International face of liquor in India
International face of liquor in India

Aspri Spirits have been sourcing in imported liquor from all across the globe for many years now and they are actively involved in making sure that the varied forms of spirits are encouraged and consumed in the country. Here is Sumedh Singh Mandla, CEO – Core Brands, Aspri Spirits Ltd, sharing his overview on the company.

Aadeetya Sriram (AS): Tell us about Aspri Spirits, what are you dealing in and in which segment?

Sumedh Singh Mandla (SSM): Aspri Spirits is one of the biggest players for import, marketing and distribution of beverages in India. We currently import wines from 12 countries and spirits from about 9 countries. The idea for us is to emerge as one of the most important players in the market providing complete solution for the alcoholic beverage products to all the important hotels, restaurants and retail segment. We spend a lot of time in educating people about what we do; we have a team of around 100 people who are based out of Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore. We plan to bring more interesting products, promote and educate about them and help them grow their demands.

AS: How many brands are you associated with currently?

SSM: We currently have over 50 brands. As part of our basic portfolio, we are just catering to the imported products right now. We import these brands from across 17 countries and we do the marketing and distribution of these brands in India.

AS: What is your opinion on the ever changing liquor market and demand in the country?

SSM: The liquor market in India has lot of segments which are growing, wine being one of them. We have seen a good demand in white spirits category, so we see vodka and tequila as a strong growing segment. In terms of brown spirits, we are one of the largest consumers of whiskey, rum and brandy in the world. Lot of this consumption is based on the domestic brands. Over a period of time people are asking for a better level of quality and also different tastes, which provides an opportunity to the international brands to be sold in India. Wine as a segment has grown well, but the overall baseline for volume of wine is very small. Percentage-wise, wine is growing very well.

AS: You speak of growth but to a lesser extent, so how can the potential be tapped into?

SSM:  Well, I think education is the core. We by default are not wine consumers. Even it terms of taste preferences we prefer the dark spirits more. Wine is comparatively new for lot of people, but the younger generation to a certain extent has made the form much more attractive to the people. What we need is educating the people, a lot tasting events for wine, wine dinners, visiting the winery in the country. These could probably escalate the impact of wine to a much larger extent.

AS: How exactly are you charting out your marketing strategy for the brand?

SSM: As we have almost 50 brands in our portfolio, we make sure these are exclusively marketed and distributed by us across India. India is a big country; every state has its own rules and regulations, so we always earmark certain brands with cities, states where we want to promote these brands in the short  and long term frame based on which our promotional calendar for the year is prepared.

AS: Which region in the country does your brand primarily focus in the country?

SSM: Well for the premium liquor segment, it is Mumbai or Maharashtra is the biggest market, followed by Delhi/NCR and Bangalore. These three form a part of our core set-up. There are also a lot of other markets which are growing, for example, Pune, Chennai and Hyderabad. We touch base with about 23 cities in India, which is the largest reach for any importer or distributor for that matter. The idea for us is not only to help the premium segments to grow, but also making sure that we make the other segments grow as well.   

AS: How have the returns for Aspri Spirits been over the years?

SSM: We basically are a close-knit company; hence we do not divulge financial figures. As far as growth is concerned, we have been clocking a growth rate of around 50% year-on-year and we hope to continue at the same rate in future as well. 

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