Kolkata: With demand for premium American alcoholic beverages nearly doubling over the last year in New Delhi and Mumbai, the US department of agriculture has been encouraged to tap into more Indian cities like Kolkata, starting with a spirit-tasting flagship initiative hosted by the US Consul General in Kolkata on Saturday, to invigorate demand in the city.
“We closed a deal of 12.7 million this year in distilled spirits in India. This figure has nearly doubled the last year’s record of 5.8 million. We want to work towards expanding our trade beyond our strongholds in New Delhi and Mumbai and explore untapped markets like Kolkata,” said Mark Rosmann, attaché for agricultural affairs, US Embassy.
He added that while Bengal poses a great opportunity to the American industry, the differences in tastes and preferences in the local market has to be better understood and researched.
Held at the US Consul General to Kolkata Melinda Pavek’s residence, the campaign, called ‘Taste of America’, showcased a range of alcoholic beverages, including Jack Daniel no. 7, Buffalo Trace, Templeton Rye and Michters Rye whiskey. Retracing America’s rich whiskey heritage in Kolkata, director of The Drama Club Vinayak Singh, led the tasting programme.
During the event, Pavek said, “The American distilled spirits industry embodies the independent, self-reliant attitude of the US. As India’s demand for US spirits products continues to grow, the US Consulate General Kolkata and USDA are dedicated to making this supply chain strong and resilient to benefit India’s discerning consumers.”
With more than 2,300 distilleries, the American spirits industry supports 1.7 million jobs and generates $200 billion annually. In 2021, the US exported 1.37 million litres of spirits to India. In 2022, the US shipped 2 million litres of distilled spirits to India.
US Embassy New Delhi’s minister counselor for agricultural affairs Ron Verdonk said, “India is an up-and-coming consumer of premium wines. I cannot think of a better time to showcase the range of American alcoholic beverages to the Indian market.”
The Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) of the USDA links US agriculture to the world to enhance export opportunities and global food security. FAS in India works to resolve trade barriers, organizes and sponsors training on the marketing and safe handling of US agricultural products, and works to advance opportunities for US agricultural trade in India.