India: AB InBev enters the whiskey segment for the first time ever

For the first time ever, AB InBev has entered the whiskey category as part of its wider strategy to enter premium categories beyond beer. On Wednesday the world’s largest brewer announced its foray into the Indian whiskey market, considered to be one of the largest global spirits markets with the launch of Magnum Double Barrel whiskey.

Magnum Double Barrel whiskey is a combination of American corn whiskey aged in white oak barrels in Kentucky and Indian single malts aged in ex-Bourbon casks, in Goa. The company is sourcing and blending the whiskey in partnership with Sazerac, the second-largest and still privately held spirits company in the US, and their Indian subsidiary JDPL.

The company said it will continue to introduce India-specific innovations across beverage categories in the alcoholic and non-alcoholic segments. However, beer will continue to remain a core offering for AB InBev India.

"We think India could become a top three market for Budweiser in the next three years. By 2025, I would be very surprised if it does not become," said AB InBev President - India & South East Asia Kartikeya Sharma. Currently, India is among the top 5 markets for Budweiser globally.

While AB InBev India’s two other brands -- Corona and Hoegaarden -- are smaller in scale, they are expected to collectively represent a double-digit in their top line from next year, as local brewing at a facility at Maharashtra and Karnataka has started improving its accessibility.

"Today AB InBev leads the premium [beer] segment in India, with a 65 per cent plus share. The premium segment growth is almost two times than the total beer industry. We do believe that future growth of India is to come from the premium side," Sharma said.

Share this article: