Top 10 Whisky Brands In India

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Whisky is a beverage which is alcoholic in nature. There are different types of whiskey which
differ depending upon the grain or fruit fermented to produce it, the quality of the grain used, as well as the alcoholic content. The Indian whiskey market comes third after countries like China and Russia. However in certain states of India there are prohibitions on sale of alcohol. States like Gujarat, Nagaland, Manipur and Mizoram are states where prohibition is imposed by law. However, India has several brands of whisky which have their own niche market as well as reputation among consumers.

List of Top Indian Whisky Brands

1. McDowell's No.1 Reserve

McDowell's No.1
McDowell's No.1 is an Indian brand of whisky owned by United Spirits Limited (USL) which is a subsidiary of the United Breweries Group. McDowell's No.1 whisky was launched in 1968. It has expanded over the years and at present has several variants like McDowell's No.1 Reserve Whisky, McDowell's No.1 Diet Mate (which has metabolism increasing ingredients ) and McDowell's No.1 Platinum Whisky (which is totally grain based). In 2012 the amount of whisky from this brand that was sold was around 19.5 million cases, an impressive growth of 21%. Reader's Digest awarded it the gold medal in 2006. McDowell's No.1 launches special packs on occasions like New Year, Holi, Diwali, etc. This brand also sponsors several musical concerts in India.

2. Officer's Choice

Officer's Choice
Officers’ Choice whiskey is owned by Kishore Chhabria’s Allied Blenders and Distillers also known as ABD. It is manufactured by blending Indian Malt Spirits and the best chosen Indian neutral spirits. It sold around 18.1 million cases in 2012 an increase of 10%.

3. Royal Stag

Royal Stag
Royal Stag is owned by the French company Pernod Ricard. This whisky was launched in India in 1995 by Seagram which claimed it had 'No Artificial Flavours'. Royal Stag is a blend of Indian spirits, which are grain-based, and imported Scotch malts. Pernod Ricard and Diageo had jointly procured Seagram's business in 2001. However these two companies later parted ways and Seagram's Indian operations were given to Pernod Ricard based on a prior agreement. In 2012 Royal Stag sold around 14 million cases which is growth of around 12%. Royal Stag came second in ranking amongst Indian spirits brands, in Impact International's list of 'Top 100 Brands at Retail Value'.

4. Bagpiper

Bagpiper is another brand manufactured by United Spirits Ltd, which is a subsidiary of the United Breweries Group. This brand was launched in the year 1976. Bagpiper was awarded the Reader's Digest Gold award in 2006 for being the ‘Most trusted brand' and it has also been included in Impact International's list which comprises of 'Top 100 brands’. Bagpiper was also among the first brands which introduced the 'Guala' international capping system. It was also responsible for bringing in whisky in tetra packs. In 2012 this brand sold around 16 million cases.

5. Old Tavern

Old Tavern
Old Tavern is a popular choice in the Indian states of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, and has carved out a significant market share in several African countries. Old Tavern achieved 5% growth in 2012, selling 11.6 m bottles.

6. Original Choice

Original Choice
Original Choice is the leading blended whisky brand produced by John Distilleries based in Goa. In 2013 John Distilleries was granted permission by India’s Intellectual Property Appellate Board (IPAB) for the use of its trade name after a case by Allied Blenders Distillers, which alleged the name was too similar to its Officer’s Choice product. Original Choice is clearly a popular whisky of choice in the Indian market having sold 10.9 million cases in 2012.

7. Imperial Blue

Imperial Blue
Imperial Blue which is also called Seagram’s Imperial Blue is another reputed brand of Indian whisky. It is presently owned by Pernod Ricard, the French company. However the brand was launched in 1997 by Seagram. It is manufactured by blending Indian grain spirits along with imported Scotch malts. In 2012 this brand was the official sponsor of the World Series Hockey tournament. In 2012 Imperial Blue sold around 8.8 million cases. This brand used a unique marketing strategy by commissioning a 90-minutes movie called ‘Men Will Be Men’ which is the brand’s tagline.

8. Haywards Fine

Haywards Fine
Owned by United Spirits Limited, which is a subsidiary of the United Breweries Group, Haywards Fine is among the fastest growing products in the economy whisky category, registering an impressive 15% sales growth in 2012. This brand 7.1 million cases in 2012, and is very popular in the Middle East and in certain African markets.

9. 8 PM

8 PM
8 PM is an Indian brand of whisky owned by Radico Khaitan. Radico Khaitan was formerly known as Rampur Distillery & Chemical Company Ltd. It was launched in 1999. It sold sound 4.9 million cases in 2013. Since it’s blended with fine scotch it is extremely smooth.

10. Director's Special

Director's Special
Director's Special is manufactured by United Spirits Ltd, which is a subsidiary of the United Breweries Group. The UB Group is owned by Vijay Mallya. This whisky brand initially was manufactured by Shaw Wallace before UCB acquired Shaw Wallace in 2005. This Indian brand entered the Indian market in 1988. Director's Special Black is a whisky which is distilled from fermented molasses. Shaw Wallace fought a legal battle against Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) and in the end won the case to sell their product as Scotch whisky in a US court. In the year 2012 Director's Special registered a sales of 4.3 million cases. The product has received its share of recognition from International Wine and Spirit Competition (2007) by bagging the silver medal and ranking 44th in the world.

Last Updated on : January 17th, 2019