INDIA - Diageo has agreed to rename one of its biggest-selling whisky brands and end exports of another after a tussle with the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) over its misleading links to Scotland.
The world’s biggest spirits producer has reached a deal with the SWA over the branding of its McDowell’s No. 1 in markets outside of India, and said it will end exports of its Bagpiper brand, according to reports by the Wall Street Journal.
Both McDowell’s and Bagpiper are Indian whiskeys, whose origins are widely understood within the country. However the SWA argued that outside of India many consumers mistakenly assume they are Scotch whiskeys because of their name and references to Scotland.
Produced by Diageo’s Indian business, United Spirits, McDowell’s No. 1 is the world’s second-largest whiskey brand by volume behind fellow Indian whisky brand Officer’s Choice, according to IWSR.
Around 25 million nine-litre cases of McDowell’s No. 1 whisky were sold in 2014, compared to just under 19 million cases of Johnnie Walker, Diageo’s flagship Scotch.
While they are two of Diageo’s biggest-selling whisky’s, only tiny amounts are exported from India, where Diageo will be allowed to maintain both brands’ original names. Just 0.3% of Bagpiper and 2.6% of McDowell’s No. 1 is sold abroad, according to industry tracker IWSR, with McDowell’s due to be renamed in markets such as Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Nigeria.
The new name for McDowell’s is yet to be confirmed. Diageo will be able to continue selling McDowell’s and Bagpiper whiskies under their original names in India.
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