The one thing you’d like to change about the Indian market?
India is indeed an attractive consumer market that offers sustainable growth potential for responsible consumption of all product categories. The one thing that I hope would improve is the consistency in the regulatory and policy framework. India is a high taxation market for imported spirits; and the complex annual state-level policy changes do not augur well for ease of doing business.
Who do you think sets drinking trends in India?
Undoubtedly the consumers! Indian consumers are well travelled, well connected, and are in tune with what is happening around the world. Be it global trends from developed markets or the new indigenous consumption styles, they are adopted by the evolving Indian consumer.
What is the most overrated drinking fad/ drink in India at the moment?
The notion that there is only a certain way in which one should consume alcohol is overrated – that one should use only a particular kind of glass with a particular spirit, or use specific mixers and so on.
In my view, till the time one is drinking responsibly, there is no one way to savour your drink. Prepare it the way you like it, as long as you are responsible about it!
What’s the next big thing for India?
The emergence of cocktail culture in India has been really exciting to see! There has been tremendous interest in this space, and people are trying out cocktails made with whiskies. There are a lot of craft cocktail bars that have come up in India and this trend is certainly here to stay.
The other trend is the advent and the increasing consumer repertoire for flavoured whiskies. These whiskies bring together distinct complementary tastes in a new way and leverage the growing cocktail culture across the globe.
Flavours not only give consumers more choice and increase the occasions, but also help in attracting new ones!
What’s the best motivation for your team?
The fact that Brown Forman India is a certified ‘Great Place to Work’ is a testament to the passion and motivation of all members of the BF-India family.
Besides, the path to ‘spirituality’ begins with the word ‘spirit’, and that is what Brown Forman offers: Great Spirits!
Which is your favourite liquor brand ad campaign?
The recent ‘Make It Count’ global campaign by Jack Daniel’s is certainly my all-time favourite. The campaign beautifully showcases a new way of thinking for a more than 150-year-old brand that celebrates the people who drink it.
It focuses on the impact on people’s lives when they decide to choose boldly and live with purpose every day.
Which is your favourite bar in India, and why?
Atrium, at Taj Land’s End in Mumbai. There is a certain charm to the place and I really like the vibe.
Which of your competitors gives you sleepless nights?
Fortunately, none so far, and I hope it remains like that in the future as well. However, I believe that learning never stops and it is good to be not just aware of the competition but also be agile and humble to take learning (if any) on how they excel.
The one fictional character you’d like to have a drink with?
James Bond – for all his irreverent swag and style quotient!
If you were alone on a desert island, which drink would you want with you?
I am a Frank Sinatra fan. So for me it certainly has to be the Jack Daniel’s Sinatra Select – the ultimate tribute to the great man. And what better than a deserted island to belt out my favourite Sinatra numbers with no one to judge my singing!