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Brand Champion

Indian Whisky Brand Champions 2015


ABD’s Officer’s Choice grew at an astounding rate last year

For a brand selling more than 20 million cases to deliver double-digit growth is commendable, but to achieve that consistently for the past three years is simply staggering.

Having already experienced 31% growth in the 2013 calendar year, Allied Blenders & Distillers (ABD) predicted it would see further volume increases of 20% on its flagship Indian whisky brand, Officer’s Choice, in 2014.

Company CEO Deepak Roy said at the time he was confident the brand’s expansion into the US would enable Officer’s Choice to “emerge as a brand of choice for whisky consumers”. And it seems he was right.

The brand grew by an astounding 19% to 28.4m cases – well ahead of the category’s overall 6% growth for the year – adding some five million cases onto its global volumes.

ABD claims its “righteous” positioning, new super-premium expression, Officer’s Choice Black, which launched in six Indian states in January, plus a “very emotional and inspiring” anthem that went viral, has given the brand “an unequivocal edge over competitors”.

Last year Officer’s Choice achieved the milestone of becoming the biggest-selling whisky on the planet, but in 2014 it went one step further to top the Brand Champions list of the biggest-selling spirits in the world.

It had ambitious targets to meet this year, but what of next? “We have put in place specific strategies to get share from other categories like dark rum, beer and country liquor,” says Roy. “On the export front we plan to consolidate our business in our existing markets. We also plan to open newer markets like Peru, Ecuador, the Caribbean and Canada in the Americas, Tanzania, Uganda, South Sudan, Ivory Coast and other markets in Africa.

“Officers Choice has a 37% share in the regular whisky segment. Since the segment itself is declining, as market leaders the onus is on us to create excitement within the segment and grow the segment itself.”

For years the brand had jostled for first position in the Indian whisky market against United Spirits’ McDowell’s No.1, which despite adding 1.5m cases to its volumes has now fallen far behind Officer’s Choice. As for the rest of the category, solid gains were made by United Spirits’ Royal Challenge (30%), and Pernod Ricard’s Imperial Blue (29%) and Blender’s Pride (15%), although the story for United Spirits was less than rosy, with eight of its 11 brands posting declines.

Scroll to the bottom of the page to see the rest of our Brand Champions 2015.

BRAND OWNER 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 % +/-
Officer’s Choice Allied Blenders 16 16.5 18.1 23.8 28.4 19%
McDowell’s No.1 United Spirits 14.3 16.1 19.5 23.7 25.1 6%
Royal Stag Pernod Ricard 10.4 12.5 14.0 14.8 16.1 9%
Imperial Blue Pernod Ricard 6.1 7.2 8.8 10.9 14.1 29%
Old Tavern United Spirits 9.1 11.1 11.6 11.5 11.2 -3%
Original Choice John Distilleries 10.9 10.7 10.9 10.0 10.5 5%
Hayward’s Fine United Spirits 4.7 6.2 7.1 9.2 10.4 14%
Bagpiper United Spirits 16.4 16.0 14.1 11.6 9.5 -18%
Blenders Pride Pernod Ricard 2.8 3.5 4.0 4.2 4.8 15%
8PM Radico Khaitan 3.9 4.3 4.9 4.8 4.3 -10%
Director’s Special United Spirits 7.4 7.5 7.2 6.8 5.9 -13%
Royal Challenge United Spirits 1.2 1.4 1.7 2.1 2.7 30%
Signature Whisky United Spirits 1.3 1.7 1.8 1.8 1.8 -2%
McDowell’s Green Label United Spirits 2.5 2.9 3.3 2.8 1.7 -38%
Gold Riband United Spirits 2.3 3.1 3.5 2.3 1.5 -34%
Men’s Club Whisky United Spirits 0.7 1 1.3 1.3 1.4 12%
Crown Radico Khaitan n/a n/a 0.6 1.1 1.0 -11%


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