Sep 30: Prestige Wines and Spirits Pvt Ltd, the erstwhile joint venture between Gautam Thapar and Torres of Spain, now owned by the former’s family is undergoing a major structural change that includes outsourcing the distribution in Delhi, Mumbai and Goa and adding more labels that are needed in the Indian market and also adding new food products and more spirits to make it a sustainable business in the long term and getting the Managing Director of a group company on board as Advisor, writes Subhash Arora
After working with Torres for over 20 years during which it made Torres a household name for wine drinkers without many even knowing it was a Spanish wine, there is new direction in the business conducted by Prestige. While this means a gradual withdrawal of Torres wines from their range, the indigenous company has decided to restructure the operations completely with no effect on the products and services.
Alcobev market in India is complex and difficult to operate. Despite the policy and procedure constraints Prestige has done well in promoting brands including Torres in its portfolio. It has been a regular entry in the Top Ten Importers List of delWine and is considered an important player in the premium brand market.
‘Certain key directors of our board, management and consultants have devised a new business plan to take us to the next level, ’ says Sumit Sehgal, Director managing the company operations, adding ‘our analysis shows that extensive time was being spent on logistics, distribution and warehousing whereas complexity of market demands more focus on sales and marketing. Prestige has therefore decided to go for an asset- light business model and is appointing distributers for storage and logistics in Delhi, Mumbai and Goa.’
The parting with Torres has been amicable and Prestige will still distribute their wines this year. It is not clear how Torres would avoid gaps in the market due to no fresh supplies. But as Sumit says, the program is still in progress and possible kinks are being sorted out.
‘Under this new hybrid model, we will focus our energies in sourcing new brands and labels that our key clients may require in addition to procuring any new products that they need. The essence of this change is to remain flexible in the services that we deliver’, he says. Besides focusing on the labels that the market needs, they would also look at more spirits and food imports also.
Prestige has also brought on board Paul-Bernard Poupon, Managing Director of Avantha Technologies (an IT company), as an Advisor whose expertise and relationships in the F&B market will be helpful in approaching wine and spirits brands from Europe along with other niche products.
This decision on the part of Torres and Thapar underlines the different strategies of the erstwhile partners in the global context. ‘We are looking for a sustainable business in India. Many big spirits companies like Pernod Ricard and Diageo already have this model and we have come to this conclusion after experience. ‘
Other importers would be watching with interest the Prestige story as it unfolds into them becoming a much bigger player in the Indian market for wine, spirits, foods and other product related to F & B industry.
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