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Reuters/Vivek Prakash
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Four of the world’s five fastest growing spirits brands are Indian whiskeys

By Manu Balachandran

Indian whiskeys are now the world’s fastest growing spirits brands.

Officer’s Choice—a 27-year-old brand promoted by Mumbai’s Allied Blenders & Distillers (ABD)—is leading the pack. It has become the world’s largest spirits brand by volume, overtaking Smirnoff, in June.

The other Indian brands, according to London-based International Wine and Spirit Research (IWSR), include Diageo-owned McDowell’s, Pernod Ricard’s Imperial Blue, and Royal Stag. Of the world’s top 25 fastest-growing spirit brands, 12 are Indian.

“Officer’s Choice has its feet firmly planted in the working-class section of Indian society, having historically targeted blue collar workers and daily wage earners,” IWSR said in a report. “As the second most populous country on the planet, and one of its fastest growing economies, the opportunities within the Indian spirits market are plentiful, especially among this lower socio-economic group.”

Meanwhile, whiskey continues to be a favourite among Indian tipplers. Domestic consumption of whiskey grew by 4% between 2013 and 2014, while the sales of all other spirits, including rum, vodka and brandy, saw a decline in consumption.