Jack Daniel’s expands its India portfolio and Beam Suntory brands like Jim Beam and Maker’s Mark give India more love.
The world’s biggest Whiskey market: India is the world’s largest whiskey (we like the extra ‘e’ in whiskey) market in terms of sheer volumes. The country consumes more than half of the world’s whiskey! It’s still some distance away from countries like France and the US in terms of per capita consumption. International brands have often struggled to navigate the country’s complex (state-wise) liquor laws and retail channels. But that’s changing even in markets like Chennai. The city didn’t have too many options for American Whiskey fans until recently.
JD’s big push: We were at a special evening at the Park Chennai on June 16, 2016 where Shathbhi Basu, the American Whiskey Ambassador, India put the spotlight on American whiskey. We tried 5 whiskeys – JD, Gentleman’s Jack, Jim Beam (White), Maker’s Mark (these two from the Beam Suntory portfolio) and the somewhat sweet JD Tennessee Honey that’s more liqueur than whiskey. All these whiskeys are now available in Chennai (prices ranging from about Rs 5,000 – Rs 6,500 for a 750 ml bottle). Woodford Reserve, arguably one of the finest American whiskies is also available in Chennai. You can also order some of them through Madhuloka in Bangalore.
Why American whiskeys have our attention: American Whiskeys don’t just keep it simple – yes, it’s what you probably drink with your buddies in a busy bar (Scotch for us might be something you drink in your den!), but are just way more ‘cocktail friendly’. We sampled at least 4 cocktails (including a clever Honey Iced tea with JD Honey; certainly lighter than a Long Island Iced Tea). Our pick for the evening was the most modest of them all – the Jim Bean White (4 YO). You can buy an Indian-bottled version in many parts of India for about Rs 1,500. You don’t always need to fall back on Duty Free!