Brews and Spirts - Aug Sep 2019

pdatradefairs

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CONTENTS

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32

Biz Buzz

Arundeep Singla carves out an ‘Estate’ of

brewpubs in the North

Heady Stuff

Home-grown brands are in: Suraj Shenai of

Goa Brewing

Formula-1

Anshuman Vohra on creating and building the

Bulldog brand

Brand Baja

The shaping up of Belgium’s Hopper beer

bottle

Cover Story

Craft Sisterhood: A handful of women

are nurturing a craft gin brand in India

Masterclass

Challenges and pitfalls in making the best

wheat beer

Event Update

Craft Drinks India 2019 blended business with

contest, quiz

First ‘30 Best Bars in India’ competition gets

underway

3rd India Wine Awards scheduled for October

this year

Tech-Tonic

Sourcing equipment and technology: India or

abroad?

34

36

38

41

42

44

46

48

52

54

55

18

Column

Spiritual Sweat by Shatbhi Basu

Passing Through

Singleton brand ambassador, Ervin Trykowski

Bar Banter

These are a few of my favourite things!

Wine-Yard

Organic wine from Arunachal; chikkoo scores

in Konkan

On The Block

Budweiser, Kingfisher go alcohol-free; and

more

Globe-Trotting

Cocktails and camaraderie at Singapore

Festival

Photo-Op

Going nuts over cashew for Goa’s Cazulo Feni

News From Here & There

Personal Passions

Purrfect sunsets in the Carribean for Gautam

Bhimani

Celebration

August 15 was also International Rum Day

Final Cut

Tiger ‘Roar’ trip, Pernod Ricard chief for

India, and more

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Brews & Spirits I Aug - Sep | 2019 I 5


FROM THE

EDITOR

DHANANJAY SARDESHPANDE

Nurturing brands, blending

business, and bar games

Dear Reader,

It is said that research – not trends – result in better products. And

that is what we highlight in this issue of the magazine. From an Indian

dreaming up a successful gin formula (Bulldog) and building it into a

global brand, to a new breed of entrepreneurs cooking up another ‘ginnaissance’

spirit (Stranger & Sons), it is a story of keen nose for ‘new’,

thorough diligence, and drive to share their passion! Read also how a

brood of new-age women entrepreneurs are nurturing the new-born

brand.

There is another story to learn from: Arundeep Singla’s success in

establishing North India’s largest chain of brewpubs, The Brew Estate.

With his ‘Café by Day, Pub by Night’ approach he seems to be achieving

his goal – fostering social conversations in a happy and relaxed

atmosphere! His chain introduces new beer flavours every month and

is probably the only brewpub chain in India with 80 such offerings. How

does he do it?

The bartending expert, Shatbhi Basu, writes to suggest ways in which

you can turn the tables in your favour to suggest a few drinks to a new/

introvert customer – and when to not do it! On an equally serious note,

industry voices debate what is good for newcomers: depend on locally

available technology suppliers and machinery manufacturers for the

beer, wine and spirits business, or source it from abroad?

Craft Drinks India 2019, the country’s only international trade show

for the alco-bev industry, went off well in Bengaluru on 3 and 4 July,

2019. CDI this year was marked by a generous expansion, participation

of exhibitors who shared their latest technologies and expertise with

the industry. There was considerable excitement at the concurrent flair

bartending competition, held in Bengaluru for the first time. All this, and

more, are on offer in the pages within.

India’s first independent annual bar ranking and awards, ‘30 Best Bars

India 2019’, have been announced. The ranking will be based on a

nationwide poll of bar enthusiasts, industry experts, connoisseurs and

writers. They will recognise and celebrate the best of bars, mixologists

and teams that have made meaningful contributions through their craft.

Check out the details!

We have received some feedback from our readers – all encouraging

so far! I welcome you to connect with us (editor@brewsnspirits.in) to let

us know what is good, what is not so good, and what is lacking in this

publication. Cheers until next time!

6 I Brews & Spirits I Aug - Sep I 2019

Chief Editor | Dhananjay Sardeshpande

dhananjay@pdatrademedia.com

editor@brewsnspirits.in

Consulting Editor | Vikram Achanta

vikram@brewsnspirits.in

Chief Copy Editor | Roy Thomas

roy@pdatrademedia.com

President | Tony Doulton

tony@pdatrademedia.com

Sr. Manager - Advertisement | Fabian Roberts

fabian@pdatrademedia.com

Asst. Manager - Advertisement | Hansika Seshashayee

hansika@pdatrademedia.com

Sr. Executive – Circulation/Admin | Chandrababu M

chandru@pdatrademedia.com

General Manager - Design | Infant Vikas

vikas@pdatrademedia.com

Printed by:

Repromen Offset Printers Pvt. Ltd., Bangalore, India.

Brews & Spirits is published bi-monthly by PDA Trade Media, a

division of PDA Trade Fairs Pvt. Ltd. Material from the magazine

may be reproduced, in part or in full, only with prior permission and

giving due credit to the source. Articles express the views of the

authors, not necessarily those of the management. No responsibility

is undertaken for the absolute accuracy of information published. All

correspondence, including material for publication, may be addressed

to the Chief Editor.

PDA Trade Media, A Division of PDA Trade Fairs Pvt. Ltd.

32/2 Spencer Road, Frazer Town, Bangalore, 560 005, India.

Tel.: +91-80-4250-5050 Fax: +91-80-2551-3078

Chairman | Pradeep Devaiah

Managing Director | Srinivasan S.

Disclaimer: For restricted circulation within the beer, wine &

spirits manufacturing and bar & hospitality industry only.

The views/opinions expressed in Brews & Spirits magazine

and on its website (www.brewsnspirits.in) are entirely those of

the writers and do not necessarily reflect those of the Editor

or Publisher.


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WORDSMITHS in this issue

Anshuman Vohra Son of a career

diplomat, Anshuman Vohra was

fortunate to have had exposure

to various countries and cultures

in his formative years. After

graduating in Finance on a tennis

scholarship in the US, he joined JP

Morgan as an analyst and expert in

global mergers and acquisitions.

Anshuman conceptualised and

created the Bulldog brand, a

premium gin with a more neutral

flavour and a modern image

that appealed to vodka lovers

and attracted new gin drinkers.

Over the next 10 years, the brand

became one of the fastest-growing

gins in the world, available in more

than 100 countries. In 2017 Gruppo

Campari acquired the brand for

US$ 92.5 million.

Anshuman subsequently founded

Halo Sport, a drink that seeks to

revolutionise the way the world

hydrates by optimising functionality,

but without compromising on taste.

ROHAN JELKIE is an independent

wine and spirits consultant and

trainer based in New Delhi. He

has over a decade’s experience

in consulting for Alcobev brands

and hospitality brands in India,

Sri Lanka and West Asia. You can

follow his musings on booze, drinks

and travel through his Instagram

handle @thirstytippler.

Shatbhi Basu The writer is an

alumnus of IHM Mumbai (vintage

1980), a bar and beverage

consultant to international brands,

mixologist and educator. Apart

from being India’s first woman

bartender and starting the country’s

first bartending academy (STIR,

in Mumbai), she has authored a

book (The Can’t Go Wrong Book

of Cocktails), is a content creator

for India’s first television show on

cocktails, and the first American

whiskey ambassador to India (2013-

2016).

Shubhanshu Joshi is Head

of Marketing & New Product

Development at Brindco, India’s

largest importer and distributor

for alcohol-based beverages. In a

career span over 10 years, he has

worked across multiple positions

in business development, trade

marketing, consumer experiences

and consumer marketing.

Shubhanshu Joshi has been the

front face in driving new product

development and contract

manufacturing alliances with

Belgian brewers and has an

intimate connection with Belgian

beer culture and craftsmanship.

When not promoting his beers, he

enjoys cooking, trekking, swimming

and restoring classic bikes.

HANSEL VAZ is the Founder of Cazulo

Premium Feni, Goa. After 9 years of

prospecting rocks around the world as

a geologist, he decided that Feni on the

rocks was a much better option. Taking

over a family business, he reworked

and restructured Feni to compete as a

respectable spirit. Cazulo has achieved

substantial traction in the cocktail scene,

in tastings and as a tourism option of

culinary and beverage experiences.

Rohit Arora is a wine professional with

work experience in winery, vineyards, wine

education, brand building and marketing.

He is a certified specialist of wine, WSET

level-3 certified and a Lincoln university

(oenology & viticulture) alumnus. He

currently works in the capacity of Manager

with Tulleeho Portals Pvt. Ltd.

VIKRAM ACHANTA is the Co-Founder and

CEO of Tulleeho, a provider of beverage

education and training services in India. It

services several multi-national and Indian

beverage companies, hotel chains and

independent bars and restaurants.

8 I Brews & Spirits I Aug - Sep I 2019


Vodka As It Should Be

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Brews & Spirits I Aug - Sep | 2019 I 9


BIZ BUZZ

Café by day, pub at night!

Arundeep Singla is the founder of The Brew Estate in North India, the

country’s largest chain of brewpubs with seven outlets, and many more

in the pipeline. During his stint in Australia for his Master’s degree, he

chanced upon brewpubs that fostered social conversations in a happy and

relaxed atmosphere. What he did next was bring that culture home!

