Flush with high expectations from the Indian market, Beam Suntory has launched a ‘made-for-India’ blended whiskey, and introduced its iconic Yamazaki and Hibiki brands, along with the award-winning Roku craft gin
Japanese company Suntory, the world’s third largest spirits producer, in December launched its own Indian blended whiskey brand, Oaksmith, targeting middle and upper class consumers in the country.
Oaksmith and Oaksmith Gold will be the first spirits owned by Suntory which will be only sold in India. According to Neeraj Kumar (Managing Director of Beam Suntory India) these will compete against Pernod Ricard’s Blender’s Pride and Diageo’s United Spirits brands.
Oaksmith has been crafted by Suntory’s Chief Blender, Shinji Fukuyo, the creator of iconic Japanese whiskies. Oaksmith combines the finest Scotch malts and American Bourbon using Japanese blending craft to make a whiskey unique and authentic to Indian tastes.
Oaksmith is aged for at least 4 years in American oak barrels, which lends it an unmatched smoothness. That gives the brand unique name and also inspires the round bottle labels celebrating its distinctive craftsmanship.
The brands are being launched across all major cities, including Delhi, Mumbai, Pune, Hyderabad and Bengaluru. While Oaksmith Gold (750 ml) retails at Rs 1,375 in Maharashtra and Rs 1,100 in Telangana, Oaksmith retails at Rs 850 in Maharashtra and Rs 650 in Telangana.
From seed to sip, the whiskey is meticulously crafted to achieve a bold spirit that is rich on the nose, yet approachable and well-balanced on one’s palate with a bright, smooth and unexpectedly long finish.
Befitting the unique and distinct flavour palate, the exquisite six-sided bottle with bevelled edges and a tall neck has an equally unique and ergonomic design that is an ode to the finest Japanese craftsmanship.
Fukuyo San said, “My travels across the world have helped me understand and appreciate sophisticated flavour profiles. I travelled across India to understand the different food cultures and flavours. What I saw, heard and tasted helped me explore a variety of flavour profiles and finalise this harmonious blend.”
According to George Kumekawa, Representative of the House of Suntory, the launch signifies the importance of India to the company, and its commitment to lead the growth and premiumisation of the Indian spirits market.
Whiskeys & gin
Beam Suntory’s bold ambitions for India include the iconic Yamazaki Distiller’s Reserve and Hibiki Japanese Harmony whiskies, along with Roku craft gin. This signals its commitment and strategy to grow in India, in line with the company’s aim of reaching US$ 1 billion in revenue by the year 2030.
On the rising popularity of gin in India, Kumekawa said, “With the introduction of Roku gin in India, we are looking to further build the market for both gin as well as craft spirits, to help enthusiasts discover new tastes and experiences.”
Among Beam Suntory’s brands are Jim Beam and Maker’s Mark Bourbons; Kakubin and Courvoisier Cognacs; as well as Knob Creek, Basil Hayden’s and Legent Bourbons; Teacher’s, Laphroaig and Bowmore Scotch whiskies; Hornitos and Sauza tequilas; Effen, Haku and Pinnacle vodkas; Sipsmith and Roku gins; and Midori liqueur.
Suntory was established in 1899 in Tokyo, Japan. Since 1923 it is the pioneer of Japanese whiskies such as Hakushu, Chita and Toki. The introduction of Roku gin and Haku vodka adds two premium white spirits created from Japanese ingredients by the master artisans at the House of Suntory.