Mumbai, Feb 5 (PTI) The journey of Officer’s Choice whisky, from being an also-ran to overthrowing the established Bagpiper and McDowell’s in flat six years, and then to become the world’s second largest spirits brand by volume, has now made its way to the case study list at the prestigious Harvard Business School.

The flagship brand from the Kishore Chhabria-promoted Allied Blenders & Distillers (ABD) clocked sales of 26 million cases in 2015-16, a growth of 11 per cent over the
previous year with a market share of 40 per cent of the regular/mass whisky segment.

The case study on Officer’s Choice is part of a select club of 10,000 case studies from around the world and is one of the few based in an Indian context, which has been published by Harvard Business Publishing, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Harvard University.

In 2008, ABD was selling just 6.6 million cases annually with a 15 per cent segment market share. By 2013-14, the Officer’s Choice Whisky overthrew the then entrenched brands from the market leader United Spirits by a slender margin and then there was no looking back.

The company had brought in industry veteran, Deepak Roy as executive vice-chairman and chief executive in 2007 to spearhead its business, at a time when the Bagpiper Whisky from United Spirits was the market leader, selling 6.63 million cases more than Officer’s Choice.

Incidentally. Roy was a UB veteran and a personal favourite of its chairman Vijay Mallya, with whom Chhabria had a long fued over ownership of Shaw Wallace brand.

The case study highlights the importance of the right marketing strategy using customer insights in a brand reinvention exercise.

The study notes that when Roy took over, he wanted to take

the brand to a leadership position in three years.

“The Officer’s Choice is equal to ABD itself as 99 per cent of the volume and value contribution come from this. So, anything that makes Officer’s Choice vulnerable makes ABD vulnerable.

“We need to relook at the entire marketing mix to take the brand along with the company to the next level,” the study quotes Roy as having said upon joing the company.

Based on exhaustive qualitative research, the case study on the consumer profile of the mass whisky segment, the brand has found that it is low on salience and unable to connect with the consumers on an emotional level. MORE

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.