By Rohit Arora

Arundeep grew up in Sunam

(Punjab), and his Australian

encounters spurred the desire to

do something that would cater

to the lifestyle aspirations of his

prosperous north Indian state.

Upon returning to India, he set up

his own distillery.

Looking at the voluminous

opportunities in bottled spirits,

he launched his own brands of

whisky and vodka in the premium

categories. Although he had no

background in the alcohol industry,

Arundeep managed to grow his

portfolio to 14 brands in six states

in just 8 years. Today, the brands

under the Rock & Storm banner are

valued at Rs. 450 crore.

In 2016, he launched his second

venture in the artisanal spirits

space with The Brew Estate as

Punjab’s first, fine dining brewpub.

In a twist, he designated it a “café

by day, a pub at night”!

Like any other entrepreneurial

venture, Arundeep and his team

went through a learning phase –

albeit a short one – and quickly

expanded his network to seven

10 I Brews & Spirits I Aug - Sep I 2019

outlets in Punjab, Haryana and

Himachal Pradesh.

“The consumer palate for artisanal

spirits is different and evolving –

unlike the bottled spirits industry,

where little innovation has

happened over the last 10 years,”

he notes. Having an abiding interest

in craft spirits, rather than bottled

ones, the setting up of The Brew

Estate was natural, and spurred his

interest in craft beers.

Customer delight

“From the point of view of

consumers, craft beers are a new,

premium product for youth and

tech-savvy people who prefer it

over bottled products for its handcrafted

and fresh image,” Arundeep

says.

With the success of his brewpubs,

hasn’t the thought of bottling

his beers entered his thoughts?

“Bottled craft beer is an oxymoron.

Once you mass-produce a brand,

there is no room for craft. It is like

any other industrial production

initiative,” he retorts.

“If we have come this far with

our innovations on flavour with

ingredients sourced from the best

locations in the world, we will

continue this journey and delight

our consumers,” he asserts.

But he adds that the industry has

to come up with standards and

definitions of what craft spirit is,

and not allow short-term gains

from volume business of bottled

spirits to take consumers for a ride.

This is the practice worldwide, he

notes, pointing out that the US and

UK have clear, definitive rules on

what can be classified as ‘craft’.

The Brew Estate’s consumer profile

in Chandigarh, Panchkula, Shimla,

etc. comprises of the upwardly

mobile youth who are willing to try

out innovative drinking experiences.

“We also see families at our outlets

with high discretionary spends.

They are looking for memorable

experiences for their special

occasions.”

Increasingly big players are

entering the unexplored segment

of non-alcoholic beers…. Before I

could finish my question, Arundeep

has caught on and says, “’Sober


BIZ BUZZ

spirits’ is a self-defeating category.

This is a weak, surrogate attempt

at increasing brand franchise to the

uninitiated or underage drinkers.”

“Globally, the industry has

witnessed innovations at a different

level, for example, light beers, or

flavoured beers. Non-alcoholic

drinks are carbonated and have

added sugar content,” he notes.

Quality concerns

While craft beer culture is catching

on the biggest concern is poor

quality, Arundeep agrees. “The

quick, cash-flow model of serving

craft beer is attracting several

players to this industry. As the

brewpub business expands its

footprint across India the risk is

that the industry’s reputation will

be at stake,” he says.

Hence, he adds, it is important

for a central craft brewer’s body

to evolve standards and quality

benchmarks to foster the growth of

the industry, similar to those in the

US, Germany, Australia and other

countries.

On wheat beer being the most

commonly available beer style

in India in both bottled and tap

versions, Arundeep observes,

“Wheat beer has certain tartness

and with optimum carbonation, the

fruitiness gets heightened and so it

goes well with fruits. Its moderate

sweetness and feeble bitterness

make it the best among the rest.”

The Brew Estate plans to launch

30 outlets in the next 3 years. “Our

rapid expansion is the outcome of

our long-term view of the industry

and our commitment to offering

innovative craft beer experiences to

consumers,” the founder says.

Ambience & styles

Consistent product quality,

innovation in beer production,

research about new products and

uniqueness are some aspects

that have helped and ensured the

company’s growth.

“Great ambience and being a place

best-suited for every community

with premium food and craft beers

are visible elements that helped

us grow,” is how he sums up the

success story.

The Brew Estate introduces

new flavours every month and is

probably the only brewpub chain

in India with 80 such offerings.

Throughout the year, six beer styles

are consistently available at all its

outlets: Thirsty Crow, Homerun,

Red Ale, Belgian Wit, Wheat Wine

and Premium Lager.

Of course, it also launches seasonal

beers every month – among them

beer flavoured with mango, lychee,

watermelon and kiwi – to provide

consumers with something new

and unique.

Training of staff in the brewpubs is

an ongoing function. Trained staff

adds to the customer experience

by giving information on the

beers, allowing consumers to

take informed decisions on what

they want to try or patronise at

specific outlets. “It also provides

an opportunity to upsell premium

beers,” Arundeep signs off.

Brews & Spirits I Aug - Sep | 2019 I 11


HEADY STUFF

Home-grown

brands are

the ‘in’ thing

The one thing you’d like to change

about the Indian market…

Nothing. We have the best young

curious consumers right now, who

love to experiment and try new

things!

Who do you think sets drinking

trends in India?

Drinking trends in India are

generational. Between the mid

‘90s until about 2015 you saw the

emergence and domination of

celebrity-led IMFL campaigns with

emphasis on claiming that these

brands were Western, Scotch, etc.

After 2010 you saw that there was

overall fatigue and disconnect with

these brands, after young Indians

travelled and got better connected

with global trends – and saw the

lies in those claims!

Today the young consumer is

looking for interesting products.

There is also a growing pride in

consuming home-grown brands.

What’s the most overrated

drinking fad/ drink in India at the

moment?

I am glad that molecular mixology

died quietly. I feel that the bars

that did it, did it to be on trend, not

12 I Brews & Spirits I Aug - Sep I 2019

because they were fully committed

to the idea.

What’s the next big thing for

India?

The emergence and dominance

of home-grown brands, which

are competing on quality

with the rest of the

world. In 10 years we

will have new Indian

companies taking on

the global giants

in the Indian

market.

What’s the best motivation for

your team?

Jimmy the Dog, because Jimmy

does his thing and doesn’t give a

damn… Be like Jimmy!

Which is your favourite liquor

brand ad campaign?

There is a lot of objectification of

women in liquor ads; so the ones

that stand out are the ones which

refrain from doing so. Brewdog’s

Suraj Shenai,

CEO, Goa Brewing Co.

high-impact campaign of using a

battle tank in downtown London

when they were fairly new; and

Mikkeller’s running club are my

favourites.

Which is your favourite bar in

India and why?

I’ll pick two: Joseph’s Bar in Panaji

and Bob’s Bar in Bengaluru. These

bars are the least pretentious,

most true to local culture, and

extremely hip in an almost

effortless manner.

Which of your competitors gives

you sleepless nights?

I don’t think about competitors.

Jack Ma had equated starting a

company to running a marathon, in

the first 2 years you just run!

The one fictional character you’d

like to have a drink with…

Kung Fu Panda! I’d go bar hopping

with him!!

If you were alone on a deserted

island, which drink would you

want with you?

A really cold Eight-Finger Eddie.


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FORMULA 1: MAKING A GLOBAL BRAND

Going Bull-ish

on gin

By Anshuman Vohra

I was 6 years into my career on Wall

Street but, despite things going well

there, I was restless and had a desire

to follow a more entrepreneurial path

– my own little piece of the American

Dream!

It was a chance observation that

led me to the spirits world. While

socialising with my friends and

colleagues I noticed everyone drinking

vodka rather than gin, despite gin

being a more flavoursome, heritagerich

category.

Following some research I recognised

that there was an opportunity to

create a super-premium gin for

a more youthful, more discerning

consumer and thus, the idea for

Bulldog was born. A year later I

decided to take a calculated risk,

quit my job and began working on my

premium gin.

I partnered with the leading Gin

distillery in the UK to develop the

recipe. We experimented with

different levels of juniper, the

predominant botanical in gin, to tone

down the slight bitter flavour often

associated with gin.

Defying norms

From the very beginning, Bulldog

was all about defying the category

norms. I wanted a smooth, mixable

London dry liquid that would make a

standout G&T and work in a variety of

other serves and cocktails.

We also assessed countless

botanicals – many of which I found

through my travels – and finally

settling on a list of 12, including

Bulldog was chosen as

a name to reflect the

brand’s independent

spirit and tenacity.

14 I Brews & Spirits I Aug - Sep I 2019


FORMULA 1: MAKING A GLOBAL BRAND

Turkish white poppy, Chinese

liquorice, Moroccan coriander and

Asian lotus leaf. These were to

infuse the liquid with a distinctive

aroma and character and make

sure it was well balanced.

I took the same approach when it

came to the branding and design.

To encapsulate the brave new gin

with a fitting brand name, I chose

Bulldog as a name to reflect the

brand’s independent spirit and

tenacity.

