Last April, we posted about Hard Cider in India. We occasionally (obsessively) check our site stats here at CiderPlex and have noticed quite a lot of people searching for information about the Indian cider scene (or lack thereof).
While we mentioned a couple India-bred cider brands mentioned in this dna article from 2007 such as Tempest and Green Valley Cidery, it appears the Indian market has yet to fully embrace cider.
According to this 2015 Cider/Perry in India Country Report from Euromonitor International (full report available for the low price of $990 — hey expert beverage market analysis isn’t cheap!):
Cider/perry continues to be insignificant in India. Whilst some high-end on-trade outlets offer cider to cater to foreigners, this remains a niche product. The leading alcoholic drinks companies in India are not involved in the production and marketing of cider/perry in India. Imported brands are brought in occasionally through on-trade outlets, although this is dependent on the demand. Given the low awareness of cider/perry in the country, it is not likely that alcoholic drinks companies in India will look to enter the category of cider/perry in a significant way over the forecast period.
Since there is a cider gold-rush going on, people are determined to bring cider to new markets such as India and make a killing.
This 2015 Grant Thorton article profiles British cidermaker Aston Manor Cider’s (makers of Cumpton Oaks Cider) “mission to bring cider to India.” From the article:
Aston Manor Cider in Birmingham is one of the world’s largest independent producers of cider and already exports a range of ciders to more than 20 countries including America, Russia and a number of countries in Africa.
As part of its international growth strategy, it conducted some top-line research into the Indian market several years ago, even going so far as to match the company’s ciders to different curries, but the idea stalled as other priorities overtook the business.
“We were interested in the size of the country, the number of consumers and its strong and growing beer market – we felt there was a natural affinity with cider,” says Managing Director Gordon Johncox. “But we felt India would be a tough nut to crack. We knew the barriers to entry would be quite high and that the business environment would be very different: much less structured, more volatile and fast-moving.”
With the company growing fast, the idea of breaking into India was put on the backburner – until Grant Thornton organised a trade visit to New Delhi earlier this year and offered clients the opportunity to join.
It was the perfect chance for Gordon to test his assumption that India’s young middle classes were ready for a cider drink. Together with Anuj Chande, head of our South Asia Group, and Ben Eason from our Growth 365 service, which supports leaders of fast-growing businesses, the UK contingent met with colleagues at Grant Thornton India and arranged to see a number of local businesses in the food and beverage sector.
So what did Gordon learn about doing business in India?
“India has a very, very large beer market. Premium imported beers are being consumed by younger, more affluent consumers who don’t want to drink what their parents drank. India is a difficult market to enter, no question, but we believe this offers us a fantastic opportunity.
“I’ve also learnt that when it comes to alcohol, each state acts like a separate country with different levels of excise duty, different laws around how alcohol is retailed and, in fact, moving alcohol from state to state is like an import-export transaction. But the size of the prize and the opportunities we saw while we were in India make it absolutely a prize worth going for.”
And does he have any advice for other mid-sized businesses thinking of taking their first step overseas?
“You have to invest time, effort and energy in building relationships at senior level. And that means face-to-face contact and visiting that country.
“You also have to be patient. While the Indian market is growing and developing, it does take time for things to happen. Hang in there with patience and tenacity, and you stand a pretty good chance of getting somewhere.”
Checking out Crumpton Oaks offerings online, I noticed that they sell their cider in 2 liter plastic bottles!! Yech! Just nasty. I’ve said it before: beer and cider shouldn’t be sold in plastic bottles. It’s like when you go to a sporting event and they give you a plastic beer bottle that gets warm in 5 seconds.
Also…gotta say we’re not a huge fan of the name Crumpton Oaks (“crumpton” just doesn’t sound appetizing), BUT I’ve never actually tried it so it’s possible it’s the best cider ever created by man. Who knows?