Ahmed Rahimtoola serves as the Head of Marketing at Allied Blenders and Distillers Pvt. Ltd, the third largest alcobev company of India. Its flagship brand Officer’s Choice Blue was recently launched in Nepal. We caught up with him at a program organised to mark the launch of ABD’s whisky. Excerpts:
Is foraying into Nepali market part of the expansion plans of Allied Blenders and Distillers globally?
Allied Blenders and Distillers is one of the fastest-growing spirit companies. Today Allied Blenders & Distillers enjoys a global footprint with presence in 26 countries including key markets like India, UAE, Oman, Qatar, Bahrain, Nigeria, Tanzania, Malaysia, Singapore, Chile, Haiti and USA.
Nepal has always been on the radar for ABD. The evolving taste of consumers coupled with greater exposure to a host of alcobev trends and brands makes Nepal an attractive market for any alcobev player. ABD’s foray into Nepal is the coming together of ABD’s global expansion plans as well as the emergence of an informed and discerning consumer base in Nepal. Excerpts of a conversation with Ahmed Rahimtoola…
What is the unique selling point of Officer’s Choice Blue?
Officer’s Choice Blue was launched in 2011 and holds the unique distinction of selling more than a million cases in the very first year of launch. Building on the successes over the last six years, the brand now does annual sales of eight million cases.
Its unique blend of Scotch malts and select grain spirits along with its immaculate packaging and engaging communication has won over millions of consumers across the globe.
Officer’s Choice Blue has been targeted at the discerning youth of today who are image conscious and connoisseurs of good whisky.
Also the unique twist-lock cap on the 750ml bottle provides enhanced security and tamper proof features with greater convenience to consumers.
What is your business strategy for Nepal?
ABD’s foray into Nepal is a long-term business imperative for the company. We are starting out with Officer’s Choice Blue, a mass premium brand which is aimed at a larger alcobev audience. We want to establish the brand firmly in the market on the back of blend superiority and unique positioning.
We will also be evaluating the rollout of other brands from the ABD to gauge stability in the times to come.
The spirit market in Nepal is extremely competitive, how do you envision Officer’s Choice being a preferred choice of whisky here?
We have very strong conviction on the blend of Officer’s Choice Blue as it is crafted with the finest imported Scotch Malts and Pure Grain Spirits. It’s been accepted and admired by consumers worldwide. We have a comprehensive plan to reach out to consumers of Nepal through a holistic approach comprising of print, outdoor visibility, sports associations and trial sampling programs.
Could you tell me about your distribution and supply network here?
Shangri-La Spirits Private Limited which is part of the Golchha Organisation is our distribution partner in Nepal. Additionally, we have stock points at Kathmandu and Chitwan and a wide spread distribution network to ensure availability of Officers Choice Blue Whisky across Nepal.
Do you have a communication/marketing campaign especially for the Nepali market?
The positioning of ‘Officer’s Choice Blue’ has always centered on the timeless value of righteousness and it resonates with the core of our young, progressive, discerning target audience. Righteousness is a universal value and can be comprehended by nearly every section of society. With our expansion in the Nepal market, we intend to take forward this positioning and play on the strength of righteousness platform. We believe that our brand building on the righteous platform will be distinct from competition and enable us to succeed in this market.