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Indian whiskies dominate world's fastest-growing spirit brands

Published:  10 August, 2015

Four out of the five fastest-growing spirits brands in the world are Indian whiskies, according to new research from the IWSR.

Officer's Choice, produced by Mumbai's Allied Blenders & Distillers, is the fastest growing brand. Last year it overtook Diageo's Smirnoff to become the world's leading brand by volume, selling 28.4m cases.

Launched in 1988, Officer's Choice is a grain-based whisky traditionally aimed at a blue-collar market. In recent years, ABD has successfully extended the brand with premium ranges such as Officer's Choice Blue and Officer's Choice Black.

The other Indian whiskies in the top five are Imperial Blue and Royal Stag, both from Pernod Ricard, and McDowell's from Diageo.

The remaining place in the top five goes to Fireball Cinnamon Shot from Sazerac. Sales of Fireball have exploded from 130,000 cases in 2009 to 4.2m in 2014.

There are a seven Indian whisky brands in the top 25.

Whisky is the only spirit in growth in the Indian market. It grew by 4% in 2014. Gin, by contrast, slumped by 12.4%.

India sells 290m cases of spirits a year, making it the second largest market for spirits in the world. China is the world's largest market, consuming 620 million cases.

The International Monetary Fund recently predicted that India would overtake China as the world's fastest growing economy this year.

By the end of the decade it is expected to have an economy the size of Germany and Japan combined.

By 2030 it is likely to become the most populous country in the world.

Despite the fast growth of the country's spirits sector, the market remains undeveloped.

There are only 65,000 licensed spirits retailers in India, meaning there is one retailer for every 18,000 people. That is 76 times lower than the global average, the Times of India reports.