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In Tipsy Kerala, They Don’t Whine, but Try Wine


Partial prohibition triggers consumption; Number of women consumers too on rise

Kochi: Kerala could soon become the winery capital of India, given the way consumption of wine has increased in Kerala and new products have flooded the state.

Wine-drinking has caught up in Kerala over the past two years, especially after the state government decided to convert all bars, except the five-star ones, into wine and beer parlours as part of its effort to impose partial prohibition.

Interestingly, as in the rest of the country, the number of women consumers of wine are growing in the state, prompting leading wine maker Sula Vineyards to introduce the red version of its sparkling wine, made especially for women, in addition to the white already present there.

For a company that sold a few thousand cases of wine in the state, Sula’s market share has shot,up to 32% which is higher than in many other regions in the country “Kerala now accounts for about 5% of our total sales in the country,” said Cecilia Oldne, vice-president, marketing.

The company sold around 1 million cases in the country. The significant change that happened during the year is that premium segment wines are finding more takers: Earlier, economy wines were a hit in the market, but the arrival of self-serving outlets in Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram and the introduction of premium wines on the restaurant menus have helped boost sales.

This segment is growing in the range of 15-60% for different companies. “We find a strong growth for wines in the price range of 2600 to 1,500,” said Sumedh Singh Mandla, CEO of Grover Zampa Vineyards, another major wine maker. The state could be in for a flurry of launches soon.

While Sula is planning to launch its 100% grape spirit in the premium segment, Grover is ready to introduce a sparkling wine and the Vijay Amritraj collection of wines in the state.

Another wine maker Riona Wines is also exploring options to enter the state. “We are looking for a suitable alliance to enter Kerala,” said company director KT Mane. The Kerala State Beverages Corporation (Bevco), which holds monopoly for the sale of alcohol in the state, is yet to compile the final data for 2015-16, but its figures for first half of the year pegs growth in wine consumption at 260 % com-pared with 63% for beer, while predictably IMFL sales have fallen 25% from a year earlier.

Source: Economic Times
(Photo: www.bergeracwinetours.com)

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