German wine brands Becksteiner and J. Oppmann enter India through local alcohol start-up Ciro, Retail News, ET Retail

Now you can toast a glass of German sekt or premium sparkling wine poured into a 14k gold-plated bottle of the J. Oppmann brand that once made champagne for the King of Bavaria.

German premium wine brands J. Oppmann and Becksteiner enter India in February through Chennai-based liquor startup Ciro, which imports brands to take advantage of pandemic times when consumers are stranded by travel restrictions, leaving avid drinkers of international alcobev brands out of step. Consumers typically buy alcohol, perfumes, cigarettes, chocolates, cosmetics, and watches at airport duty-free outlets with prices nearly 40% lower due to the tax exemption .

“Indians don’t travel abroad as much. Restaurant meals are limited. People have thus saved a lot of money during the lockdown. They invest in the best alcoholic beverages imported into the domestic market for domestic consumption. The pandemic has worked in our favor, ”said Roshni Hemdev, Managing Director – Business, Ciro.

The local liquor company – owned by mother-daughter duo Kiran and Roshni Hemdev and her German partner Christian Garrelt Saathoff – will import and retail the wine brands in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka ahead of a nationwide rollout. The portfolio includes red, white and sparkling wines.

In October, Ciro made its debut in the country’s spirits ecosystem with the launch of Brunonia, a heirloom wheat beer brand of Hofbrauhaus Wolters, a 390-year-old brewery in northern Germany. The company is now exploring key markets in Goa and Andhra Pradesh as the next stop for the beer brand.

A secco rose and a boutique champagne are part of the portfolio’s expansion plan this summer. Premium gin and vodka from Germany could be added later this year.

Overall, alcohol companies saw a full recovery and sales growth exceeding pre-Covid levels in the festive quarter ended in December, rebounding from the severe sales cramp after the lockdown was blocked in most parts of the country since March.

“United Spirits (USL) demand has returned to pre-Covid-19 levels. It is also benefiting from some favorable winds – shifting from duty-free to duty-paid and changing beer,” Emkay Securities said after interacted with eight alcohol giants. including USL and Pernod Ricard at an alcobev conference in December.

According to the supreme liquor body, the Confederation of Indian Alcoholic Beverage Companies (CIABC), India is the third largest spirits market in the world by volume. With annual income of Rs 4.5 lakh crore, it is also one of the largest industries in the Indian economy. The industry also contributes around Rs 2.4 lakh crore in taxes to governments, making it one of the biggest tax contributors. It accounts for 20 to 40% of the tax revenues of most state governments.


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Jean H. Vannatta

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