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Meltdown hasn’t affected India’s ‘high spirits’: whisky makers

The global economic downturn might be making economies bleed,but when it comes to enjoying a glass of premium whisky,rest assured that you will be not be denied the pleasure of uplifting spirits.

Written by Debesh Banerjee | New Delhi |
February 2, 2009 12:23:37 am

The global economic downturn might be making economies bleed,but when it comes to enjoying a glass of premium whisky,rest assured that you will be not be denied the pleasure of uplifting spirits. At the second edition of the World Whisky Awards held at the spanking new five-star,the Leela Kempinski in Gurgaon,the world’s best premium scotch whiskies,bourbons and blends from Scotland,Ireland and the USA vied for customers’ attention at their makeshift stalls.

The event was organised by the Whisky Magazine,London,to give out accreditations to the country’s best whisky bars at hotels,restaurants and pubs that foster responsible drinking and maintain the best atmosphere for serving whisky. “We review over 60 nominations from all over the country in criteria such as the glassware,serving etiquette and the quality of whisky served,from which we shortlist around six winners. Through these globally recognised awards,we are striving to achieve internationally accepted whisky practices over the world,” says Sandeep Arora,South Asia representative,Whisky Magazine.

In last year’s chapter,the Whisky Awards saw accreditations being awarded to the Taj Hotels,the ITC Welcome Group,Leela Hotels and the Park Hotels. This year,however,major premium international whisky labels like Jim Beam,Glenlivet,Maker’s Mark and Ardmore also enjoyed patronage from the attendees alongside the awards. “Premium whiskies are economic slowdown-proof. The downturn only assures that the best-quality whisky is offered to customers. And for the discerning customer who enjoys quality,price is not an issue,” says a confident Arora.

Most hotels admit it is hard to ascertain the impact of the downturn on the sale of premium whiskies. “Premium whisky is a highly niche category. However,with the age bar among customers dropping,the market looks promising,” said a spokesperson from Pernod Ricard,owner of the Glenlivet label.

Says Damien Riley,owner of the World Whisky Awards:“The biggest challenge in India is the high import duty,which makes a product 10 times more expensive. On the bright side,duty-free sale of premium whiskies in India is on the rise,” he says,adding that plans are on to introduce the event in Mumbai from next year.

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