Noel D'souza
May 19, 2023

Bombay Sapphire takes the sustainable route to connect with India

Adtnu Tiwari, senior manager - premium white spirits, Bacardi India, chatted with Campaign India about the brand's sustainable endeavours, marketing strategies and how Bombay Sapphire is addressing challenges in the white spirits ecosystem

Bombay Sapphire takes the sustainable route to connect with India

Brands across industries are pushing their commitments towards sustainability. 


Bacardi India's Bombay Sapphire intends to do the same. The brand aims to make sure that its botanicals are 100% sustainably sourced, and its entire supply chain from source to sip is employing environment-friendly initiatives.


We caught up with Adtnu Tiwari, senior manager - premium white spirits, Bacardi India, to understand the brand’s sustainable endeavours, marketing strategies, and how it is addressing challenges. 


Edited excerpts: 


Given the restrictions in alcohol advertising, how big a challenge is marketing and reaching out to the consumer?


We do a lot of marketing at the point of consumption. We try to capture audience retention at the premise where alcohol can be legally sold by curating unique experiences for consumers. Drinking experiences are also something we try to inculcate at establishments that sell our brand. 


What is the target audience for Bacardi's premium white spirits, such as Bombay Sapphire? How is the Bombay Sapphire consumer different from the person who consumes other Bacardi spirits?


Bombay Sapphire is in the gin category, which is in the very early stages of growth in India. The country is known to be a brown and dark spirit market. 


What we realised when we looked at some of the macro consumers, as young India is growing exponentially, they are getting exposed to a global lifestyle, they tend to demand more from their drinking experience.


This audience segment doesn’t want to restrict themselves to conventional categories, which might be brown spirits. 


When they want to experiment and try something new, that is where we try to come in and play an important role from a Bombay Sapphire point of view. 


The majority of our target audience would be consumers looking for something unconventional, new, explorative and creative. Even though urban pockets like Mumbai, Delhi and Bengaluru, are very familiar with the gin category, the overall salience in India for gin is still a small percentage.


What are the key sustainability practices employed by Bacardi in its production and sourcing of botanicals for Bombay Sapphire?


Bombay Sapphire is a uniquely crafted gin. There are two types: London dry and non-London dry gin. Largely, the process of making gin is about adding flavours over some time during the fermentation process.


We wanted to make sure this process of botanical flavouring is done creatively and differently. Hence, this infusion of botanical is done through vapour infusion, which is a unique process in the creation of Bombay Sapphire.


We also wanted to have consistency when it comes to our flavour profile and our global sourcing for botanicals at Bacardi, Ivano Tonutti works with farmers across the globe to source sustainable sources of botanicals and herbs. This leads to the impact of promoting a local community and saving the environment. 


In packaging too, how is waste reduced?


The bottle of Bombay Sapphire uses 35% of recyclable glass and 100% of what goes on the bottle including the label and closure is recyclable. 


These sustainability practices have resulted in our recent certification by Ecocert, an organic certification organisation. In 2014, when we started our distillery we wanted to make it a sustainable gin. So nothing gets wasted in the distillery, and everything is recycled more sustainably. 


How does Bacardi's focus on sustainability and collaboration with local brands differentiate Bombay Sapphire from other premium white spirits in the market?


The white spirits category in India is largely dominated by vodka, gin, white rum and tequila. One of the key differentiators for us is our sustainable practices. The process that we use for making our gin gives a wide canvas for consumers and bartenders. But most importantly when we are looking for partnerships we look for someone with the same brand values and those that have a local relevance.


We don’t only look to partner with a brand but also associate ourselves with organisations and causes. It is about joining forces with someone who is going about their societal cause or a company that is inculcating values that inch us closer to a better and greener future. 


Last year, we partnered with Anand Malligavad, who is working to drive awareness about lake levels drying up in Bengaluru. We wanted to celebrate this environmental initiative taken by Malligavad and foraged some botanicals from the ecosystem which got rejuvenated from the lake rejuvenation process, and were used in our cocktails. The aim was to support the community of Bengaluru with this cause. 


In Mumbai, we partnered with Herbivore Farms, which is a hydroponic farm that uses 10% of water when growing farm produce. This initiative was interesting, and that’s why we wanted to associate with them. They grew some ingredients for us, which we use for garnishing our drinks in hotels that serve Bombay Sapphire. 


Our other notable partners include Naso Perfumery in Delhi, Vnya in Goa, and Karma Kettle in Kolkata. 


These collaborations foster a deep appreciation for sustainable sourcing and innovation, emphasising the brand's commitment to fostering a greener ecosystem.


The gin market is seeing an influx of local brands, how does that affect the likes of Bombay Sapphire?


Whether it is local or imported, gin has a low percentage level in the white spirits category in India. So, the more players that enter the category get the consumer excited. With more gin brands entering the country the prominence will rise. So we don’t compete directly with the local gins but are excited about it gaining momentum. 


A premix was launched last year. What's the situation there?


We launched a premix called Bombay Sapphire Sunset last year, which is a limited-period offering for the Goan market. This premix captured some of the tropical flavours like cardamom, turmeric and Spanish fragrant. 


The flavours were suitable for the Indian palate. It was in high demand but was only created for a particular period. 


Premix has a lot of potential and it is more of a convenient factor for consumers. 


What's the biggest challenge for marketing Bombay Sapphire currently?


The gin category is growing and is picking up prominence in India. There are so many brands that are part of the growth story. The biggest challenge right now is to communicate within that clutter so that consumers can connect with our brand. 


We want to spread brand awareness on credentials we have earned through our sustainability practices. Our drive globally and in India is to be consistent with our quality and sustainability practices with minimal impact on the environment.


We intend to work more with local partners that promote local causes and sustainable initiatives to stay ahead of the curve.

Campaign India

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