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United Spirits plans strategic review of core brands

Diageo’s Indian arm, United Spirits, has begun a strategic review of around 15 brands as part of its strategy to improve profitability.

McDowell’s No 1 whisky is the world’s biggest-selling Indian whisky brand

The Diageo-controlled subsidiary said the review will cover a selection of its Popular brands, which consist of approximately 30 marques. However, only half of the segment will be under review, excluding Indian whiskies McDowell’s and Director’s Special.

McDowell’s No 1 Whisky is the world’s biggest-selling Indian whisky brand. In 2019, McDowell’s grew 6% to reach 30.7 million nine-litre cases, according to Brand Champions data. 

United Spirits said the review continues its strategy towards ‘long-term profitable growth’ through the premiumisation of its portfolio.

Anand Kripalu, managing director and CEO of United Spirits, said: “This review reinforces United Spirits’ and Diageo’s commitment to deliver sustainable long-term growth and improved profitability, through a sharpened focus on core Popular, and Prestige and Above brands, including international brands.”

The strategic review is due to be completed by the end of 2021.

In Diageo’s financial results for the second half of 2020, net sales in India increased 1%. Spirits declined due to the continued economic slowdown and on-trade closures, Diageo said.

Net sales of the Popular brands segment declined 10%, while Prestige and Above brands fell 2%, primarily driven by declines in vodka and Indian-made foreign liquor (IMFL) whisky. Scotch net sales grew 1%, boosted by Johnnie Walker Red Label.

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