Distell, a beverage company based in South Africa produces and markets a diverse portfolio of alcoholic brands. The company is the 10th largest producer of wine in the world. Distell has been present in the Nepali market for two decades now, and Wine World Trade Link Pvt Ltd is the authorised distributor of Distell in Nepal.
Lize - Marie Gradwell, regional business manager: premium wines, Asia Pacific, visited Nepal recently. New Business Age caught up with Gradwell to know about the market situation of Distell in Nepal, among many other issues. Excerpts:
What is the purpose of your Nepal visit?
In 2016, I was appointed for the Asia Pacific to help build the market of premium wines in the region. I am here to understand about the situation of the liquor market, to see the trends, understand the taste of the consumers and support our importer.
How do you see the market of Distell in Nepal?
The business of wine is growing in this part of the world. Nepal imports about 40 containers of wines annually from us. We have been doing business in Nepal for 20 years now. I think Nepal is still an emerging market when it comes to wine. I have observed that Nepalis love sweet palate. In Nepal, we are looking to introduce accessible wines targeting the younger people of the country. Despite being a small market with comparatively low population, the consumption of wine in this part is quite satisfactory for the company. The Nepali market is growing as new hotels and restaurants are opening up at a rapid pace.
How is the company doing globally?
We have eight different wineries. We export wines to 80 different countries around the globe. We have good presence in duty free shops as well. In Asia, the United Arab Emirates is our number one market followed by India and China. Our company has 18 sales offices in South Africa and eight international sales offices. South Africa exports 428 million liters of wine a year. Our number one market is Germany followed by Canada and Denmark.
Please tell us something about the company?
Some of the brands of the company are Amarula, Savanna, Hunter's Dry, Durbanville Hills and Nederburg. Our company is the second biggest producer of cider in the world. We are also the 10th biggest producer of wine in the world. Our company is listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, and we have market capitalization of USD 2.7 billion. We have been crafting wines in South Africa since 1925. Distell was created in 2000 by the merger of Stellenbosch Farmers' Winery (SFW) and Distillers Corporation. We are also the number one producers of cider in South Africa.
Distell Group Limited is Africa’s leading producer and marketer of spirits, fine wines and ciders. Over 5,300 employees are working with the company. We have a total of eight wineries, six distilleries and three Scotch whisky distilleries. In 2015, at the International Wines Spirit Competition in London, our company won the distiller of the year award.
What have been the challenges of doing business in Nepal?
I don’t think we have major challenges. But, we have found that Nepalis prefer sweet palate wine, and we don’t have premium wines in sweet palate taste, which is a main challenge to grow business in Nepal. We want to increase the sale of our premium wines. In Nepal, we have wines ranging from Rs 1,200 to Rs 5,000 per bottle.
What is the company doing to increase its market? What are the future plans?
We do regular market visits for analyzing the taste and demand of the consumers. South Africa is not just about animals, wildlife and diamonds. People need to understand that South Africa has been producing wines for more than 350 years. It is extremely important for us too to convey this message to the world, which will further help the market and business of our company. We also do different wine promotional activities to promote South African wine.
South Africa is facing a big drought for the last three years. We can possibly have local production, which will make us more competitive in the market. In the future, we will look for opportunities to enter new markets. We always look at the demand before entering a new market.