Wine Makers

United Breweries and United Spirits

The most ubiquitous brands of alcohol in India come from two entities of the UB Group chaired by Vijay Mallya, United Breweries and United Spirits. United Breweries, the flagship company of the group, known better to insiders as the 'Beer Division', is the one that brings Kingfisher, the king of good times to the market among other fine brews in market-encompassing price points and tastes. United Spirits brings an array of wines and spirits to the table serving the boozers and the aficionados as well as collectors of the fine and rare.
 
The genesis of United Breweries started off with five breweries in South India, learning the craft and the trade from the British, the oldest being The Castle Brewery which dates back to 1857, an inconsequential footnote in the year of the Indian mutiny. Nearly a century ago in 1915, the five breweries were united under the auspices of founder and first managing director Thomas Lieshman in Madras, giving birth to United Breweries Limited, primarily manufacturing and transporting beer in bulk for British troops. A certain 22 year old gentleman named Vittal Mallya, Vijay Mallya's father, was elected as the company's first Indian director, another inconsequential footnote to India's tryst with destiny in the year 1947. Adding hard liquor to its bar shelves, celebrated Scottish distiller McDowell's became its first subsidiary in 1951, setting up distilleries across the country, soon giving birth to the category term Indian Made Foreign Liquor or IMFL.
 
Today United Breweries is the undisputed the king of good times as India's largest producer of beer with a market share of 48% by volume, sold under the now omnipresent labels of Kingfisher, Zingaro and London Pilsner, among other brands. The Kingfisher brand in itself grabs a chunk of the consumer mindshare with its name given to an airline, a Formula 1 racing team, fashion awards, a swimsuit calendar and other prized sponsorships. The brand also brings The Great Indian Oktoberfest in the true spirit of the German tradition only mixed with a dash of music and extravaganza. Consistently gaining international recognition, Kingfisher has been ranked one of the top 10 fastest growing
brands in the UK. Kingfisher Premium Lager Beer, available at present in 52 countries is the leader among Indian beers in the international market. Kingfisher Bohemia, is a more recent foray of United Breweries into wines, in partnership with a South African company.
 
Heineken, the largest global beer brand presently holds 37.5% stake in United Breweries, enhancing its international beer portfolio in the country, a fact that only bodes too well for the Indian guzzler. United Spirits Limited, on the other hand, is United Breweries's harder counterpart. And by harder, one means liquor-wise, of course. United Spirits is the largest spirits company in the world by volume, no less. Big daddy brands like White & Mackay and Bouvet-Ladubay apart, United Spirits boasts of 22 millionaire brands - meaning, ones that sell more than a million cases an annum – in its vast portfolio. Among the 140 odd brands that take shade under the United Spirits umbrella are McDowell's, Director's Special, Romanov, White Mischief, Bagpiper, Haywards, Royal Challenge, Signature etc. The 2007 acquisition of the
leading Scottish distiller White & Mackay was a game changer, significantly ramping up United Spirits' scotch & single malts portfolio. White & Mackay itself owns some of the finest brands of single malts and blended scotch like The Dalmore, Isle Of Jura, Mackinlays and John Barr, to name a few. The acquisition of the french winery, Bouvet-Ladubay a year before in 2006, was United Spirits' big strategic foray into wines which brought the fine sparkling wine from the Loire Valley to India after having enraptured connoisseurs in 38 other countries previously. The technical collaboration also delivered United Spirits' first home grown winery in Baramati, Maharashtra in 2007, now producing popular Indian Wines under the brands Four Seasons and Zinzi. Not only does United Spirits boast of a 59% marketshare for its first line brands in India, it also enjoys international acclaim as an innovator in the industry, be it in terms of flavors, brand dynamism or packaging. The first pre-mixed gin, the first use of Tetrapack in the Indian spirits industry, the first single malt manufactured in Asia, the first diet versions of vodka and whiskey in India, are among the several pioneering moves to its credit. 
 

Liquor Cabinet

Beer Wines Spirits
Kingfisher Four Seasons
Dalmore
Zingaro Bouvet-Ladubay
Jura
London Pilsner Pinotage Rosé Black Dog
Bullet Chenin Blanc Chardonnay Antiquity
Charger Kingfisher Bohemia Royal Challenge
Marco Polo   McDowell’s No.1
Sand Piper   Pinky
UB Export   Romanov
Kalyani Black Label   Whyte & Mackay
Guru   Signature
    Bouvet
    White Mischief

 

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