Mumbai, Nov. 1: Shaw Wallace, staring at a slew of suits filed by a long-time rival, will not put the champagne on ice while the jury is out. It will unveil next week a new range of products from Kyndal to consummate a year-old alliance with the world’s scotch giant.
The tie-up will give Shaw Wallace (SWC) — perceived to be strong in the beer and whiskey — the ability to muscle into the market for white spirits, an area where United Breweries (UB) has left others behind.
According to industry analysts, the launch of Vladivar next week will open yet another flank for Shaw Wallace in its long-running market skirmish with UB.
On Thursday, the Bombay High Court heard a petition filed by UB firm McDowell to restrain Shaw Wallace from tying up with SAB. McDowell holds 9,000 shares of Shaw Wallace, of which 5000 have been disputed.
It has been a year since Shaw Wallace chairman, late Manu Chhabria, signed an understanding to join hands for a global tie-up with Kyndal. The tie-up will crystallise next week, when Shaw Wallace and Kyndal launch their first batch of international brands in India.
Vladivar Vodka, a premier international white spirit, will be the first Kyndal brand to be unwrapped here. Veba, an alcohol-based drink laced with fruit flavours, will be launched simultaneously on November 7.
Shaw Wallace is currently negotiating with Kyndal for distribution rights to Absolut, a leading vodka brand. Industry watchers say the Chhabria group is gearing up for a pincer attack to grab a larger slice of the white spirits market, where it is perceived to be weak.
Its alliance with Shaw Wallace gives Kyndal the opportunity to uncork its best-sellers — Whyte and Mackay Scotch, Dalmore Single Malt and Glavya —in India.
A Shaw Wallace spokesperson said liquor majors the world over have been focusing either on the breweries business or distilleries. This is the reason why the company has split the businesses between Shaw Wallace Distilleries and Shaw Wallace Breweries.
As the spirits soared, there were reports that UB group chairman Vijay Mallya was in Mumbai to plot the strategy for the next round of the court clash he triggered. A spokesperson of his company, however, denied it.
Asked about the case filed by McDowell, a Shaw Wallace official declined comment, saying the matter was before judges. “We feel Mallya’s businesses are extremely nervous of the phenomenal rise of Shaw Wallace, especially in beer segment, which has been UB’s traditional stronghold,” the Shaw Wallace official added.
He claimed Shaw Wallace now had 28 per cent of the beer market due to a sharp rise in demand for its brands across the board. “This has come at the cost of competition. Haywards 5000 is the second largest beer brand and also the largest selling strong beer,” an analyst said.