Premiumisation will be the dominating trend in alcobev industry: Guirec Danno

Scottish Leader, by category standards, is a modern brand, born from a contemporary and progressive take on whisky: a commitment to look beyond what is known, instead of what could be achieved, if we only open our minds to the possibilities. Since its establishment in 1976, Scottish Leader has benefited from a forward-thinking blending team and is now a trailblazing master blender, who endeavours to produce blended Scotch whiskies in step with contemporary tastes. Its CAGR of over 75% is higher than the growth of the comparable category. Over the previous five years, the regular blended scotch market has expanded at a CAGR of 13.3 per cent.

Scottish Leader holds a significant market share in South Africa and Europe and is the second-largest Scotch brand in Taiwan. Aspri is one of the top participants in the imported alcoholic beverage market in India and represents some of the best brands in the world of wine and spirits. In addition to Aspri’s regional dominance, Scottish Leader is a global brand that has received numerous honours both domestically and abroad.

In conversation with Adgully, Guirec Danno, Managing Director for Asia Pacific at Distell International, talks about the jjourney of Scottish Leader in India, delivering a ‘characterful’ drinking experience, changing consumer behaviour in the alcobev industry, and more.

What are the ideations and collaborative approach of Scottish Leader in India?

Scottish leader has been in India for the last 15 years. We decided to build this collaboration deeper, and four years ago we decided to launch the Scottish Leader in a wide spectrum. Two years ago we had the first launch in the Punjab market. And since then we have extended to the entire Indian market.

How the brand has been successful in delivering a ‘characterful’ drinking experience?

It is a very approachable whiskey and we are the second-largest brand of whiskey. What consumers are telling us in terms of the brand is that it is very sweet, and the character of the 15 different ingredients we are using makes the character of this Scottish Leader quite unique and that’s one of the main reasons for our success.

What is the target market and how India is an important market for the brand?

India is an attractive scotch market, but is also an attractive market in general – the reason behind that is the fundamentals of India are very strong in terms of an economic point of view. The taste of Indian consumers has evolved and is evolving and Scotch is answering to that. The reason behind India being an attractive market for Scottish Leader is that the behaviour of consumers has changed a lot over a decade and Scottish Leader is the answer to all of their requirements.

There is a behavioral change in the market, as well as a lot of female consumers are entering the market, which is also helping us in marketing and spreading more awareness about the Scottish Whiskey.

What are the trends in you foresee in the alcohol/ beverage industry in 2023?

More and more consumers will get into premium spirits around the world. People want to drink better quality drinks around the world, as well as in India. Premiumisation is going to be in trend – the fact that people will drink less, but better quality is going to be the trend this year.

For us, the most important USP is that the quality we deliver is the best at the price that it is available. We target an audience more of millennials. It is time for people to move on from a regular whiskey to Scottish Whiskey and that is what is going to be the trend.

What is the distribution strategy for Scottish Leader in India?

In India, the distribution strategy is to make good products more and more available to Indian consumers. We have had some great success in the last few years and we have got great directives to distribute the brand nationally. Our distribution strategy is to be available at more and more liquor stores, despite the fact that we are already covering half of India, but we are aiming to be available at restaurants, hotels, and many such places across the country.

We have established footprints in the majority of key markets. We already have tapped into the top markets. We are looking at further expansion by the retail sector as well. We are also looking for a duty-free state.


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