I knew I needed the packaging

to be super-premium, stylish,

modern and iconic to reflect this

bold positioning. To really stand

out we moved away from the

traditional clear package with the

typical British icons and went with

a customised charcoal black bottle

with subtle purple hues. In 2007

we successfully created the iconic

bottle I so coveted!

Crucial steps

Our distinct positioning and

packaging were a huge part of

our success. In a category that

was teeming with new entrants,

Bulldog managed to continually

differentiate itself with its instantly

recognisable look, confident tone

of voice, differentiated proposition

and delicious, smooth flavour.

Another major driver was the

premium gin boom in Spain – and

subsequently the rest of Europe

– as we launched it (in 2019) just

as the Spanish consumer was

developing an insatiable appetite

for the “Modern G&T”, which

included different flavoured tonics

and exotic garnishes, and served in

a snazzy balloon glass.

We experienced strong annual

growth and quickly became one of

the leading brands in the market.

This position propelled our launch

across Europe, as Spain is a

very popular holiday destination,

allowing many Europeans to

discover the brand there and

then look for it in their home

market.

A lot of Bulldog’s success

was driven by the strength of

our relationship with Campari

Group, our global distributor.

In 2014, the group

started distributing

Bulldog around the

world and helped

us accelerate our

growth significantly.

Beyond distribution muscle, they

also provided invaluable expertise.

This really catapulted the brand

on a global scale. The group

subsequently acquired the brand

in 2017.

Missteps & obstacles

Like most entrepreneurs before

me, I had a couple of unfortunate

episodes with unsavoury

characters in the industry early on

in Bulldog’s evolution. However,

I was able to relatively easily

manoeuvre through those and it

didn’t hold the brand back.

Bulldog defies category

norms, with 12

botanicals toning down

the bitter flavour often

associated with gin.

One of the biggest challenges

is picking who you want to work

with, or have as an investor. I

was often solicited by so-called

industry experts who wanted

to partner; and I was often

seduced by the “sizzle” in their

sales pitch. So, make sure to

pick your partners

as wisely as

possible. Do

some diligence

on their abilities

and character.

After all the work on the liquid and

branding, I thought the hardest

part was over. How wrong I was!

The spirits industry is complex

and as the “little guy”, it was a real

uphill struggle to success.

I tried to go at it alone for as long as

possible and build distribution by

knocking on doors and introducing

myself and my product. I soon

realised this was harder than trying

to ride a bike up Mount Everest. I

recognised the need for a stronger

distributor partner, which is where

Campari came in.

Brews & Spirits I Aug - Sep | 2019 I 15


FORMULA 1: MAKING A GLOBAL BRAND

I assumed that once Bulldog was

in the bar, everyone would love

it as much as I do… I quickly saw

that neglecting the influential

bartender was a mistake.

– Anshuman Vohra, maker of the premium

Bulldog London dry gin.

Another layer of complexity

peculiar to the drinks industry is

that, it’s not just about distribution

and consumer awareness – you

also need to win over the bartender.

I assumed that once Bulldog was

in the bar, everyone would love it

as much as I do, and so it would be

served.

I quickly saw that neglecting

the influential bartender was a

mistake. I teamed up with a network

of influential, well-respected

brand ambassadors (bartenders

and mixologists) around the world,

who worked with the bartender

community, educating them on the

product and immersing them in

the brand experience.

Honey money

What I can say about raising capital

is you will always need more

money than you anticipate. Being

well capitalised allows you to focus

on driving the business forward.

Being in a position where you’re

only focused on fund-raising can

really put a strain on the growth

of the business as it’s an allencompassing

“soul-drain” to

raise funds as an entrepreneur.

I always suggest raising a larger

round than you anticipate, since

there are far too many unforeseen

challenges and it’s good to have

dry powder in the bank.

I was fortunate to have a

great group of investors –

including industry veterans

and directors who helped

me navigate this unique

industry. They were mostly

always supportive, which

was helpful.

Letting go

When you’ve built a

brand from scratch and

poured your heart into

it, there is no right time

to let go – it’s like losing

a limb!

Is there a right time? I

would start by saying that

the appropriate time is when

there’s a buyer! Most people

assume that it’s automatic that a

start-up will succeed and be sold.

Statistically, that’s not true.

However, with hard work and a

little luck, it can happen. That

said, the opportunity with Campari

Group, who I knew well and trusted

a lot, was too hard to walk away

from.

I knew my baby was going to a good

home and that I’d continue to see

Bulldog in more and more bars

around the world – 100 countries

as of now, and counting!

16 I Brews & Spirits I Aug - Sep I 2019


BRAND BAJA: HOPPER BEER

Hopper, a beer brand from Brindco, is produced in the

Belgian province of West Flanders. It’s brewed at the historic

Brouwerij De Brabandere in Bavikhove. Five successive

generations of brewers at the‘ Brabandere Family’ have

ensured to carefully preserve the sacred recipes, Belgian

brewing traditions, craftsmanship and most importantly the

invaluable yeast strains.

BOTTLE DESIGN

Inspired by the traditional

architecture of abbeys &

monasteries in Belgium

NECK LABEL

Creating the negative space

of the window with the

golden light through relating

to the beer being brewed

STYLING

Pattern design inspiration

from sublime Gothic

ceiling of European sacred

architecture

NAME

Derived from hops and

the fact that that today’s

consumers are global

nomads, hopping from one

experience to the other

LOGO

The typefaces evolved in

Western Europe from the

mid-12th century

SUPPLY CHAIN

BEHIND THE BOTTLE

GLASS BOTTLE

developed by OI glass ‘Owens-

Illinois Inc’ world’s largest

glass container production

company at their state-of-the-art

production facility at Leerdam,

Netherlands. Over the course of

17 months three sets of bottle

designs were prototyped and

rejected before signing off the

final bottle shape

LABELS

MCC ‘Multi Colour Corporation’.

Main vertical and bottom stamp

at Cwnbran (UK) and cold glue –

neck label at their Cluj Nacopa

facility in Romania.

NECK CLOSURE/ CROWN

CAPS

Pelliconi the largest privately

owned bottle cap company in

the world based out of Italy

SHIPPER CARTONS

Fabricated by Smurfit Kappa,

a world leader in paper based

packaging, from their Benelux

production facility in Ghlin,

Belgium.

Brews & Spirits I Aug - Sep | 2019 I 17


COVER STORY

The Craft

Sisterhood

A dare-to-dream-big, all-women team is at

the helm of the new ‘Gin Renaissance’ in India,

steering ‘Stranger & Sons’ through the haze of

spirits, a maze of botanicals, and a rollercoaster

market. Brews & Spirits attempts to find out

what makes these ladies click!

There is little that is in common

between ‘Strangers & Sons’ and

most other gins launched in India

so far. Going beyond the customary

juniper, black pepper, nutmeg, mace,

coriander, angelica, citrus peels,

liquorice and cassia bark, the makers

of this brand compare its distilling

process to an Indian musical

jugalbandi, where each ingredient

fights for its rightful place in the final

raga.

Founded by Sakshi Saigal, her

husband Rahul Mehra, and her cousin

Vidur Gupta, Third Eye Distillery

in Goa is attempting to showcase

India’s diversity by boosting the craft

spirit culture in the country. Taking

the dream of the founders forward is

an all-women team: Sakshi herself,

Mitali Dandekar, Charnelle Martins

and Feruzan Bilimoria.

The co-founder, and now CEO, Sakshi

completed her MBA from Barcelona;

then shifted to the Netherlands with

18 I Brews & Spirits I Aug - Sep I 2019

her husband and cousin to complete

a distilling course, before returning

to India to start her own venture.

While living in Spain, she realised

it was time to create a truly Indian

gin for a local and global audience,

and launched ‘Stranger & Sons’ in

October 2018.

For Sakshi it was a conscious decision

to hire more women. “The women in

our team are there for their skills and

contributions. More than just having

a healthy gender diversity, we believe

that a balanced team is a more

powerful and productive one.”

Rather than exalting the virtues of any

particular gender, she feels it is more

important to cultivate a respectful

and encouraging environment. At

‘Stranger & Sons’ it goes beyond

the immediate team at the Third Eye

Distillery in Goa.

Says Sakshi: “We extend this to our

communities wherever possible.

We have a local self-help group of

The brand is built around creating intrigue,

a pun on Indian businesses and traditions,

and bringing out the diversity and wonderful

strangeness in India.


COVER STORY

The women in our team are there

for their skills and contributions.

Rather than exalting the virtues of any

particular gender, it is important to

cultivate a respectful and encouraging

environment.

– Sakshi Saigal, CEO, Stranger & Sons

women who visit our distillery on the

day we’re distilling our gin. They help

us peel the citrus fruit. We usually

have no need for the fleshy part of the

citrus fruits, so they take them back

with them to make traditional jams

and pickles, which they sell at local

markets.”

For Sakshi it is exciting to be

constantly more mindful about waste.

She wants to make the distillery

more responsible and sustainable

wherever possible. “We have already

noticed more women bartenders,

especially at bars across Mumbai –

The Bombay Canteen, O’Pedro and

Qualia,” she notes.

