United Spirits'' Bagpiper outpacing Diageo''s Johnnie Walker

Bangalore: The boom in India''s whisky consumption has spurred United Spirits'' Bagpiper brand to almost outpace the iconic Johnnie Walker as the largest selling whisky in the world.

Impact International, a trade publication, reports that Bagpiper has managed to walk past Johnnie Walker during 2006, with sales touching 13.39 million cases. Diageo-owned Johnnie Walker''s sold 13.23 million cases during the same period.

Impact International also ranked Bagpiper as the 10th fastest growing brand in the world., Johnnie Walker''s sales have spiked to 15 million cases as of August 2007, though Bagpiper''s sales data was not available for the period. As of March 2007, Bagpiper''s sales grew to 13.7 million.

The marketing of Bagpiper has focused on three platforms, macho, mega and movies, and has revolved around celebrity endorsements.

The Bagpiper and Johnnie Walker brands, despite being whisky brands, are different from each other in several ways. Johnnie Walker is a Scotch brand, addressing SEC A and B segments, where as Bagpiper caters to SEC C and D segments.

Bagpiper''s largest consumption base is India, while Johnnie Walker''s is spread across several countries. The US accounts for only 11 per cent of the total sales of Johnnie Walker, despite being the largest market.

According to United Spirits, Bagpiper contributed 12 per cent of all brands of the company during 2006-07, and has a 35 per cent share of the regular whisky segment. Bagpiper''s sales grew 25 per cent during 2006-07.

As compared to 38 per cent in 2005-06, ostensibly on account of the expanding base of the brand. However, sales figures of Bagpiper do not include that of its brand''s extension, Bagpiper Gold, which addresses a different segment at a different price point.