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Trading in India’s top tipples

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Liquor products made by United Spirits Group are displayed for sale at a Smile mini-mart in Phnom Penh this week. Photo by: Meng Kimlong

AN emerging middle class and growing economy make Cambodia the ideal investment environment for alcoholic beverage companies, according to a recent market entrant.

India’s largest sprits company United Spirits Limited entered the Cambodian market in September last year, its first venture in Southeast Asia.

“We consider Cambodia to be the hub of development in the Indo-China belt, showing a healthy GDP growth of around five percent every year, for the last three years,” said Cambodia Business Head Prottyush Lahiri.

“Also, a steady growth of the middle-class income group makes it an attractive market for our extremely competitively priced scotch blends, vodka and rum.”

He expects “patrons to grow” as distribution and availability of the brands continues to increase nationwide.

The cordial socio-political relationship between India and Cambodia was another factor in the decision to compete in the market, added Prottyush Lahiri.  

Since locating to the Kingdom, the company claims its brands have been well received in Cambodia’s provinces, highlighting taste and packing.

“Considering it is our first few months, our brands are now present in about twelve of the main provinces in Cambodia and we have had wide appreciation…” he said.

USL’s most successful brand within Cambodia is currently Mcdowell’s No.1 Reserve Whisky, while other popular products include Royal Challenge Finest Premium whisky and White Mischief vodka.

The firm operates in 48 countries and is a conglomerate of seven companies owned by United Brewery Group, producers of renowned Indian lager Kingfisher. However, there are currently no plans to bring the flagship to Cambodia, according to Prottyush Lahiri.

United Brewery Chief Operating Officer Kaushik Chartterji previously told The Post that the company sees its Cambodian operations as a stepping-off point to expansion throughout the region.

USL is present in China, while fully-owned subsidiary Whyte and Mackay has commenced operations in Vietnam and Singapore.

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