India: Suntory Strengthens Presence with New Subsidiary

Suntory, the Japanese alcoholic beverage giant, has recently intensified its focus on the Indian market by setting up a subsidiary in the country. Suntory India, the newly established subsidiary, is set to begin operations in July under the leadership of Managing Director Masashi Matsumura. The company's office will be located in Gurgaon, Haryana, as stated in their official announcement.

This move aligns with Suntory’s broader strategy to establish a significant presence in emerging markets like India and China by 2030, aiming for a revenue target of USD 1 billion in IndiaSuntory Holdings President & CEO Tak Niinami explained the decision, stating, "India is an exceptionally attractive market and a key geopolitical player on the global stage, with strong cultural and economic connections to Africa, the Middle East, and Asia." He added, "Through our spirits division, Suntory Global Spirits, we aim to solidify our presence as a diversified beverage company in this crucial market by bolstering our soft drinks and health & wellness sectors through strategic investments and partnerships."
To cater to the growing demand for premium spirits in India, Beam Suntory, a subsidiary of Suntory Holdings, has introduced several high-end products. These include the India-made Oaksmith whisky, created by the renowned blender Shinji Fukuyo, and other Japanese spirits such as The Yamazaki, Hibiki, and Toki whisky, as well as Roku gin. These products, previously launched in pilot markets, are now available across northern states including Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Chandigarh, Rajasthan, Punjab, and Delhi.

Beam Suntory’s CEO, Albert Baladi, emphasized the company's ambition to scale up in key markets. With a current portfolio that includes iconic brands like Jim Beam, Maker’s Mark, and Knob Creek bourbons, as well as premium Japanese whiskies, the company plans to enhance its market share significantly. The strategy also involves increasing the premium segment of their portfolio to 50%-60% by 2030.

Oaksmith, a product specifically crafted for Indian whisky enthusiasts, combines American bourbon and Scotch malts, aged in American oak barrels. This blend not only represents the meticulous craftsmanship associated with Suntory but also caters to the sophisticated palates of Indian consumers. The whisky is available in two variants: Oaksmith and Oaksmith Gold, priced competitively within the Indian market.

Indians’ exposure to global trends has driven the demand for finely crafted spirits. Beam Suntory’s introduction of Oaksmith and the expansion of their Japanese whisky and gin portfolio reflect this trend. Neeraj Kumar, Managing Director of Beam Suntory India, highlighted the appreciation for global spirits among Indian consumers, which has encouraged the company to introduce these premium brands.

Looking forward, Beam Suntory aims to leverage its strong portfolio and premiumization strategy to achieve its ambitious goals. The company’s commitment to quality and innovation, combined with the growing appreciation for premium spirits in India, sets a strong foundation for future growth.

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