline in different categories.”
Moreover, from the marketing perspective, Sinha feels that digitalisation is important for promoting any brand across any vertical these days. “We are in a rapidly changing world where digital connectivity and social media forms a critical part of business operations and consumer engagement. Radico Khaitan has made significant investments to market its products and to reach out to its existing as well as potential customers through the digital platforms and social media. In the years to come, we will continue to enhance our digital outreach and footprint to gain valuable analytics and insights into consumer behaviour and preferences. Digital marketing is expected to be the key for our future initiatives,” concludes Sinha.

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