One of Nepal’s successful brands, Khukri Rum is exported and consumed the world over.
Launched nearly sixty years ago, Khukri Rum has become synonymous with rum in Nepal. Found in restaurants in London to Everest Base Camp, it is one of Nepal’s iconic brands and has satisfied the taste of numerous Nepali and foreign customers over the years.
Established in 1959, The Nepal Distillers Pvt Ltd (NDPL) is the producer of the rum brand. NDPL is regarded to have started the distillery business in Nepal as there were no distillers before the company’s inception. The company initiated the distillation of alcohol from pot stills, the apparatus used to distill liquid mixtures, patent designs of which date back to the 1870s. At present, NDPL uses a three-column distillation plant in the production process at its state-of-the-art facility located at Balaju.
NDPL has specialised in the production and marketing of its premium products and claims over 95 percent of the share in the domestic rum market. “Our graph has seen a consistent and steady upward incline over the last half decade and we are satisfied with it,” says K.K. Churiwala, General Manager of NDPL. He adds, “It keeps us motivated and allows us to set our goals further higher.”
Providing great value for money and top quality and encouraging responsible drinking is the mission of the company. Similarly, Khukri Rum aims to continuously improve everything the company does and to be the leader in the rum segment. Churiwala gives the credit to the entire team of NDPL for the success. “From the workers in the manufacturing unit to the sales force and management, everybody has consistently delivered their best to establish NDPL and make all its products so popular,” he says.
A True Pride of Nepal
Available in three variants, Khukri XXX, Coronation Khukri XXX and Khukri Spice, the oak vatted dark rum brand is one of Nepal’s few class products, winning various international accolades over the years. The Khukri XXX Rum was the Gold Award winner at the International Rum Festival in Canada in 2002. Similarly, the Coronation XXX Rum, launched in 1974 to mark the coronation of late Kind Birendra with its distinct bottle in the shape of the Nepali dagger Khukri, bagged the Gold Medal: Dark Rum Award at the International Sugar Cane Spirits Tasting Competition held at the historic Florida neighbourhood of Ybor City in 2006. “The unique aroma, taste and quality that each of our products have is what makes them so sought after,” says Churiwala.
The rum has also found a place in the foreign markets. NDPL has been exporting its products to markets including US, Hong Kong, Dubai, Australia, Dubai, Japan, Korea and several European countries. “The response from our foreign customers has been excellent so far and we have seen a steady rise in demand of our products overseas.”
Waiting for Turning Point
With the continuing success, NDPL has enjoyed notable accomplishments in the 58 years of its operation. “By god’s grace it has indeed been a wonderful journey so far,” expresses Churiwala, adding, “With each new day, we look forward to taking the brand and the company to new heights.”
NDPL which has achieved numerous milestones in its journey has been looking for a critical moment. “We believe we are yet to witness a dramatic turning point,” opines Churiwala. He says that the goals of the company are quite high. “If we can push ourselves to achieve them each time, we will continue to soar and there will be no looking back,” he mentions.
According to him, as Nepal is predominantly a cold country, the demand for rum in Nepal is very high in the local market. The company has been employing various strategies and techniques in order to stay ahead. The company focuses on an innovative and aggressive marketing technique to ensure that all of its three rum brands remain household names among rum lovers. “And that is the reason to capture most of the market,” he says. The company keeps running promotions of its products and market offers on a timely basis.
The growth of the rum segment has attracted many domestic and foreign brands to grab a piece of the pie in recent years. However, as per Churiwala, NDPL is not in the market to compete with anyone. “We are only focusing on making and delivering the best rum,” mentions Churiwala. “Nevertheless, we enjoy working in a competitive environment.” Confident Churiwala leaves the choice of the product ultimately to the customers.
USPs of Khukri, Coronation and Spice Rums
NDPL says it does not compromise on quality. The distillery has been maintaining the quality and innovating its products in a bid to give its customers the great taste of its rum since the early days.
It is the unique aroma, taste and quality in each product that differentiates the rum from other brands. “We ensure that we use only selected and premium quality ingredients to blend in our products,” informs Churiwala.
NDPL plans to remain relevant in the future as times change. “We are looking at future opportunities to expand,” states Churiwala. “Discussions are going on for the purpose and once an idea metamorphoses into a plan we will let everyone know.”
Rampant duplication of packaging of brand names has been a major problem in the Nepali alcoholic beverages market. Many people illicitly use brand names and logos similar to established brands. “It is difficult to differentiate fake products from the real ones if the consumers are not conscious of the seals and do not monitor the packaging details,” he says. Churiwala stresses that consumers must be aware and government must conduct proper monitoring to tackle the problem.
NDPL has been providing direct employment to around a hundred people. Likewise, there are many people engaged indirectly with the company through its distribution and supply chain. “We have helped created various jobs across the country,” mentions Churiwala. “There is no dearth of people who want to work in Nepal and give their best to whatever they decide to do.”
The pioneering company gives equal importance to CSR activities. NDPL has been consistently donating to various social welfare undertakings and also funds medical stores.
• The belief in working and growing together.
• Has an all-encompassing policy that takes care of the welfare of everyone related to NDPL.
• The company takes its employees as its strength and is proud of its customers.
Weakness/Areas Need to Improve
• Need of deepening penetration in the suburbs and remote villages.
• Need to formulate strategies on creating awareness regarding the potential health hazards caused by the consumption of low quality alcoholic drinks.
• Immense market potential.
• Multiple working areas.
• Unhealthy market competition.