TRBusiness Shorts: Ashish Gandham, Managing Director GTR, Beam Suntory

By Luke Barras-hill |

In this episode of TRBusiness’ Singapore Shorts video series – brought to you in partnership with The Bluedog Group – Beam Suntory Global Travel Retail Managing Director Ashish Gandham discusses innovation within the premium spirits giant’s portfolio.

“Inside the booth we’ve highlighted some of our biggest priorities globally for Beam Suntory, but also how we are bringing them to life in travel retail,” explained Gandham, who spoke to TRBusiness during the TFWA Asia Pacific Exhibition & Conference in Singapore (7-11 May).

He flags how “real jewels’ from the portfolio, such as Courvoisier, are helping to inject excitement into the consumer journey – and category.

“With Courvoisier, we are trying a fresh take on Cognac; the historical cues of Cognac have been dark, gold and black, so we wanted to talk to a younger audience and consumer and that’s what we really want to transform our brand into. This will be one of our biggest priorities in Asia.”

Gandham tells TRBusiness Shorts that pre-pandemic (2019), the emerging markets territories (Asia, Middle East, Africa and India) accounted for 25% of the business. Today, that share stands at more than 45%.

As reported, the company has a strong pipeline of new product development in place for 2023-2024, with brand launches accompanying a series of high-profile activations set to be supported by key airport retailers.

At its stand in Singapore, Beam Suntory presented novel concepts for Bowmore and ‘art of gifting’ propositions from famed Cognac Courvoisier, building on momentum generated by last year’s brand refresh and new launches XO Royal and Mizunara.

The Jim Beam, Courvoisier and Bowmore maker posted a strong double-digit showing from its global travel retail business in 2022 against the backdrop of headwinds in the US and Western Europe, a Covid resurgence in Asia and challenging inflationary pressures globally.

Net sales for Beam Suntory grew 10.5% year-on-year – up 24% on 2019 – with premium brands increasing 15% and ready-to-drink (RTD) products jumping 16%.

It also marked a year in which the firm introduced its maiden sustainability report, aligned with its ‘Proof Positive’ strategy that counts more than $1 billion in investments aimed at positively impacting the environment, consumers and their communities.

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