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Maker of Godfather beer forays into whisky segment

NEW DELHI: Devans Modern Breweries Ltd, the company that makes Godfather beer, has launched its first single malt whisky, GianChand. The company’s chairman and managing director Prem Dewan said GianChand is a premium spirit which has been matured in a distillery that has been producing malt spirits since 1961. The Indian malt is an ode to the company’s founder Dewan Gian Chand. The company will sell the brand in Ladakh, Jammu, and Delhi to begin with, followed by Uttar Pradesh and Uttaranchal. Dewan said that the distillation and maturation processes have been fine tuned in the unit to ensure ideal conditions for manufacture and development of the spirit.

With this launch, Devans has joined a clutch of Indian companies that have launched premium spirits for the domestic market. Earlier this week, Jagatjit Industries announced that it will foray into single malts this year, while Radico Khaitan that makes Rampur whisky and Jaisalmer Indian craft gin, said it will also add new brands to its premium portfolio. In the white spirits category, Indian companies like NV Distilleries that makes Smoke vodka, as well as StillDistilling which makes Maka Zai Rum, sell them at over 2,000 a bottle.

Vikram Achanta, co-founder and chief executive officer of the beverage training and consultancy company Tulleeho said that Indian companies are staking their claim across the Indian spirits landscape. The category of super-premium spirits is heating up with some newer Indian players as well with older brands priced as high as 10,000 and above per bottle in some cases, he said. Paul John and Amrut as well as Paul John’s XO Brandy sell at around that price point. GianChand is priced at 4,490 a bottle.

Devans started distilling this spirit around the 1980s with about five barrels. It now has 7,000 barrels and has been selling the matured liquor to other alcohol companies across the country for blending purposes. The company sells about 1.2 lakh litres of this malt spirit every month.

“In fact, for the last four years, we have no longer been taking new business customers for this product because we cant mature it overnight and we have hit our capacity,” Dewan said.The company has now taken a new facility in Samba, near Jammu and it has a storage space of 20,000 barrels. “A one-year maturity in India is akin to about a three-year long maturity in the UK due to the much warmer climatic conditions. The maximum appropriate maturity for Indian malts is about five to six years, after which they tend to get too woody due to the weather, especially during summers,” he added.

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