How satisfied are you with your Nepali presence and have you been reaching your sales target?
William Grant and Sons is a Family owned business, our partnerships with our distributors is very important for us. We work very closely with them across the globe, we are very glad of the partnership we have here.
Nepal has been a unique experience so far. We know the country has gone through a fair amount of churn and has its own challenges. The way people have evolved with the country’s political journey has been great. I think they should be proud of it. At the same time, one does realize that the journey and challenges is still ongoing, and there are needs that need to be met first. That said, the Nepalese are well travelled, aware of the global brands and trends at par with the people of other developing markets. That has a bearing on premium categories like ours. Consequently, we have grown well so far, thanks to the love for our liquid and our brands that consumers have over here.
Compared to other premium brands in the same price range and quality, your brand is relatively new and unknown in Nepal. How big of a challenge is this?
There is an inherent difference in the categories itself. Today the consumer continuously wants to upgrade to products and brands that offer higher value. What we bring to the table are unique products that offer consumers an opportunity to upgrade and enjoy our brands, which comes at a price. We have a wide range of products some of them operate in luxury category catering to those needs. Today the aware consumer is willing to pay more for better value and that is what we offer.
For most international brands in Nepal sales are usually focused in Kathmandu. Have you had a different experience?
We certainly have a presence in various parts of Nepal as there are relevant consumers across. But the fact remains that the majority of sales is centered in and around Kathmandu. Kathmandu has enormous consumption volumes for our brand compared to rest of Nepal. I think that is the same for other products in the category. I believe that there is an opportunity for nationwide sales, especially in areas with high tourism and industries.
Nepal is a small country with heavy taxes and strict alcohol regulations. How does that affect an international brand like yours?
Despite its size, Nepal is a developing nation in South Asia. A developing market always has huge opportunities. If you look at the average age in Nepal, it has a young population. People are traveling across the world, and they have high remuneration and exposure. This creates disposable incomes which means people now value products and brands and trends happening all over the world.
Alcohol is seen differently in different parts of the world. In many countries, alcohol is not the best cultural fit. What one cannot ignore is that governments also need revenue from this category, like other luxury and lifestyle categories. People involved in policy making for alcohol need to have a medium to long term approach. Culturally, this is a country where drinking is not a taboo. Where alcohol is a part of tradition and culture there should not be too much control from a taxation or regulation point of view. Too much control is never good. We have all seen such practices becoming counterproductive. We work in many countries and always encourage responsible drinking.