Ranjana Sundaresan
Ranjana is Mintel’s Senior Research Analyst based in Mumbai. She specialises in analysing global consumer trends—with an Indian focus—and global trend observations.

India recently saw the launch of its first craft gin brand, Greater Than, which was launched by homegrown company Nao Drinks. Greater Than is a London dry gin, commonly considered the most popular style of gin globally, and fills a gap in the Indian market for quality affordable gin.

Source: naospirits.com

Gin’s connection with India dates back to the time of British rule. Gin-and-tonic was introduced as a way to get the British stationed in India to consume quinine to treat malaria. As such, there is potential to leverage gin’s history to increase interest in the spirit. This aligns with Mintel’s 2016 Global Food & Drink Trend ‘Based on a True Story’, which showcases growing consumer interest in learning about a product’s origins.

Augmenting the reach of craft

In established markets like the US, craft beer has started to plateau, but the craft trend has resulted in a revival of previously struggling categories, such as gin. This points to the potential for craft drinks to grow in India across other spirit categories as well.

The rise in craft positioning is an indication of how luxury is evolving – from overt cues to more discrete ones. Millennials in particular now see such luxury as a way of showcasing their discernment and how that makes them stand out.

The launch of Greater Than points to opportunities to expand craft credentials from beer to spirits in India, especially as Indian consumers start to appreciate quality over quantity in terms of alcohol.

Gin gets a reboot

Just a decade ago, gin was considered an ‘old person’s drink’ in Western markets, but craft has breathed new life into the spirit all across the world, including India. In fact, cocktails have proven to be pivotal in increasing gin’s popularity in India.

As reported by Livemint, restaurants and bars in urban India say they are seeing greater demand for gin cocktails, despite their being less sweet than standard cocktails.

In a bid to continue boosting gin’s popularity in India, restuarants, mixologists and bartenders can help by recommending and promoting new brands and drink styles to Indian consumers. In fact, the masked taste and less obvious strength of cocktails can help new consumers ease into the category.

Preference towards home-grown brands

Almost half of Indians prefer to buy local over global brands.

According to Mintel research, almost half of Indian consumers prefer to buy local over global brands. Homegrown brands can leverage this to expand and grow their presence in India.

More and more brands are joining a growing tribe of premium homegrown food and drink companies that cater to consumers with a global outlook seeking out similar experiences in India. These consumers have evolved beyond considering foreign brands as being of higher quality and take pride in what their own country has to offer.

What we think

In the alcohol space, as Indian consumers begin to demand greater quality at less prohibitive prices compared to imported brands, there is scope for local brands to step up and fill the gap in the market. Highlighting the ingredients used and where they come from adds to the premium nature of the product and can indicate authenticity, while at the same time allowing Indian consumers to experience global trends.