INDIA: United Spirits toasts growing wine sales - report
United Spirits owner Vijay Mallya sees more Indian women drinking wine
The head of United Spirits, Vijay Mallya, has said that the company needs to increase its bottling capacity to serve a growing number of wine consumers in its native India.
Billionaire Mallya told a press conference yesterday (29 September) that India's wine market has a "pretty bright future" due to the growing number of women taking an interest in the sector. His comments were reported by India's Business Standard newspaper.
Mallya said that United Spirits would seek to ramp up its own bottling capacity to meet higher demand and reduce its reliance on less profitable contract bottling. He added that United Spirits plans to begin exporting its Four Seasons wine under the 'Ritu' brand name within the next couple months.
United Spirits is the second largest spirits producer by volume in the world, courtesy of India's taste for whisky. However, India's wine market has been on a rollercoaster ride in the last few years, dogged by the financial demise of industry pioneer Indage Vintners.
Wine sales have struggled in the last two years and producers complain that they are constrained by inter-state regulations.
India is still a fledgling market, with only an estimated 1.5m cases sold in the last year, of which roughly 20% is imported. However, despite regulatory and financial problems, consumption is still expected to rise to 4m cases by 2015.
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United Spirits has said that it expects to acquire control of India's Pioneer Distilleries by early February....
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