Organic connect

Many in the alcobev industry feel gin

is the most hyped category at the

moment… Sakshi reads our thoughts

and notes that all spirits go through

this pattern of cyclical consumption.

The current generation rarely drinks

what their parents drank in their

time, almost like a quiet rebellion,

she adds.

The main reason for the trend

towards gin is because there is so

much one can do with it and how

approachable it is as a spirit. Even

though there is such a deep history

of its origins, gin provides enough

room for the distiller to experiment

and make a distinct flavour profile,

Sakshi notes.

She agrees there is substance behind

the hype because there are many

interesting and fantastic gins being

produced which, apart from being

unique expressions, tell a story that

they believe in.

“Stranger & Sons’ also tells a story of

the provenance of Indian botanicals,

the deep-rooted ties between gin

and India, with a whimsical touch

that expresses the wonderful

strangeness in every corner of the

country,” says Sakshi, adding that

this allows consumers to connect

with the story and the brand in a very

organic manner.

Mythical magic

The tiger may be perceived as a more

masculine device. We ask Mitali if it

works well with a category like gin,

where the appeal is more unisex.

“Our tiger is actually a tigress!” she

retorts. “The inclusion of our very

own mythical creature is a tribute

to those we have grown up hearing

stories about, while retaining a

contemporary ethos.”

‘Stranger & Sons’ mythical creature

is a two-tailed, three-eyed mythical

creature with three paws and one

hand. “It helps us tell our stories

in a whimsical and nostalgic

manner. We use story-telling as a

way of reinforcing our brand ethos,

and stories appeal to everyone,

regardless of gender,” Mitali adds.

She is a food and beverage

management graduate, a highranking

cocktail-maker with the

Oberoi chain of hotels, and a multitasking

leader with Bacardi India,

before joining ‘Stranger & Sons’

in early 2019. A lover of everything

“bad and boozy”, Mitali is excited

about giving India the experience of a

home-grown premium gin.

So, who does Mitali think sets

drinking trends in India? The ecosystem

of gin is fairly saturated but,

she believes, consumers choose the

gin they drink – firstly because they

prefer that expression of gin, and

secondly because of the story and the

values of the gin.

‘Stranger & Sons’, she says, is an

ode to contemporary India, proudly

celebrating the cultural diversity,

knowledge and traditions of India.

“Our drinks strategy also focuses

Brews & Spirits I Aug - Sep | 2019 I 19


COVER STORY

on using seasonal fruits and Indian

elements to bring out the provenance

of India in our own (errr) Strange

way.”

Brand equity

As Brand Ambassador, Feruzan is

aware of the role she plays to support

the marketing and sales teams to

implement strategies for growth,

as well as build advocacy for the

distillery’s spirit and cocktails.

“Being an eccentric Parsi, I think I fit

in well with a brand like ‘Stranger &

Sons’, which focuses on our heritage

of story-telling and embracing the

wonderfully strange aspects of

India,” she beams.

Feruzan is an internationally

acknowledged mixologist who has

worked with the Marriot group of

hotels and London Taxi, before taking

on the mantle of Brand Ambassador

for ‘Stranger & Sons’.

And yes, it is definitely helpful

20 I Brews & Spirits I Aug - Sep I 2019

Mitali Dandekar (L) and Feruzan Bilimoria are

part of the four-woman team that leads the ‘Gin

Renaissance’ from the front.

to understand the economics of

handling both a brand as well as a

restaurant. “At the end of the day, it

is a business role. It would fall on me

to translate the ideology of a quirky

brand like ‘Stranger & Sons’ through

various media – cocktails, events,

social media, or even my dressing

style,” she adds.

For Charnelle, it was a journey of selfdiscovery.

She always loved science

and was curious about flavours

and food, tasting her way through

everything in the kitchen. She often

brewed wine and made liqueurs at

home, but wasn’t sure how to make

a career of it.

Charnelle is an alcobev scientist

who heads distillery operations

for ‘Stranger & Sons’. She has a

Master’s degree in Food and Alcohol

Bio-technology, and a diploma in

distillery operations from the UK.

What’s more, she is a certified (water)

diver and instructor.

“What drew me to distilling is the

creativity and ability to express new

ideas through spirits. I excelled at

my degree and got the opportunity

to intern with the Scotch Whisky

Research Institute (SWRI) in

Edinburgh,” she says, adding, “It’s

definitely not a 9-to-5 cookie cutter

career path; but I wouldn’t want to do

it any other way.”

Gender minder

How does this flock of entrepreneur,

bio-engineer and mixologists crack

it in a male dominated industry

in India? For Mitali working in the

alcohol industry has often worked

to the advantage of the brand she

represents – but she agrees that the

industry still needs to work to make

all commercial roles more accepting

of women.

“A lot more women are consuming

alcohol due to rising social

acceptance in developed markets.

It makes sense to have women in

representation for new age brands

as they make up a large number of

the consumers being targeted,” she

notes.

Feruzan has worked in kitchens and

bars that are male dominated. Work

in both these fields is very stressful.

“I feel work is much better when

there is a balance of both genders,

because they cancel out each other’s

differences and add to each other’s

benefits,” she says.

When a woman is introduced to the

bar, she says, the personality of the

team changes for the better. The

men will often take on a brotherly

role in order to make the woman

comfortable because they know

how stressful it can get. The woman

will offer the men a chance to get

in touch with the softer side of their

personalities.

“This is beneficial to the customer

as well as the management since it

empowers both genders to work side

by side and be more understanding


COVER STORY

of the other person’s emotions and

abilities,” says Feruzan.

Distilleries in India have for the

longest time been a male dominated

space because of the social taboo

associated with alcohol. However, the

spirits industry looks quite different

today, with women bartenders, brand

ambassadors, brewers, distillers and

even distillery owners.

Charnelle says, “In a technical role

it’s more about your talent and skills.

There have been times when I have

faced a bit of sexism; but you work

harder and better to prove them

wrong.”

Women have 50% larger olfactory

centres in their brains and statistically

tend to detect more flavours than

men. “So, trust me when I say the

lady nose best!” she remarks.

Seeking inspiration

This band of women has had their

own mentors in the industry. Mitali

took the industry seriously only after

qualifying as the only woman and

competing in the national finals of

the Bacardi Legacy Cocktail contest.

“Interestingly, I work today with one

of the judges of the competition, Dimi

Lezinska,” she says.

Working with Sakshi also is very

inspiring. As women it is incredibly

important to support and cheer each

other on, she says, adding, “I also

credit my parents, who were not only

incredibly supportive of my interest

and career in this industry, but have

actively cheered me on.”

Feruzan has been inspired by people

such as Anthony Bourdain, Marco

Pierre White and Ada Coleman (first

woman head bartender of the Savoy),

who have all made tremendous

marks in their respective fields.

“But I’ve always looked up to myself

to keep improving with every step I

make in my career,” she says.

Charnelle’s university professor,

Dr Graeme Walker, saw the hidden

talents in her. His knowledge and

research in the field continues to

inspire the bio-technologist.

“My dad always let me sample his

liquor cabinet because he said it’s

important to know what good alcohol

tastes like! Unknowingly at that time

he made me appreciate the finer

nuances of good alcohol and set me

on the path of becoming a distiller,”

Charnelle recollects.

Spanish connection

Charnelle says women have 50%

larger olfactory centres in their

brains and statistically tend to

detect more flavours than men.

Sakshi is probably the only woman

entrepreneur in the craft beer and

spirits space. Why did she choose

gin? “When I was living in Barcelona

literally every gin bottle I would come

across had sourced botanicals from

India. I came back to Mumbai with

the idea of setting up a gin brand,”

she responds.

After dabbling with the idea for

a couple of months – and tasting

more than 300 gins! – Sakshi, Rahul

(husband and co-founder of Gateway

Brewing and Svami Drinks) and

cousin Vidur immediately jumped on

to the idea.

“We went to the Netherlands to

attend a 10-day course on distilling

and ended up purchasing a still that

we imported to India. I would say it’s

our love for gin and all other spirits

that brought us together to start

Third Eye Distillery,” says Sakshi.

But why ‘Stranger & Sons’? “A

lot of people have asked me this

question. Our brand is built around

creating some intrigue, a pun on

Indian businesses and traditions

and bringing out the diversity and

wonderful strangeness in India. We

went with a name that, at first would

not sound like a conventional Indian

brand, but is an inherently Indian

gin.”

Signing off

What, we asked the ladies, are their

desert island drinks? For Sakshi, it

is a simple Stranger G&T with light

tonic water – such as Svami – and a

slice of ginger. Feruzan insists that

for her it will always be a Stranger

Negroni.

“But I’m very sure that being stranded

on a deserted island, I’d have access

to various ingredients to keep making

different drinks for myself. What’s

the point of all my experience and

knowledge then?” she remarks.

For Mitali it would be a Gibson, with

lots of interesting pickles that she

may find and make from around the

island! Charnelle goes with an Old

Ffashioned and all of its variations.

“It’s simple to make, but complex in

flavour. Swapping the spirit allows

for me to never get bored!” she signs

off.

