New Delhi, December 17: At a distillery close to New Delhi, oak barrels that were formerly used to hold wine and bourbon are stacked high with aged whisky as workers produce over 10,000 bottles of India’s single malt Indri a day, which has just been crowned the greatest whisky in the world. The distillery is surrounded by sugarcane and mustard fields rather than peat bogs. Piccadily, the owner of the two-year-old Indian brand, is increasing output and constructing a three-hole golf course to attract whisky enthusiasts and tipplers in the country.

India’s $33 billion spirits business is changing as the nation emerges as a producer of whisky as well as a consumer, thanks to its single malt whiskies. Indri Whisky Is the World’s Best Whisky: Indian Whiskey Wins ‘Best in Show Double Gold’ at Whiskies of the World Awards 2023.

Renowned international brands like France’s Pernod Ricard’s Glenlivet and Britain’s Diageo’s Talisker compete with regional competitors like Indri, Amrut, and Radico Khaitan’s Rampur for shelf space. In contrast to many Asian nations where beer accounts for the majority of alcohol sales, India is primarily a whisky-drinking country. Global recognition, rising wealth, and a wave of consumers testing out new brands while cooped up during COVID-19 all upended India’s whisky market, according to experts and industry executives.

Defying competitors from Scotland and the United States, Indri’s $421 (Rs 34,960) Diwali Collector’s Edition took home the title of “Best in Show” at the Whiskies of a World Awards blind tasting in San Francisco in August 2023. Global firms that have concentrated on single malts matured in Scotland are turning to Indian whiskies in response to the drink-India trend in order to capitalise on the growth in one of the largest whisky markets globally. India Topples France As UK’s Largest Scotch Whisky Market in Terms of Volume With 60% Hike in Imports in 2022.

Pernod uncorked its first made-in-India single malt on Wednesday, the $48 Longitude 77, accompanied by Bollywood stars and Indian music. The company intends to expand sales to Dubai and, eventually the rest of the world. Further, the biggest competitor to Pernod, Diageo, introduced Godawan, its first Indian single malt, last year. Named after a giant, endangered Indian bird, Godawan is sold in five international countries, including the US.

(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Dec 17, 2023 12:23 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website