From traditional concoctions steeped in history to globally acclaimed brands, the bar at an Indian wedding has become a must-have set-up. In recent years, the popularity of alcohol at Indian weddings has soared, reflecting a blend of tradition and evolving consumer preferences. Beyond the social and cultural aspects, the landscape of alcohol consumption at Indian weddings is undergoing a fascinating transformation. “From premium spirits to crafted cocktails and a blend of global and local flavours, the choices reflect not just evolving preferences but a desire to create unforgettable, personalised experiences,” affirms Kunal Patel, managing director and CEO of Monika Alcobev, a Mumbai-based alcohol importer firm.
Evolving Alcohol Trends In Weddings
The choice of alcohol brands at a wedding is often a subject of concern. The return of events and weddings to pre-COVID levels is poised to catalyse a surge in alcohol consumption. “This global influence reflects
a desire for cosmopolitan sophistication, redefining the traditional Indian wedding experience,” says Patel. Given the number of marriages our country holds, one in every four weddings worldwide happens in India. This also means as Indians, we are raising our spending on weddings.
As disposable incomes rise and global exposure increases, couples are increasingly opting for luxury alcohol brands. There is an increasing demand for high-quality beverages. From fine wines and champagne to craft spirits and cocktails, these choices add a touch of sophistication and exclusivity. “Premium spirits are stealing the spotlight for gracing wedding celebrations,” Patel brings to notice. “The artistry of mixology is gaining prominence as couples and event planners collaborate with skilled bartenders.”
Amidst the clinking of glasses and hearty toasts, some certain whiskies and wines have stood out. “Discerning consumers are opting for top-shelf whiskies and tequilas to elevate the drinking experience, showcasing a shift towards quality over quantity,” he agrees. “Brands like Jose Cuervo, 1800 Tequila and Bushmills Whiskey are essential components in creating signature cocktails, adding a personalised touch to the festivities. Inspired by Indian and International celebrity weddings, there is a growing demand for imported champagnes such as Laurent Perrier.”
In Indian society, weddings are not just familial affairs but also where impressions are made. Last year, guests at a wedding in Puducherry were given a bottle of alcohol in their customary wedding return gift bags. Customization, with a focus on the guest experience, is fundamental to organising high-end, mindfully curated weddings. “This trend not only adds a touch of exclusivity but also serves as memorable keepsakes for guests,” he adds.
From personalised bottle labels to custom cocktail menus, couples are always looking forward to making their wedding a sensory experience. “Couples are increasingly opting for personalised branding on alcohol bottles, featuring their names, wedding dates, or even custom labels,” he says. Personalisation is also an important part of making an extravagant wedding unique.
Such weddings have also very experiential finer elements. And some necessary ones. As they plan their perfect wedding, more and more couples are attempting to reduce their carbon footprint. This is also reflected in the beverage options–including sustainable aspects in their wedding. “Brands emphasising responsible sourcing and production practices resonate with couples seeking a greener wedding celebration. With environmental consciousness on the rise, eco-friendly and sustainable alcohol choices are gaining traction like The Bush Rums, etc,” he adds.
India’s drinking culture has reached a global level. It is unsurprising to learn from worldwide statistics that the nation is also defying international drinking trends. While some of the wealthiest countries in the world have seen a fall in alcohol consumption, India has one of the fastest-growing markets for various types of alcoholic beverages.
From signature cocktails and fine wines to craft beers, the perfect wedding toast continues to evolve and innovate!
Cover image credits: Canva