Having women in key positions in India’s spirits and wine industry was not the norm couple of decades ago. This changed when our beverage alcohol industry at large, led by the global giants – Diageo, Pernod Ricard, Bacardi and other evolved players in the sector – decided to bring in gender diversity as a HR hiring policy, which facilitated women to become key drivers in India’s alcobev space. The change is there for everyone to see. Diageo, Pernod Ricard and other progressive companies that are at the forefront of this change are also reframing the industry narrative towards celebration, conviviality, socialization. This helps to shift the negative perception of alcohol in our society from ‘drinking to get drunk!’ to being a part of a balanced lifestyle. For these companies, bringing in more women also creates an industry of the future that reflects the larger changes in our society – where women are increasingly more independent and making more unconventional choices – including social drinking. On the occasion of the International Women’s Day, the current issue celebrates Girl Power in India’s Alcobev-industry. Abanti Sankaranarayanan, Chief Strategy & Corporate Affairs Officer the first and the only woman MD in the industry when she was appointed Managing Director of Diageo India (Pvt) Ltd in 2013. She says, “Diageo reflects a performance-based culture in its truest sense – it provides equal opportunity but lays down the same bar for performance and organizational impact for both men and women.” Shweta Jain, Vice President – Key Accounts, Luxury and Banquets, Diageo India, whom we talked to, seconds Abanti’s opinion that Diageo has been a tremendously rich & fertile soil for her to sow and reap. Julie Bramham, CMO, Diageo India, says she feels invigorated by how this business is working: which ensures there are female representation at all levels in an organisation.

Kartik Mohindra, CMO, Pernod Ricard India, says, “It is now quintessential for brands to look beyond the superficial, comprehend the female consumers’ nuanced needs and wants, and create products that appeal to them. And if they don’t have more women in senior leadership roles, they are not likely to have the significant insights needed to tap into the highly sensitive minds of their ever growing numbers of female consumers.” Similarly, other women players too, echoed this liberating and empowering sentiment. Tanya Puneet, Brand Manager – Single Malt Portfolio, Pernod Ricard India, says, “One of the key values promoted by Pernod Ricard group is entrepreneurial spirit. The group is committed to empowering individuals and I am a true example of the same.”
Manmeet Kaur, Commercial Marketing Manager, William Grant & Sons, says many females have joined beverage alcohol companies because of the gender diversity directive that most of these companies have embraced. Anchal Kaushal, Associate Director Marketing, Jagatjit Industries Limited, says her family received the news of her career move to the alcoholic beverages industry with much fanfare and with oodles of expectations. Our Cover Story profiles our alcohol beverage czarinas and talks about their journey, their triumphs and turmoil; so as to get a peek into their professional lives as a whole. Men may still make up the majority of the industry, but there are many leading ladies at the forefront of an industry shake-up: stirring not only well-crafted cocktails but a deep-rooted change that’s here to stay!

A Silent Revolution Underway in Diageo India
World’s biggest beverage alcohol company is recognised globally for championing gender diversity, as reflected by global awards and accolades it has received. Here are some facts:

  • Executive Committee [Top 08] – 3 women out of 8
  • DILT [next level of leadership] – 13 women out of 33 l Women currently make up 14% employees in India compared to 7.5% in 2015
  • Line Managers – more than 18% are women in a community of 200 plus
  • Total Employees – women constitute 14%, nearly doubling their proportion in the last 4 years. What is most striking is that women occupy key leadership positions in Legal, Finance, Marketing, Communications and Human Resources. Women are also taking on the more specialized roles in R&D, Innovation, Public Policy and manufacturing, in metros as well as Tier 2 cities and towns