Polish vodka takes a shot at Indian market

Polish vodka takes a shot at Indian market

The French owner of Sobieski, the Belvedere Group, has announced it will cooperate with Delhi-based NV Distilleries to distill and distribute the spirit in Delhi and eight other Indian states.

"Without a presence in the emerging market of India, we are not really international," said Christofer Trylinski, director-general of the Belvedere Group. The group hopes to secure a big slice of India's ever-growing vodka market, which retailed seven million cases in 2010 and is growing at 18 to 20 percent annually. In doing so, it will take on current market leaders Smirnoff and Bacardi.

"We aim at capturing at least 25 percent of the vodka market with the launch of Sobieski,"  NV Group chairman Ashok Jain told the Warsaw Business Journal recently. NV Distilleries will also be launching Sobieski Impress, a fruit-flavoured vodka-based breezer with an alcohol content of eight percent. The drink will take on Bacardi's rum-based breezer category and be marketed as an upscale drink.

"We realise an opportunity here and hence we are launching Sobieski Impress," added Jain. Sobieski vodka has captured the US market in a big way in the last five years. It is one of the most popular vodkas there and has left Smirnoff vodka miles behind in popularity.

"The presence of Sobieski vodka in India will be a connoisseur's delight. It is much better than any Russian or American vodka. Poles have traditionally been good vodka makers. This has been their history. At last they are going to conquer the huge Indian subcontinent market," J.J. Singh, president of the Indo-Polish Chamber of Commerce and Industries, told IANS.

"It is refreshing news for me as I always long for Sobieski in India. Occasionally my friends from Poland do oblige me. Now I can rely on its availability in Delhi," Santosh Kumar, a former Indian high commissioner to South Africa, told IANS.