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United Spirits enters craft whisky market

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Liquor major United Spirits Ltd. (USL) has launched United’s Epitome Reserve — a premium artisanal whisky which marks the company’s entry into the craft spirits market.

Epitome Reserve is priced at par with USL’s high-end imported scotch whiskies, the company said. These bottles are available on request or in very select premium outlets. Only 2,000 such bottles are available in the first batch.

Epitome Reserve is a small batch, craft, artisanal whisky made of 100% rice. The most premium Indian whisky sold by USL in the country, it is also India’s first small batch and artisanal 100% rice whisky, which has been distilled in Punjab and matured in Goa.

The launch is set to capitalise on growing demand for premium spirits and locally crafted spirits in India, media sources quoted Deepika Warrier, chief marketing officer, Diageo India (which owns USL) as saying.

India’s alcohol industry is the third largest in the world with a value of USD35 billion. India’s spirit sector — which includes whiskey, brandy, rum and vodka — is estimated to expand 25 percent to 2.92 trillion rupees (USD41 billion) by 2022, according to Euromonitor International.

A major driver in India alcoholic beverages market is growing consumption of alcohol owing to rapid urbanisation and favourable demographics in the country. Rising migration towards bigger cities is boosting Indians’ exposure to a wider variety of alcoholic beverage products, including IMFL and significantly contributing to the market growth. With over 55 per cent of Indians falling in the 18-45 years age group, this consumer set is becoming the primary target for liquor and alco-beverage innovations.