Brews & Spirits I Aug - Sep | 2019 I 21


MASTERCLASS: WHEAT BEER

Of challenges

and pitfalls

Participants (L-R) Vidya Khuber of Geist,

Ashtavinayak Paradh (PhD) of Goa Brewing,

Aditya Challa of Susegado (Moderator), Oliver

Schauf from Doolaly Craft Beers, Jan Biering from

VLB-Berlin, and Amit Mishra of IG Brewtech.

Excerpts from a Panel Discussion

on ‘Creating the Best Wheat Beer’,

organised by the Craft Brewers’

Association of India, during Craft Drinks

India (3 July, 2019) in Bengaluru.

Why is wheat beer so popular

in India? Where else is it in such

demand?

• Vidya: We are predisposed to

wheat and there is an inherent

liking to wheat.

• Jan: Not only India, it is popular

in China and South-East Asia as

well.

• Amit: In India most people drink

lager as it is a tropical country,

and lager goes well with the

climate.

The German-style beer, Hefeweizen,

has flavours of clove and

banana, which are extracted by

a traditional style called ‘step

mash’. Why is it not possible in

India?

• Oliver: A Hefeweizen is the most

challenging to brew because

the flavours are all derived from

the yeast. To get the perfect

beer everything has to match:

grain consistency, grain ratios,

temperature, fermentation vessel,

the yeast, aeration – and good luck!

PARTICIPANTS:

• Aditya Challa, Founder,

Susegado (Moderator)

• Jan Biering, Scientific

Consultant, VLB-Berlin

• Ashtavinayak Paradh (PhD),

Co-founder and Chief

Brewer, Goa Brewing Co.

• Vidya Khuber, Head Brewer,

Geist

• Oliver Schauf, Co-Founder,

Doolaly Craft Beers

• Amit Mishra, Co-Founder, IG

Brewtech

22 I Brews & Spirits I Aug - Sep I 2019


MASTERCLASS: WHEAT BEER

• Jan: The yeast and aeration are

the major factors. It used to

be done in open fermentation

earlier. Temperatures of

between 6 and 18 degrees

Celsius are ideal for this.

Is open fermentation process a

difficult one to follow in India?

• Oliver: No, we have reused the

yeast 20 to 30 times without any

practical difficulty.

There is a Belgian style of wheat

beer where spices are added.

What are the challenges with

regard to brewing of orange and

coriander flavours?

• Vidya: Since we at Geist love to

be traditional, we go with orange

and coriander. The colour has to

be as pale as possible by using

local unmalted wheat and the

traditional coriander and orange

peels.

• Amit: Though the recipe looks

simple, controlling the flavour

is difficult. Outside India there

are breweries exclusively for

brewing wheat with the open

fermentation method.

• Ashtavinayak: For production

of Hefeweizen there is a

compulsion to have the yeast as

positive; only then it gives out the

clove aroma. For Belgian wheat

beer a positive or a negative

strain of yeast can be used.

Studies show that wheat beer has

to be bottled. The tropical climate

does not allow this in India; so how

can this be overcome?

• Jan: In Germany and Belgium

this is easier because open

and closed fermentation

can be done simultaneously.

This is not recommended in

India because the filling line

needs to be perfectly clean

and no contamination will be

acceptable. It is always better

to do normal tank fermentation

and send the product to the

bottling line.

Has there been an analysis done

on sourcing of wheat? Is there any

economic comparison on wheat

versus barley and the margins

associated with it?

• Aditya: The easy availability

of wheat puts India in an

advantageous position. The

market will go more in a demand

pull rather than supply of malt

or barley.

• Ashtavinayak: Research on

wheat in India has been focused

on food, not for malt. Going

forward, this should be the area

of focus.

Brews & Spirits I Aug - Sep | 2019 I 23


EVENT UPDATE

Blending business

in Bengaluru

The 2nd edition of Craft Drinks India

(CDI), the country’s only dedicated

trade show for alco-bev production

technologies, concluded on 4 July,

2019, after two days of energetic

networking by industry professionals

The flourishing Indian alcobev

industry witnessed the

second edition of India’s only

comprehensive international trade

fair and conference, Craft Drinks

India 2019, at Manpho Convention

Centre in Bengaluru.

It was inaugurated by Mr Matthias

van der Straeten, Deputy Head

(Economic Affairs) at the German

Consulate in Bengaluru.

Mr Narayan Manepally, the

Chairman of CDI Advisory

Committee and co-founder of Geist

Beer; Mr Michael Vachon, Cofounder

of Maverick Drinks (UK), Ms

Sonia Prashar, Chairperson of the

24 I Brews & Spirits I Aug - Sep I 2019

Board and MD of NürnbergMesse

India; along with Pradeep Deviah,

Chairman & CEO of PDA Trade

Fairs Pvt. Ltd. were present at the

inauguration.

It was followed by the CDI Annual

International Conference, ‘Grain

to Glass 2.0’, where a wealth of

experience and expertise was

shared on most relevant topics,

as well as current trends in the

industry.

Speakers at the conference

included some of the prime movers

of the alco-bev segment in India and

overseas, drawn from across the

beer, wine and spirits sectors.

New technologies

Being the only comprehensive

platform positioned to convert the

sector’s potential to commerce,

the 2nd edition saw more than 100

exhibitors displaying cutting edge

technologies and expertise for the

alco-bev industry.

There was a mix of new exhibitors,

as well as returning high-profile

brands, offering an array of

products and services. On the

brewing and distilling side, CDI-

2019 hosted Thermax, Lehui,

Spectraa Technologies, Prodeb

Brewing Equipment and Taurus

Engineering, among others.


EVENT UPDATE: CRAFT DRINKS INDIA 2019

The testing, lab equipment’s and

instrumentation section was

represented by AV Measurement

and Control, Mettler Toledo,

Anderson Negele, Alfa Laval and

Endress Hauser among others.

CDI-2019 expanded its canvas

by attracting newer brands like

Krones Packaging, USP Packaging,

SSP Packaging, Worldpack, Ningbo

HGM Food Machinery, Cask Global,

Kitten, Techpac and Kegwerks

Janus International.

Brands like DVKSP, Zytex,

Hambleton Bard, PMV Malting,

Fermentis and others represented

the raw materials and products for

brewing and distilling.

Chemicals and dispensing are

other notable categories CDI-

2019 offered with brands like Ace

Technologies, Sanky Consulting,

Fosroc, Chembond Calvatis Hygiene

and Chemline Global demonstrating

the best of what the industry has to

offer.

The trade show included products

from technologies offering

production and process plants,

pipework, pumps, valves and

associated fittings, cleaning

equipment, materials and systems,

environmental, effluent and

pollution control, and fermentation

and ageing containers.

Exhibitors at the event also provided

scope to customise practical and

affordable solutions as per the client

requirements. The market reaction

was reflected upon the significantly

higher visitor registration and the

organisers are quite kicked with the

traction the event is gaining.

Brewing workshop

Riding on the overwhelming

Brews & Spirits I Aug - Sep | 2019 I 25


EVENT UPDATE: CRAFT DRINKS INDIA 2019

response from the community,

CDI organised yet another vibrant

workshop conducted by Versuchsund

Lehranstalt Für Brauerei

(VLB) from Berlin. The technical

workshop on ‘Microbial Quality

Assurance Plan and Beer Spoilage

Bacteria’ consisted of presentations

on how to tackle beer spoilage by

microorganisms.

The session elaborated on how

to set up a quality-assurance

plan in relation to microbiology

in a brewery. Likewise, enabled

breweries to effectively address

quality questions and uncover

potential problems thus incurred.

Returning for the 2nd edition of CDI

from Berlin was Mr Jan Biering, who

conducted the technical workshop

with Ms Gayatri Mehta. Jan is a

scientific worker and consultant

at VLB- Berlin, a post he has held

since 2012.

26 I Brews & Spirits I Aug - Sep I 2019


EVENT UPDATE: CRAFT DRINKS INDIA 2019

‘To drink safe,

drink better’

As Chair of the Craft Drinks India

Advisory Committee, Mr Narayan

Manepally, Co-founder of Geist

Beer, welcomed the guests and

gathering. “Just like organic food

is making big waves in India,

even though it is a bit expensive,

consumption of craft drinks is on

similar lines, because people feel

they should drink safe and better

stuff,” he noted.

Craft Drinks India is one such forum

dedicated completely to craft,

dedicated to not only beer but also

spirits, from cane to cashew, agave

to junipers, and Mahua to grains.

“There is an explosion of craft

beverages, and CDI wants to provide

an opportunity for this category to

showcase and decide how to grow

this business,” he said.

In India the craft drinks category is

growing 70% year-on-year. “So CDI

is becoming more and bigger and

relevant. I hope it will be a platform

for people in the craft space to mix,

mingle, network and grow their

business,” he added.

Mr Matthias van der Straten,

from the German Consulate in

Bengaluru, said he could compare

Bengaluru to any city in Germany

because of the former’s craft beer

culture.

One of the reasons for Germans

loving their beer is because of the

purity law that regulates content of

water, hops, malts and yeast. He

attributed the 500-year-old brewing

traditions to Germans loving their

beers.

