With consumers looking to elevate their at-home drinking experience with simple solutions, Moët Hennessy India, a part of leading French conglomerate LVMH – Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, has launched limited-edition craft-mixers in collaboration with a home-grown brand, Svami. Smriti Sekhsaria – Head Marketing, Champagnes and Spirits - Moët Hennessy India shares insights behind the collaboration, the new mixes, changing consumption patterns and more
Q] What was the insight behind this new venture to bring an easy cocktailing experience to consumers?
With the pandemic, there was a significant increase in home chefs, bakers, and what we like to refer to as pantry mixologists. The retail channel was forced to shut down, paving the way for a new channel of consumption, home premise. With high discretionary incomes and fewer platforms for expenditure, we saw consumers opting for premium products. Both these factors proved to be beneficial to us and led us to think of an innovative way forward.
Even though we saw consumers starting to experiment with creating their favourite cocktails at home, we found that some of them were struggling to create the perfect concoction. By introducing mixers by Svami, made specifically to create three different and delicious cocktails, we aim to elevate the at home premise while tackling the obstacles that consumers face. Inspired by the flavours of our three distinct spirits, we set out to create mixers that are 100% natural with no artificial flavours for consumers to enhance their home premise moments.
Q] Tell us about the collaboration with home-grown brand, Svami. What are the synergies with the brand and how do you aim to leverage them?
We believe that this is the first collaboration of its kind in the country. Since the products have been uniquely curated, we decided to introduce this as a limited-edition collaboration with Svami drinks for India. India has wonderful home-grown brands and these native local brands are showcasing their quality in terms of product, production, value and presence. We wanted a partner who understood the taste profile of each of our spirits and was also able to match the quality. Svami was able to create some extremely delicious mixers, all inspired by local ingredients, an ethos we fully share and support. The synergies were completely aligned in every sense and we are very happy with the way this partnership has played out.
Q] The mixers are inspired by Indian indigenous flavours. Please tell us the insight behind the choice of flavours, and how does it speak to the TG?
The inspiration was to bring an India first story to life, which subsequently also matches the global taste profile of Glenmorangie, Belvedere and Hennessy. The flavour profile for each mixer is inspired by India and the robust local ingredients it has to offer; from the pepper in the spiced ginger ale for Hennessy Very Special to the pomelo ‘chakotra’ for Belvedere Pure and the tangerine ‘santra’’ for Glenmorangie Original, each ingredient can be linked to an integral ingredient that our culture and our people are familiar with.
Q] Can you share some insights on how drinking in India has changed post the pandemic? What has the growth in home consumption and preference been like among consumers?
We saw the most potential in the mixing space especially because of the home premise. India has always been a brown spirits market, but recently individuals were looking at creating leisure experiences at home, and our wine portfolio gained even more popularity. The reason is wines eradicate the need to mix. The second trend that caught our attention is that of food pairing. While it wasn’t necessarily a repercussion of COVID-19, we did notice consumers are now making conscious choices with what they are consuming. Pre-pandemic, people opted to drink after work and before dinner as a way to unwind after a long day or even just to catch up with a friend. Now with most people working from home, people can drink and eat their dinner all at their own homes.
Q] During the pandemic, India’s liquor market has undergone a premiumisation. How has that played out for Moët Hennessy?
Indeed one of the growing trends we have observed is that of premiumisation. Since consumption is now occurring in closer-knit groups, consumers are not compromising on the quality of liquor, which is leading to premiumisation. We believe this trend is here to stay. In India, our presence is in the super-premium segment, and over the last two years, we have seen a spurt in our growth rate, driven by premiumisation. In the overall brown spirits segment, we have seen consumers trade up during the pandemic, and we have seen consumption shifting towards our prestige range; Glenmorangie Signet, Grand Vintage. Similarly, we also saw trade up with cognac where Hennessy V.S got traded up to Hennessy V.S.O.P and Hennessy XO, specifically in South India.
Q] How has your marketing strategy evolved in India through the pandemic?
Evolving consumer trends are impacting our marketing strategies. While the world is seeing trends in tequila, rum, RTDs, low ABV and gin, very few brands have been able to impact their consumers at a large scale. Along with premiumisation, there is also a focus on health which is why we made the call to introduce mixers without sugars. Our marketing strategies are created to focus on building advocacy with consumers that align with the values of our brand and recruit similar-minded consumers from across the nation. Our digital platforms provide new strategy options and we will continue to push the envelope on consumer forward digital inroads.
Q] With normalcy gradually returning, what key changes are you anticipating?
We look forward to meeting consumers in person and curating experiences with them and for them, physically. We believe the consumer will continue to value experiences even as they step into restaurants and bars. On-premise events will need to be more thoughtful to retain consumers and recruit new target audiences. Consumers will continue to be experimental, curious and conscious of what and how they consume. Digital platforms will continue to drive discovery and conversations, which will need to get further elevated to be in sync with our physical environments.