Sachin Mehta to head India ops of William Grant
New Delhi: The world’s largest family-run Scotch whisky maker William Grant & Sons has broken tradition again to get a strong foothold into the Indian market. After inking a deal with Modi Distilleries for bottling, which is the 130-yearold Scotch giant’s only bottling arrangement outside Scotland, it has for the first time placed an Indian, Sachin Mehta, at the helm of its local operations.
Mehta, country director of William Grant & Sons India, has taken over from James Pennefather, signalling the heightened ambitions of the company to break into domestic market with low-priced offerings in the scotch whisky category that is currently dominated by Diageo’s Black & White, Beam Suntory’s Teacher’s and Pernod Ricard 100 Pipers.
Apart from other responsibilities, Mehta, who joined William Grant as head of sales in 2016, will spearhead compliance. The maker of Monkey Shoulder and single malts Glenfiddich and Balvenie may bring in more brands from its global portfolio and bottle them locally in the future. Compared with other players in the domestic market, the company, which is the third-biggest Scotch producer after Diageo and Pernod, is a late entrant. India, however, features among the top 10 markets for some of its top brands in the single malt category.
“We entered India in 2013 and started operations in 2014. In the next four to five years, we aim to be among the top four or five markets,” Mehta told TOI. In the single malt category, India has witnessed a healthy CAGR of over 21% (2013-2018). During the period, Glenfiddich, which is one of the leading brands in the category, has been one of the brands driving this growth with a CAGR of 25-30%.