Govt. assurance

Mr Venkata Raja (IAS), Additional

Excise Commissioner, commended

CDI for offering a glimpse of what

was going on in the industry, and

for creating a platform for players

to collaborate and grow.

Presenting an overview of the intent

with which governments working in

relation to excise laws, he said that

as a regulatory body, his department

had to maintain a balance between

government revenues, implement

rules and regulations, and ensure

safety of consumers.

“All three come together and we

come to regulate, facilitate and help.

All businesses are not for revenue

alone. It becomes the responsibility

of the (excise) department to give a

clean environment for the business

to thrive,” he said.

Assuring the gathering that the

government wished to assist the

industry, he said all legal and

business-related information

has been made available online.

Nevertheless, he added, the

industry was free to approach the

department with better ideas for

a healthy and regulated business

environment.

Brews & Spirits I Aug - Sep | 2019 I 27


EVENT UPDATE: CRAFT DRINKS INDIA 2019

Top Flair Bartenders

The Indian Flair Bartenders

Association organised the IFBA

Flair Challenge 2019 for the first

time in Bengaluru, on 4 July. There

were a total of 27 bartenders who

had been selected in preliminary

rounds across the country.

The title sponsor was Mumbaibased

VBev, through its Stoli

premium Russian vodka. The

French syrups company, Monin,

was the beverage sponsor.

IFBA is a non-profit organisation

formed by a group of professional

bartenders with a background in

flair bartending and enormous

years of experience in the bar and

beverage industry.

The winners were (1st to 3rd) Piyush

Bora from Doon Bar Academy in

Dehradun, Kiran Panchal from

Drinq Bar Academy in Mumbai, and

Hemraj Shettigar from Mangaluru’s

Martiny. The Best Cocktail award

went to Govind Thapa from the

School of Bartenders in Pokhra

(Nepal).

Clockwise from Left: • Nishant and Manjit (R), students from a bartending academy, are rewarded by Bhavana and Kantappa Sahukar of

Kalpatharu Breweries and Distilleries for winning the Brews & Spirits quiz at CDI 2019.

• S. Subramanya from Shridhan Automation (R) with D.R. Vijendra of Brew & Barbeque.

• Praveen (C) from Agave India with Umang Nair (R) of S. Brewing.

• Rajesh Krishnan from Carx (L) gets his hamper from Tony Doulton of PDA Trade Media.

28 I Brews & Spirits I Aug - Sep I 2019


EVENT UPDATE: CRAFT DRINKS INDIA 2019

Craft drinks are

about Craftsmanship,

Authenticity, Quality,

Provenance, Founder

and Purpose.

– Michael Vachon

What is ‘craft’?

How to stay there?

Excerpts from the keynote address by

Mr Michael Vachon, Co-founder of Maverick

Drinks (UK), at CDI 2019

Maverick Drinks is the trading

name of Atom Supplies Ltd. with

a bouquet of 28 curated brands of

award-winning gin, rum, vodka

and whisky sourced from across

the world. It recently entered into

a partnership with ZX Ventures,

a division of AB InBev, to focus on

global growth and innovation.

It is a craft spirits distributor

that believes in drinking the best

quality spirits. The company works

closely with its partners in retail,

wholesale and the online trade,

to help reduce their reliance on

mainstream brands and introduce

them to higher quality alternatives,

according to Michael.

Craft drinks in India, which could be

the leading market in the world in

the next decade or so, will largely

benefit from the platform offered by

CDI at the very inception of the craft

movement, he feels.

Maverick Drinks employs just 38

staff, but they feel they are driving

something important, rather than

just selling another bottle. So what

does it mean to be “craft”? The

best definition of craft drinks was

given by the American Craft Spirits

Association which says:

A distillery that values the

importance of transparency in

distilling and remains forthcoming

regarding its use of ingredients,

distilling location and process and

aging process.

However, Michael disagrees with

the other half of the definition, which

states: A distillery that produces

less than 7,50,000 gallons annually;

for brewers it is 6,00,000 gallons

annually; the distillery must be

independently owned and operated

with more than a 75% equity stake –

which means no more than 25% can

be owned by a non-craft brewer.

Michael agrees with the qualitative

side, but not the quantitative

one. After a lot of thought, the

“Mavericks” came up with a

definition for craft drinks 2 years

ago, a consolidation of the following

points: Craftsmanship, Authenticity,

Quality, Provenance, Founder and

Purpose.

He added that it is important that

the business is rooted in values, and

the products continue to represent

good value for customers. That is

the way forward to stay craft and

preserve the ethos and scale up.

Finally, the three main factors

needed to be considered while

staying craft: Innovation,

Collaboration and Community.

Brews & Spirits I Aug - Sep | 2019 I 29


EVENT UPDATE

‘30 Best Bars India 2019

awards in October

Tulleeho and Man’s World magazine (www.

mansworldindia.com) have announced the

launch of India’s first independent annual bar

ranking and awards: ‘30 Best Bars India 2019’.

The ranking will be based on a nationwide poll of

bar enthusiasts, industry experts, connoisseurs

and writers.

The announcement of the ranking will culminate

in an awards ceremony in late October in New

Delhi that will showcase, recognise and celebrate

the best of the Indian bar and cocktail industry –

from the best bars to the best mixologists and bar

teams that have made meaningful contributions

through their craft.

‘30 Best Bars India 2019’ ranking and awards will

recognise excellence in Best Bar, Best Hotel Bar,

Best Independent Bar, Best Microbrewery, Best

Cocktail Menu, Best Bar Design, Best Bar Team

and Best Bartender. Apart from the national

ranking, the contest will also rank bars across

major cities.

Voting process

The first stage of the ‘30 Best Bars India 2019

poll, which is already underway, will lead to the

creation of a long list of more than a 100 bars

based on the recommendations of more than 50

bar enthusiasts and experts across the country.

In the second stage, a jury of more than 200 bar

enthusiasts, industry experts, connoisseurs and

writers will vote for the best bars in the long list

in each of the categories. The voting process will

be confidential, and via a secure website.

Since it is likely that many of the bar enthusiasts

are unfamiliar with the work of individual

bartenders, the ranking of the Best Bartender

and the Best Bar Team will be based on the poll

of a specially curated Technical Jury consisting of

two dozen experts from across the country who

have intimate knowledge of the bar industry.

Four more important awards will be presented at

the ceremony, based on a national online poll – the

People’s Choice Award for the Best Bar and Best

Microbrewery; Best Vintage Bar will recognise

the best from among thise that have existed for

a minimum of 30 years; and the Industry Legend

Award for long-term contribution by an industry

veteran.

30 I Brews & Spirits I Aug - Sep I 2019

National recognition

Announcing the contest, Vikram Achanta, Co-founder

and CEO of Tulleeho said, “Having worked in the Indian

beverage and hospitality industry for the last 19 years,

Tulleeho has seen the advances made in the Indian

hospitality industry, especially the emergence of

passionate bar owners, capacity-building by the alcobev

industry, and a pool of talented bartenders and

beverage managers.”

He added, “We think the time is opportune to create

a platform that we hope will, over a few years, help

propel the growth of the industry, and put India’s bars

and bartending talent on the Asian and world maps.”

Radhakrishnan Nair, Publisher & Editor of Man’s

World said, “Having written about the Indian bar

scene almost every month since our inception nearly

20 years ago, Man’s World has had a ringside view of

the evolution of the industry. We felt the bar industry

in India had reached a stage of maturity that requires

national and international recognition.”

For queries, write to devarsee@30bestbarsindia.in.


EVENT UPDATE

India Wine Awards

2019 judging begins

in September

The India Wine Awards, the

country’s most authoritative wine

competition, will return for its third

edition on October 5, 2019 at The

Leela, Mumbai. Since its inaugural

edition in 2017, India Wine Awards

has firmly established itself as the

ultimate guide to the best Indian

and international wines available

in the country.

An initiative powered by Sonal

Holland, India’s only Master of

Wine and Chairperson of India

Wine Awards, this year once again

the panel includes a formidable

team of India’s most eminent wine

palates, leaders of hospitality, and key wine and food

media professionals.

Sonal Holland MW will be joined by eminent General

Managers of luxury hotels, including Parveen

Chander (Taj Lands’ End), Taljinder Singh (Taj Mahal

Palace, Mumbai), Sanjay Sethi (Chalet Hotels),

Dietmar Kielnhofer (JW Marriott, Sahar), Abhishek

Basu (Leela, Mumbai); noteworthy restauranteurs

like Ashish Dev Kapur (Wine Rack) and celebrity

chef Rahul Akerkar (Qualia); talented sommeliers

like Harish Achrekar, Abhas Saxena, Lalit Rane and

Prateek Angre; senior wine writers such as Ruma

Singh, Subhash Arora, Alok Chandra.

Key features

India Wine Awards is the only competition in the

country that features a unique food and wine pairing

section, where nominated wines are paired with food

to judge their compatibility. This year, the organisers

have identified six dishes from across Indian, Asian

and European cuisine, that are considered the most

popular amongst diners in India.

