Young India or the Millennials are changing the way we have consumed alcohol for years, states Shuchir Suri, Founder of Food Talk India. Having recently curated Delhi’s first gin festival, Gin Explorers Club, and with an appetite for alcohol without bias, Suri has gained a reputation for discerning spirits across the shelf. He continues, For starters, it’s not just about buying a drink anymore. It’s an experience, and young consumers are willing to spend the money in return for quality.
According to him, the introduction of new drinks, ideas and technology are all geared up to appeal to alcohol-consuming-Millennials who are more likely to see themselves as trendsetters among their friends and are willing to pay extra for products that are consistent with the image they want to portray.
In fact, brands across the world have let go of their once-stodgy approach to the correct way of drinking’ in order to gain favour with the young consumer. He explains, Scotch was a very guarded spirit with too many rules. But when brands saw that the youth globally was not accepting these rules anymore, they started introducing the concept of drink the way you want to’. This has become every brand’s campaign to reach out. Similarly, the brand-driven vodka has given way to gin because of the variety of flavours available with it.
Not just that, there are trends emerging on the Internet with respect to alcohol, too. Instagram is changing how we eat and drink, every hour. It’s a visual platform, and chefs and bartenders are now celebrities showcasing their skills online so consumers are pretty much eating off their feeds. Brands are also getting extremely creative and are all hands-on-deck with digital from curated tastings to cooking with alcohol and festivals. From the biggest players to the newbies, all are turning to the online space to influence consumers, he lets in.
As far as consumption patterns go, an emphasis on low-calorie or low-ABV alternatives is emerging. In creating these drinks, sustainability and local produce are trending, classics are making a comeback with reinventions, and fresh’ is the word of the hour, with a focus on glassware and presentation.
Gimmicks and the molecular gastronomy wave have come to an end and regional is gaining serious popularity, he says, adding, The world is getting global, or glocal’ I would say. We don’t have to import everything anymore talented Indian chefs and bartenders are increasingly introducing concepts like heirloom, sustainable, local and indigenous on menu descriptions. This shows the paradigm shift that is shaping the future of dining and drinking in India.
So what should young consumers look out for? Seedlip, which is the world’s first distilled non alcoholic spirit is a category to watch out for. There’s also an explosion in the market; from Indian gin to tonic water and craft beer, and this is great news, he states. In this category, his recommendations include White Rhino Beer, Greater Than Gin, Simba Beer, Desmenji Tequila, Jaisalmer Gin, Stranger & Sons to name a few.