The Indian beverage industry has seen the most action since independence over the past decade. We have gone from a shy consumer to an aggressive player on an international scale: world-class production facilities, local wines and spirits that win medals on the world stage, and indigenous labels that conquer markets and categories. of the whole world. It all started with wine when a series of young brands decided to change the way wine was presented and consumed in India. The affordable but easy-to-drink revolution that Sula started was fostered by brands like York, Fratelli and even Grover’s (in its new incarnation) while, at the same time, boutique brands like KRSMA have shown us that it is actually possible to make world class wines. on Indian soils.
The craze for gin and tonic
It was only the beginning of what followed was truly colossal. No one thought young India would embrace gin and tonic the way they did because, although historically speaking India was the birthplace of the drink, the cocktail had never really ventured beyond the clubs of the armed forces. The new wave was quickly fueled by a plethora of native gin brands, many of which are based in Goa. These brands have gone beyond the standard London Dry by creatively harnessing all permutations of Indian plants, putting regional cuisines in the spotlight. Terai played with a delicate balance of basil and fennel in a rice-based spirit, Hapusa pushed the boundaries with Himalayan juniper while others like Stranger & Sons are wrapped in a heady blend of spices. and a unique blend of citrus peels. But this evolution of gin would not have had the same impact if their launch had not been complemented by the advent of local brands of tonic waters. Svami, Sepoy & Co., Vaum, Jade Forest, the list grows even as we bring it together here. These tonics didn’t stop at standard products either, incorporating flavor and finding new ways to cut calories without compromising flavor. Overall, even sticking to Indian brands, the possible G + T combinations can run into the hundreds!
Other Spirits …
However, as 2021 draws to a close, the gin fever appears to be easing. But that doesn’t ring true for others as new entrants to the scene include rums (light and slightly aged), which are starting to gain attention. And these rums are priced higher, often made in stills and with ingredients better than molasses, so they really outperform anything that came before them. Makazai does things to drink, Two Indies’ by Amrut is a strong contender for my current favorite, and then there’s Segredo Aldeia, which also makes a unique coffee rum that’s more liquor than spirits, and makes an unusual digestive. Even as this category finds its marks, other players are rallying by betting on hitherto unseen categories, Pistola pure agave spirit (think, Mezcal) will soon be launched, joining versions of Des-mondji that had long gone unnoticed. on the shelves of Goan. It is about making eaux-de-vie (Sula started Janus Tranquil a while ago and we haven’t heard much about it since), vermouths (I recently tried the Vinicola version in Goa and I’m into it. came out pleasantly surprised), aperitifs and other fruit-based distillates.
… and ferments
Speaking of fruits, even the ferments get big; Fruzzante leads the pack with great wines and spritzers. They also make a honey-based dessert wine, Ark, something I recommend buying and storing as it gets better with aging. And honey is a good transition to mead, which finds its own place. Although many microbreweries are doing it, Moonshine is our first commercial bottled brand with a version so rare and valuable that it only sells by pre-order. Apple cider is another category to watch out for and Siqera’s rules for now, although new entrants working with fresh Himalayan produce are set to hit shelves soon.
For the love of sobriety
Growth in the beverage industry is not entirely attributable to alcohol; an equally large demand results in 0% space. From the mixers mentioned above to others like Alcohol Free Rum and Cola (by Svami), Not Old Fashioned (by Kati Patang), Gingerales, Ginger Beers (by Gunsberg) and many brands of ready mixes. for cocktails, these are some of the curiosities which, although they still need to be tweaked, certainly appear more often at parties.
Penny wise, premium category
The price range is the most interesting aspect of this market, which starts with competitive prices all the way to affordable but premium prices and then moves on to luxury, which ensures that regardless of purchasing power , there is always something to serve all levels of curiosities. In the future, as laws loosen and attitudes relax towards the production and distribution of beverages (alcoholic and non-alcoholic), the world’s largest (and youngest) democracy is now on the verge of “voting” for what may soon become some of the most consumed beverage brands. on the planet. And yes, unlike ordinary elections, this one promises to be a hell of a party!