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McDowell’s No. 1 sales reach US$3.8bn

United Spirits has reported record retail sales for McDowell’s No. 1, its global whisky, rum and brandy brand, with nearly half a billion 75cl bottles worth US$3.8bn sold in the year 2012-13.

The portfolio has doubled in retail valuation in four years to 1,677 million units (431.1 million litres) across all flavours (whisky, rum and brandy) and pack sizes, making McDowell’s No. 1 the largest alcoholic beverage franchise in India by volume and value, and the largest FMCG brand by retail value. McDowell’s No. 1 whisky franchise today is the largest non-Scotch whisky offering in the world.

Dr Vijay Mallya, UB Group chairman says: “I have been involved with the development of the McDowell's brand franchise since the early 1980s. It is hence, a matter of great pride for me personally to see the McDowell's No 1 Franchise realize its vision.

"Half a billion standard (75cl) bottles of McDowell’s No. 1 portfolio, of which the whisky forms the most significant part, is an endorsement of our early recognition of the prestige and premium opportunity in India. McDowell’s No. 1 Whisky has created an equally iconic landmark in global markets, clocking nearly half a million cases of sales in a single year in Nigeria. It is now the largest whisky brand in Nigeria. Going forward, with the emerging markets initiative, I am confident that this portfolio will continue to be a front runner in creating shareholder value through consistently delighting consumers through path breaking innovation and market activation.”

Ashok Capoor, president and MD, United Spirits adds: “Never before has any brand achieved a double digit growth of 12% on a significant volume base of 44 million cases in the previous year, in a highly regulated market with sales and marketing challenges in every state. United Spirits has created an unprecedented landmark yet again in the history of alcoholic beverage industry in the world. This success has been driven by USL's premiumisation strategy and innovation - introduction of premium brands under the McDowell’s No. 1 banner, refurbishment of the range. The brand has created new benchmarks be it by way of contribution to USL’s top-line and bottom-line, retail value or, growth vis a vis industry performance. The record-breaking performance by McDowell’s No. 1 is a reiteration of the great faith affirmed in the brand by consumers and our trade partners. We thank our consumers and all our partners for their support."

McDowell’s No. 1 operates in the prestige and above price segments with its McDowell’s No. 1 Brandy, McDowell’s No.1 Celebration Rum, McDowell’s No. 1 Whisky, McDowell’s No.1 Platinum Whisky, and McDowell’s No.1 Diet Mate Whisky. Prestige Industry’s growth for last year was 10%. CAGR for 5 years for Prestige was 12%. McDowell’s No. 1 brandy grew by 6% CAGR, McDowell’s No. 1 Celebration rum recorded a growth of 15% CAGR over 5 years, while the segment grew only by 10% CAGR during the period. The McDowell’s No. 1 whisky franchise grew by 19%. McDowell’s No. 1 Celebration Rum is 4.5 times its nearest competitor, Old Monk, while McDowell’s No. 1 whisky is 1.5 times of Royal Stag. McDowell’s No. 1 Brandy is 1.5 times its nearest competitor.

“Consistency in quality, innovative packaging, value packed innovations, strong sales push, has triggered the brand to capture disproportionate growth in the market. We have consistently launched new and premium variants across flavors to move consumers up the value chain and increase portfolio contribution. The trend will continue in the next couple of quarters. We had spotted the opportunity in the prestige and premium segment early on. This record success is an outcome of our revolutionary approach to consumer demands,” added Capoor.

The brand McDowell’s No.1 was created in 1960 with the launch of McDowell’s No.1 Brandy. Just as modern India was waking up to appreciate well produced, consistent and well-marketed brands as against commodities, it augured well for the McDowell’s No. 1 template that followed with the launch of whisky and rum in the 1970s and the 1990s respectively. This was also the era of evolving friendships and moments to celebrate with friends. McDowell’s No. 1 pushed the paradigm with never-before packaging, wearing the quality assurance seal literally on its sleeve. The brand introduced several SKUs and many packaging innovations to consumers, as an opportunity for consumers to experience a differentiated value proposition. The SKUs covered every price point within the prestige segment to ensure availability to the consumer for various moods and occasions (prestige defined by the Rs. 300/- to Rs. 580/- price band for a 750ml bottle).

29 April 2013 - Felicity Murray