From maturing processes to market approach, there’s a lot that stands out for India’s latest homegrown whiskey, the Kamet single malt.
Whiskey might be the most popular spirit in the country but when it comes to premium whiskies, especially single malts, there aren’t many domestic brands. Which is why any time a homegrown name does pop up, it’s cause for excitement. Kamet, the newest name among Indian single malts, comes from Peak Spirits, a company that also has the gin named Jin JiJi in the market. Unlike the gin though, which is produced exclusively for export, with the whiskey, the company is looking to make inroads into the domestic market.
On paper, Kamet’s credentials look strong. The brand’s team of blenders comprises Surrinder Kumar and Nancy Fraley. While Kumar was the master blender for Amrut for nearly three decades, and is widely regarded as the person responsible for the Indian single malt movement, Fraley is the director of the American Distilling Institute and is an industry veteran who has worked for years with several distilleries in the US.
The whiskey making process, too, holds significance, with sherry, wine and bourbon casks used to mature the spirit. The use of sherry casks, especially, is an industry-first and is what lends the whiskey a fruity aroma.
Khanna is confident in the quality of his product and the competitive price point at which it has been launched. “We wanted to launch something that is more accessible but with impeccable quality. Our maturing process is unique for this segment; it’s something you’ll see used for special edition expressions by the bigger labels. Our quality to price ratio is possibly our biggest advantage.”
However, Peak Spirits, with the Kamet single malt, is not looking solely at carving out a niche in the market; there’s a bigger picture in play. “We’re a craft brand where quality and passion is most important. We’re not looking only at goals such as eating into market share, as is natural for big corporates in the space. We don’t see the other big single malt players in the country as competition but rather as part of our category, together with whom we can grow the Indian single malt segment,” says Ansh Khanna, co-founder of Peak Spirits.
While the domestic market is a focus for Kamet, overseas, the largest market is the US. In fact, the brand already has a distribution network and is looking to establish presence in over 30 markets in the US and in Europe too.
Peak Spirits’ approach to the customer is also different from the kind we’ve seen employed by entrenched labels in our market. “We’re not looking to be as serious as some of the single malt brands already in existence. Of course, one of the key segments we’re looking at are the mature drinkers who have years of experience and evolved palates. But there’s also a second segment, which is the younger audience, between 25 and 35 years of age. We’ve noticed a lot of excitement in this segment for homegrown brands, where people are concerned with what’s in their glass and also, the Vocal for Local movement.”
While the Kamet single malt has already launched in Goa, it’s arriving in Delhi-NCR soon and later in the year, there are plans to expand to Maharashtra and Karnataka, among others.