| Chamling takes a look at the products at the distillery. Picture by Ashit Rai
Gangtok, Nov. 13: One hundred per cent Scotch whisky, made in Sikkim.
Unbelievable though it may sound, it is soon going to be true, with Mayell & Fraser Pvt. Ltd setting up a new distillery at Bageykhola between Singtam and Rangpo in the industrial belt of East district. Chief minister Pawan Chamling was present at the inauguration ceremony held today.
Mayell & Fraser will be the only company in eastern India to produce 100 per cent Scotch whiskey as its flagship brand, having joined hands with Angus Dundee Plc, a company based in Glasgow, Scotland. The three brands that will be released in the Indian markets are Pipers Clan fully blended Scotch whisky, Castle Pride deluxe grain whisky and Three Castles superior grain whisky.
The state of the art blending and bottling plant has provisions for over 50 quality control checks and inspections and a daily production capacity of 1,500 cases, which can be raised to 6,000.
At the inauguration ceremony, Guru T. Ladhaki, the main man behind the plant in partnership with V.K. Shah of the Kathmandu-based Fraser group, said: “We have the best software in alcohol technology thanks to our technical joint venture with Angus Dundee and select manpower to crack the market. Our initial focus are the markets in Sikkim, Bengal and Assam along with the other northeastern states.”
Ladhaki said the project partners had initially thought of investing in country liquor because that is where the money is. However, a meeting with the chief minister helped them realise that they needed to produce a quality brand like Darjeeling Tea. Mayell & Fraser also plans to take a conservative figure of 3 per cent of the total deluxe whisky segment in the first 12 months of operation.
The company claims that using only handpicked, all natural, six-year-old vatted malt gives their product a substantial advantage over others using synthetic or only three-year-old malts. In addition, the excellent grain, extra-neutral alcohol and pure mountain spring water they will use would be the best India has yet to offer.
At the inauguration ceremony, Chamling called the setting up of the distillery another “milestone” in the industrial history of Sikkim.