WIZARDS OF WHISKY ASIAN DISTILLER 2015: PAUL JOHN DISTILLERY, INDIA Indian distiller Paul John has successfully defended its title as Asian Distiller of The Year. And it did so this year with considerably more ease than it did last year, when it held off strong opposition from indian distiller Amrut and Taiwanese distiller Kavalan. Paul John, which last year went on to win World Distiller of the Year, the highest accolade given in The Wizards of Whisky world Whisky Awards, has now won its category in both the years that it entered. The distillery became the second major distillery to emerge from India after Amrut when it launched a core range of products in to the United Kingdom market some three years ago. It initially launched a non-peated and lightly peated whisky and then a peaty whisky. but it is its single cask and cask strength whiskies that have got people turning heads. This year, though, facing a different judging panel to 2014, it picked up medals for both its core range and its excellent single casks.
Interview with Krish Kumar, general manager, international sales & marketing, Paul John Distillery Q. You won World Distiller of the Year in 2014 but the year seemed to be quiet from an Indian whisky point of view. So what sort of year did Paul John have?
We were very delighted to have won the World Distiller of the Year 2014. I agree that the start of the year was rather quiet. Most distilleries will say the same as January and February are known to be the holiday blues months. But we did gain momentum mid-year, for sure. Diwali festival is known to bring light according to Indian belief. It certainly did in regards with Paul John activities as the sales received a boost with the Diwali promotions that we carried out at the Whisky Exchange website and the retailer promotion across all retailers in the UK..
Q. How important have the single cask whiskies been for you?
Single casks have been very important for us from day one. Single casks have formed an Aura for our brand and will remain the most prestigious variant. Every variant is special in its on way and has a story behind it, but single cask has something very special about it. (suppose once they are gone they are gone). We have received some fantastic reviews for each of our single casks and we have some more casks on its way for the UK and Europe.
Q. Do you have any new releases planned ?
There are some plans in the pipeline which have not been finalised yet. We might have an answer to this question in couple of months’ time. Request the industry to keep their eyes peeled though, as something very exciting is on its way.
Q. How important is the UK market to your future?
The UK is where the whisky was first launched and will remain very very important. Whisky is on the up in UK and will remain vital for us. Having said that, giants such as France and Germany will also receive equal attention from us. We believe that each of the European countries will need equal attention and will need to perform equally well for a brand to be successful.
Q. What are your plans going forward in to 2015?
We have some amazing plans both for marketing and sales in the pipeline which will help us perform better compared to 2014. We will be working very closely and paying a lot of attention to each of our partners across Europe offering full support to maximise their potential. We are launching Paul John in Italy and will be a part of Spirit of Scotland festival in Rome. Also, we are looking at new partners to come on board in various other countries.