The categories for pairing are: Best wine pairing with

Sushi (veg/ non-veg), best wine pairing with Kung

Pao Chicken; best wine pairing with pizza; best wine

pairing with Haleem (lamb mince delicacy); best wine

pairing with Thai Green Curry; and best wine pairing

with chocolate (dark and milk).

All wines entered in the

competition will be tasted blind

and scored by a panel of 18

distinguished wine experts and

heads of hospitality. Medals and

awards will be bestowed based on

the following ranking process:

86-90: Silver (well-made,

straightforward, enjoyable wine)

91-95: Gold (accomplished wine

with impressive complexity)

96-100: Diamond (excellent wine

with incredible complexity and

character)

96-100: Trophy Wine (Best in Show).

Wine programmes

A special category of awards across hotels and

premium stand-alone restaurants located in the

three major consumption centres of Mumbai,

Delhi-NCR and Bengaluru will recognise the Best

Restaurants for their world-class wine list.

An independent panel of three International Master

of Wines – Sonal Holland from India, Andrea Pritzker

from Australia and Sarah Heller from Hong Kong –

is being formed to bring their global experience and

unmatched expertise to the judging process.

Sonal said, “We are delighted that India Wine Awards

is in its third year… We pride ourselves on being

an authoritative and ultimate guide to wine in India

and take pride in being a world-class competition

that holds integrity and authenticity, credibility and

relevance as the four cornerstones of our actions.”

India Wine Awards 2019 will kick off with the wine

tasting and wine and food pairing competition on

September 12 and 13. The results will be announced

at the Winners’ Night Award Ceremony at The Leela,

Mumbai, on October 5, 2019. (www.indiawineawards.

com)

Brews & Spirits I Aug - Sep | 2019 I 31


TECH-TONIC

The panelists (L-R) were Charnelle Martins from Third Eye Distillery,

Anand Virmani of Nao Spirits, Pratekk Chturvedi of Ministry of Beer,

Aditya Challa of Susegado and Regan Henriques from Rhea Distilleries.

Sourcing technology:

‘desi’ or ‘phoren’?

Excerpts of the Panel Discussion on ‘Technology

Solutions: Make in India or Global sourcing?’ It was held

during Craft Drinks India (3 July, 2019) in Bengaluru

In the years preceding 2008, people

in India had never heard of microbreweries,

and importing them from

abroad was prohibitively expensive.

“Today, however, there are people

selling it from China, the US, Europe

and India has one of the finest

machinery manufacturers too,”

according to Pratekk Chturvedi,

Co-Founder of the Ministry of Beer,

who acted as the moderator.

Anand Virmani, Co-Founder and

CEO of Nao Spirits remembered

that when his started its venture,

they never had an idea that their

equipment could be sourced from

India. The company had to source

equipment from Hungary.

Charnelle Martins, Head of

Distillery Operations at Third Eye

Distillery in Goa, said her company

was looking for equipment that was

technologically advanced, versatile

and easy to use for manufacturing

of their gin, Stranger & Sons. Such

equipment was not available in

India, she said.

Aditya Challa, Founder of Susegado

(Goa), recalled that the first brewery

his company bought was a hybrid

system. The tanks were made in

China and other equipment was

ordered from in San Diego, US. The

design and the quality were good.

The second brewery was from a

Bengaluru-based manufacturer;

while Susegado’s third brewery

equipment is again a hybrid of US

and Chinese machinery.

“The key aspects are design,

quality and value for money,” Aditya

insisted. “In India the manufacturers

have good quality, but the design

aspect is not so good. The choices

of design in brewery are more in

the US. Most of the small breweries

available in India are scaled-down

models of large breweries.”

Regan Henriques, Managing

Partner at Goa-based Rhea

Distilleries, sided with locally

sourced equipment. “Our pumps

32 I Brews & Spirits I Aug - Sep I 2019


TECH-TONIC

One needs to understand

technology and anticipate

problems ahead of time.

– Regan Henriques, Rhea Distilleries.

and decanters have been sourced

from Alfa Laval, which imported

them.

Weighing options

What are the parameters to be kept

in mind while going in for purchase

of equipment, Pratekk wanted to

know.

Anand admitted that since his

partners did not have a technical

background, they had a lot of

consultants advising them. Feelers

were sent to more than five

equipment suppliers, and it took

more than a year to narrow down

their options. Finally we went with

a company that was supportive and

assured good after-sales service.

Charnelle noted that in India all

brewery manufacturers cater

mainly to big breweries, with little

expertise in the mid and small

segments. “By going abroad the

options available were aplenty.

Suppliers there understand the craft

drinks industry. Approaching them

became easier as they understood

the requirements and had solutions

and expertise,” she added.

Noting that Aditya was a first

generation entrepreneur, Pratekk

wanted to know how he made up

his mind. “Foremost, you must hire

an experienced brewer before you

commence your business. S/he will

be on your side for getting the right

equipment at the right price,” Aditya

replied.

The reputation of the utility supplier

for after-sales service should

always be looked into before any

purchase is made. That said, Aditya

cautioned: “Suppliers from abroad

need to be made aware of the

frequent power fluctuations and

difference in water quality across

India; only then will they be able

to fine-tune their equipment for

hassle-free operations.”

Trouble-shooting

On the state of the regulatory

framework in India to source

technology and brewing/ distilling

machinery, Regan said, “The first

thing to look into is the build quality

of the equipment. Equally important

is the quality of the end product that

emerges from the plant.”

The operational cost of running the

equipment and its scalability and

future upgradation are the next

important aspects that one needs to

look into. “One must also look into

the ground realities – such as the

climate of the country, availability

and quality of raw materials –

before finalizing on the machinery.”

Pratekk spoke about investing in the

right manpower at the right time is

very important. The other thing is

you get what you pay for concept.

Noting that the cost of setting up a

brewery also has a wide range, one

must also bear in mind investing

in the right manpower at the right

time. What else needs to be done?

Anand had this to share: “We

spoke to as many people (in the

industry) as possible and visited a

lot of distilleries. The equipment

offered in Hungary was very userfriendly.

Our supplier charged

us the installation cost; but the

final payment was done only after

the equipment was found in good

working condition.”

Charnelle of Third Eye Distillery

added, “Even though our equipment

was sourced from abroad, the aftersales

service was excellent. In terms

of sourcing additional equipment

also there was no hassle.”

Aditya said his first brewery had to

be moved from Singapore to Goa

and the US vendor helped a lot in

getting it done. “The Indian vendor

based in Bengaluru was also

equally supportive and good to us,”

he added.

The experienced Regan of Rhea

Distilleries had the last word:

“Whether it is a local product or an

imported one, problems related to

usage of the machinery are many.

One needs to be up-to-date with

technology and be ready for troubleshooting

at any given point in time.”

Brews & Spirits I Aug - Sep | 2019 I 33


SPIRITUAL SWEAT: SHATBHI BASU

Observe, observe, observe!

It gives you the power to

change the course of an

evening on the bar.

Analyse this!

We drink different things at different times,

with different people…

Picture yourself walking into a bar.

You look around, getting a brief feel

of the people already in. You glance

at the bar to see if it’s lively enough,

fun maybe.

But you never ever think that

someone out there may be observing

you too. Wondering what they might

offer you to drink. Debating whether

you would stick to your usual, or

was there an opportunity of swaying

your decision.

As I treaded on uncertain territory

behind the bar early in my career,

I quickly understood the key to my

future: observe, observe, observe! It

would tell you everything; show you

the way forward; give you the power

to change the course of an evening

on the bar.

I noticed the little things. How a

quiet guy on the counter mulled

over his rum and cola. I learned to

leave him alone for a bit, letting him

ponder over his thoughts. At the

smallest opening, I’d go chat with

him a bit, allowing him to open up

and drop his guard.

I now knew that the worst was

over and he was ready to be a mite

social. Every once in a while one

of our regular young professionals

would come to the bar with a group

that definitely shouted “upper

management”. He’d glance at me

but with the serious “with the boss”

look.

This was my cue to smile and be

polite, but not be my usual cheery

self with a “Hey!” thrown at him.

Instead, I would focus my attention

on the rest of his group, getting to

his drink last. It’s very simple:

• If I had gone all gung-ho on him,

the boss just may have wondered

how much of his free time was

spent at my bar, drinking.

• In his enthusiasm to impress

upon his boss that he too was

in the know when it came to

the spirits that cheer, he might

get it all wrong. Imagine his

embarrassment if he ordered

a single malt and the big guy

decided on a basic beer!

• As the last one ordering, he

could get it right, whichever way

the boss man went.

But say he came in with a group of

his peers, tie undone, shirt sleeves

half-rolled. My calling out to him in

recognition would be a power move.

This would announce that he is

someone to reckon with and holds

a certain sway.

A very “Wah, kya baat hai” scene.

And if the communication begins

with “Will you have your usual, or

are you all celebrating this evening”,

he has made an impression.

You may have turned the tables

in your favour, and a chance to

suggest a few drinks is now on the

table. Or not.

34 I Brews & Spirits I Aug - Sep I 2019


SPIRITUAL SWEAT: SHATBHI BASU

It’s not about you as a “bar

star”; it’s about them.

