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BY Imran Fazal

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Dewar’s launched its Double Double series and the Japanese Smooth Whisky, what drove you to launch these in India?
Stephanie: We challenged ourselves as a company to produce our smoothest whisky ever. So, as you know, we double aged all Dewar’s blends. And by double aging I mean that we take the nearly created blend of malts and greens, and we fill them back into specially selected oak casks. This gives another dimension of smoothness to our whisky. It costs us a lot of money in terms of space, in terms of wood, in terms of people, but we truly believe that it makes our whiskies taste smooth. It also requires further process to make it tastier. 

How Dewar’s intends to increase its market share in India? What are the expansion plans in upcoming months?
Vijay: For Dewar’s, India is one of the top three priority markets globally, and it presents an exciting growth opportunity for the brand as India is the largest whisky-drinking nation by volume. We are now seeing a rise in trends like ‘premiumization,’ where consumers want to drink less but drink better. We are now launching our premium Dewar’s Double Double range; the series is crafted using an innovative four-step aging process, making your drinks incredibly smooth. Another trend that we are witnessing is that consumers are willing to experiment a lot more, they want to try new whiskies, and they are open to drinking their whisky in various ways. This is increasing the cocktail culture in the country, giving us an opportunity to innovate. We will also be launching Dewar’s Japanese Smooth blended Scotch whisky, bringing two cultures of Scotland and Japan to India. The specialty of this whisky is that its flavour comes from maturing in Mizunara Oak casks, with no additives.

A liquor brand requires various innovative marketing strategies, how much spends does Dewar's allocate to reach the masses?
Vijay: At Bacardi, we keep consumers at the heart of everything we do across all our brands. With Dewar’s, we are building culturally relevant experiences that inspire our new-age consumers. Our strategy has always been to invest in creating sustainable platforms and experiences that create a greater impact and increases cultural relevance. For example, consumers were spending more time online during the pandemic. So we pivoted our marketing strategies to move our on-ground experiences like ‘You Got Chef'd’ and ‘The Doers Club’ to a virtual format that fit our consumers’ needs and helped us stay connected with them. We will continue to invest in marketing activities that keep consumers at the heart and help build stronger connections with them. 

When we look at the Indian market for whisky, how big is the market and what is the current scenario you’re looking at?
Stephanie: Well, India is the top 3 priority markets for Bacardi, and, we are really excited about India. They’re drinking Dewar’s as cocktails, they’re drinking it with food as well. So, it’s not just something that people drink only before food, they’re drinking it with food as well. So, we’ve got huge plans for India, and we’re really building on ‘premiumization.’ This was a part of the reason why we introduced a Double Double range. We know that people want to indulge and they want to spend their money well, and they want to really appreciate the flavour. So we are really excited about India.

What other innovative strategies is Dewar's implementing to reach the masses?
Vijay: Over the years, we've created some distinct experiences, such as ‘The Doers Club,’ which is on the intersection of our double-aged Dewar’s Scotch whisky, and gastronomy.  Embodying the brand's motto of 'Double Is Better,' it features the best celebrity chefs in the country, and A-list celebrities who have an interest in food and scotch.

We recently witnessed the consumers' inclination to experiment with whisky cocktails and food pairings. Thus, we’ve introduced ‘You Got Chef'd’ - a content series that showcases incredible gourmet delights and pairs them with delicious Dewar’s highball cocktails. We've had three successful seasons, of which the latest one featured Chef Ranveer Brar along with celebrities like Arjun Kapoor, and Bhumi Pednekar, among others. 

Post pandemic, India's preference for mocktails has grown, and we’ve launched Dewar’s ‘Highball Hour,’ a TV series on FoodFood - Indian food and lifestyle channel. The show comprises eight episodes hosted by Chef Saransh Goila and Dewar’s India Ambassador – Myles Carroll. It focuses exclusively on highball mocktails and tapas. The show's objective is to educate viewers about the art and nuances behind pairing delectable highball mocktails with the right finger foods. 

We will continue to curate unique experiences and campaigns that help us connect with our consumers and amplify their whisky experience.

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Tags : #launch #new whiskies #Vijay Dev #Bacardi India #Stephanie MacLeod #Dewar’s #Blender