(Bloomberg) -- A small-cap distillery whose shares have nearly quadrupled this year is helping shine a spotlight on India’s growing power in the world of whisky, as a producer as well as a consumer.
Piccadily Agro Industries Ltd. has surged by its daily limit in two sessions this week after its single-malt Indri Diwali Collector’s Edition won top prize at the Whiskies of the World Awards. The stock is now up 292% so far in 2023 with the push from the result of the annual US-based competition.
While the beverage more typically conjures up images of Scotland or Ireland (not to mention spelling debates), so-called “New World whiskies” have been making inroads by winning critical and commercial praise. At the same time, rising prosperity has helped demand surge in India, making it the world’s largest whisky market at about $18 billion a year, according to data from Statista.
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“It is an exciting time for India, and Indian whiskies are not far behind as we are playing our part in the India story,” Siddharth Sharma, founder of Piccadily Distilleries, said in a statement.
The South Asian nation’s whisky makers still face challenges including outright alcohol bans in some states and heavy regulations on raw material procurement and distribution. The industry is susceptible to whims of state government taxation policies, especially around elections, as whisky is seen mainly as a drink for the elite.
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“The demand for premium alcohol is largely an urban-led phenomenon,” said Abhay Agarwal, founder and portfolio manager at Piper Serica Advisors. “Many premium whisky sellers don’t have much to show in terms of volumes,” said Agarwal, adding that he has exited investments in listed alcohol beverage makers in recent years given muted volume growth and rising costs.
Other investors continue to pour into the sector. Among Indian whisky-related stocks, SOM Distilleries & Breweries Ltd. has tripled this year while Radico Khaitan Ltd. has gained 16% and larger United Spirits Ltd. is up 13%.
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