By Sourish Bhattacharyya
|Buddy Retail, operator of Liquor World at T3 Domestic|
Arrivals (above), has opened The Cellar at DLF Emporio
DELHI HAS just got it prettiest liquor shop next to the ever-popular Set’Z restaurant on the top floor of the DLF Emporio in Vasant Kunj. Named The Cellar, the shop, by thinking vertically, makes the best possible use of the sliver of space that it operates out of — and it has all the weighty wines of the world (from the portfolios of Brindco International, operated by Aman Dhall, India’s most successful wine importer, and of Moet Hennessy) as well as Diageo’s impressive single malt collection tastefully highlighted in niches on the store’s glass wall.
The Cellar comes with impressive lineage. A brand of Buddy Retail, a leader in the airport retail and food court business, The Cellar will eventually have over 300 labels of non-wine alcoholic beverages, including categories such the Peruvian pisco and Brazilian cachaca, which are hard to find in India but are getting increasingly popular among the young.
The best-known outlet of Buddy Retail is Liquor World, which you see as soon as you arrive at the Indira Gandhi International Airport’s T3 Domestic Arrivals. Incorporated in 2003, the company is the brainchild of Delhi College of Engineering-IIM (Bangalore) alumnus Amit Arora, who’s its CEO and Managing Director. Before setting up his own company, he held leadership positions in Infosys, Johnson & Johnson, GM, Reliance Retail, Merrill Lynch and Halliburton. Ankur Mahajan, Arora’s business partner, is a well-known in the automobile retail business for operating GM, Chevrolet, Hyundai and Honda dealerships across northern India.
The Cellar, which incidentally was also the name of a very popular Connaught Place discotheque in the 1970s, is Buddy Retail’s first foray outside airports, where we will see a bigger presence of it as a result of the company’s pan-India (minus Delhi) alliance with the Dublin-headquartered duty-free organisation, Aer Rianta International. Buddy Retail’s website informs us that the company plans to notch up a turnover of $120 million from this business vertical in FY2013-14. Its Liquor World franchise now operates at T3 Domestic Arrivals, T1A and T1B (Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport, Mumbai), and Goa’s Dabolim Airport. The store will also open soon at two Delhi Airport Metro stations, T1C Arrivals at the IGIA and T1B Departures at the CSI Airport, Mumbai.
Buddy Retail’s other businesses in airports includes food courts and concessionaires operated in collaboration with Pizza Hut, KFC and Costa Coffee’s Indian franchisee Devyani International, the electronics and accessories store Gadget Point at T3, and the Gourmet Select retail outlet, also at T3, selling snacks, beverages and confectionary. The Cellar, though, is Buddy Retail’s prettiest store with a selection that would make any connoisseur bring out his wallet.