Playing games

Let’s now switch to a scenario

where our young friend from above

has a lady friend with him this

evening. If you have been practicing

the observing game for a while now,

you would quite easily be able to

figure out if the damsel in question

is a buddy, a girlfriend who’s been

around a bit, or someone he needs

to impress.

With the buddy he’ll drink his usual:

beer, straight. With the established

girl he would go with a slightly more

premium dink. If it’s a new girl, this

is when you can pull out all the

stops.

A single malt for himself? A really

nice gin and tonic for her? Maybe a

Negroni, or an Old Fashioned with a

twist? A nice bottle of wine?

And so, jeans and T-shirt may say

one thing, but jeans and a shirt

totally another. A little black dress

and cleavage will demand attention;

an easy top will say “I know what I’m

drinking, so stop giving me ideas!”

Playing that game on the bar is what

makes every evening interesting.

And if that wasn’t enough, it’s those

that love the bar counter that make

your job worthwhile.

Just a few questions to the

adventurous and you can offer them

drinks that make them smile, and

suddenly you are the hero. You are

the one that brightens their evening.

You are that amazing wizard who

sees all and knows all.

It’s then that you become someone

from being just another bartender.

And this is what I try to impress

upon everyone who wants to be

a “bar star”. Realise that it’s not

about you, but about them.

Hero moment

You may know how to make great

drinks. But they are only great if the

person drinking them thinks they

are. And that will only happen if you

have listened while they talked and

told you about themselves.

And you picked enough to tweak

your drink to make it perfect for

them. When you see that smile, that

look of incredulous joy on they face,

you know that what you made is

singing in their mouth. That is when

you have arrived!

I have applied this rule through all

my endeavours. Talking to a roomful

of high net worth individuals for a

bank on the ‘hows’ and ‘whys’ of the

single malt. Enthusing a group of

cardiac surgeons on the niceties of

wine while they in turn offered me

advice on the health benefits, if any,

in a glass of wine.

To impetuous young undergrads on

the wisdom of staying away from

“let’s do shots guys!”

Observe, observe, observe. That is

why I could give everyone I touched

what they were truly looking

for. Which is why they said I was

awesome. Never realising that it

was always the audience that found

the genius in me!

Brews & Spirits I Aug - Sep | 2019 I 35


PASSING THROUGH

SINGLETON MAKES THE

WORLD GO ROUND

Singleton of Glendullan 12, 15 and 18 YO.

The range of Singleton of Glendullan 12, 15 & 18

YO from Speyside, the malt whisky capital of the

world, was recently launched in India.

Ervin Trykowski, Global Scotch Ambassador

at Diageo and First Global Scotch Whisky

Ambassador for The Singleton, spoke to Brews &

Spirits about this extraordinary single malt and

his role that he is playing in promoting the brand.

Could you tell us a bit more about

your role, considering you are

the Global Ambassador for The

Singleton?

I have the best job in the world!

Being Scottish and being able to

travel the world, talking about my

national spirit, is amazing. During

my time working on The Singleton

I’ve been lucky enough to visit

almost 40 countries, including India.

One of my favourite experiences was

visiting Delhi for the International

Scotch Day in February last year. It’s

36 I Brews & Spirits I Aug - Sep I 2019


PASSING THROUGH

always incredible being so far away

from home, and learning how other

people interact with Scotch whisky

never stops amazing me.

Ervin Trykowski, first Global

Scotch Whisky Ambassador for

The Singleton.

What do you see as the main

challenges to Scotch whisky?

The main challenges are people’s

out-dated opinions of Scotch,

particularly single malts. It’s always

negative – you don’t add ice; you

shouldn’t add water; you don’t put it

in a cocktail.

Due to these opinions, we miss out

on some great Scotch experiences.

Single malt whisky is the most

flavour diverse spirit in the world

and fits in so many great occasions.

However, opinions are now changing

and I’m sure Scotch has a bright

future in India.

Are there any signature cocktails

created for the brand?

Due to The Singleton’s incredible

fruity nature, it lends itself to several

classic and contemporary cocktails.

I tend to enjoy it most as part of a

highball with apple soda that brings

to the front those key fresh and

sweet notes.

That being said, it works perfectly in

a number of cocktails – the ‘Blood

& Sand’ to the ‘Old Fashioned’ and

right through to the ‘Whisky Sour’

and you’ll be in for a treat.

What would be your advice to

hoteliers to capture the cocktail

consumer again?

Quite a few of the world’s best bars

are located in hotels, so there is

already a pattern there that they can

follow. The same applies to hotel

bars and independents alike.

Treat your bartenders like you treat

your chefs: invest in them, train

them and pay them well. When

you have great happy staff you will

create world-class environments

for people to enjoy cocktails.

Brews & Spirits I Aug - Sep | 2019 I 37


BAR BANTER

THESE ARE A FEW OF

MY FAVOURITE THINGS!

Devi Singh Bhati is Head Mixologist of Firefly, at Pedritos, Goa. He

is Diageo World Class (India) 2019 winner; was named Inca Best

Mixologist (Goa) winner in 2017 and 2018; and was finalist at some

prestigious national mixology competitions.

What’s your favourite bar

equipment?

I was fascinated by the movie

Cocktail, with Tom Cruise shaking

a drink with a cocktail shaker. I

always wanted to do that; and that

perhaps attracted me to shaking

cocktails. That is why my favourite

tool is the cocktail shaker.

After I became a bartender I

realised how important a cocktail

shaker is. I love the Koriko

shakers from Cocktail Kingdom

because of their quality and

design. It’s very comfortable also

to do craft flair and attract your

guests toward this art.

Why do you like it?

I like its design because it is very

smooth to work with, easy to open

and has a good grip.

How do you attract customers to

the bar using it?

I try to attract my guests while

using some art flair as the

shakers are awesome to work

with, and we can develop some

amazing flair styles with them.

Any superstitions connected to

it?

Hmmm. No superstitions.

How many cocktails do you make

with it?

I make around 50 drinks per day

using those shakers.

What excites you the most about

this tool?

The sound of the liquid within

is so peaceful to the soul of a

bartender!

Do you carry this while you’re

not in the bar? Why?

Yes, I always carry it. As a

bartender we never know when

we might need – it can be useful

at any time.

Rohan Matmary, aka ‘Rogue

Rohan’, is Head of Beverages at

Byg Brewski Brewing Company,

Bengaluru. Starting as a Bar

Manager, he was promoted

to Senior Beverage Manager

before taking up his current

role of steering the beverage

experiences into exciting new

realms.

He is a leading mixologists in the

country with a big tally of awards

that include the North American

Whiskey Legacy Challenge 2019,

The Glenfiddich World’s Most

Experimental Bartender (India)

2018 and The Monkey Shoulder

Flash Competition 2019.

What’s your favourite bar

equipment?

Erik Lorincz’s Birdy Cobbler

Shaker.

38 I Brews & Spirits I Aug - Sep I 2019


BAR BANTER

What does bar equipment mean to mixologists? How does it help

bartenders whip up their magical concoctions? Brews & Spirits spoke to

some behind-the-bar experts about their pet pieces…

Why do you like it?

The shaker uses their signature

vertical grain polishing which is

a 10-step technique to reduce

stress on the ingredients. Each

Birdy Shaker has exactly the same

weight and shape, which has helped

me standardise my cocktails and

motion.

How do you attract customers to

the bar using it?

Cobblers have always been a sign

of a well experienced bar. Cobblers

are traditionally used by a lot of

Japanese bartenders. I had always

faced a challenge to shake two sets

of Boston Shakers together. The

Birdy solved this for me. It has been

my +1 in bar tools for more than 2

years now.

Any superstitions connected to it?

I have always believed that you only

need to shake a cocktail once in a

Birdy. It has never demanded a dry

shake from me.

How many cocktails do you make?

At least 10 per day.

What excites you the most about it?

The art and science that has gone

into creating the perfect shaker

excites me. To think there is so

much more to bartending than we

really know motivates me to do

much more every day.

Do you carry this while you’re not

in the bar? Why?

Gylt (the bar next to Big Brewski)

stocks 12 Birdy Shakers, so I don’t

carry them when I am at work. But

yes, I carry my couple of Birdy’s

always with me.

Subham Gupta currently heads

R&D at ‘Together@12th’ in

Gurugram. In his decade-long

stint he has flipped bottles at

night clubs and worked in the best

cocktail bars – Ek Bar, PDA and

PCO among them. They have each

been great experiences in terms

of learning about cocktails and the

differentiation in audiences.

What’s your favourite piece of bar

equipment?

It is the first one I owned: a pair

of cocktail shakers. Tin-on-tin,

two-piece shakers. I’ve been

blessed in my career to work in

a few celebrated bars, where

I was able to play around with

modern bar equipment like Sous-

Vide or Vacuum Press. But the

effectiveness and sheer necessity

of a pair of good shakers has never

been less.

At PDA I got the opportunity to use

copper Parisian shakers, which

were excellent for reducing the

temperature of the drink fast. But

I got hooked to Koriko shakers,

the perfect Japanese tin-on-tin

equipment. I have been accused of

being biased against three-piece

Cobbler shakers. I completely blame

it on Koriko spoiling me!

Why do you like it?

Mostly because of its simplicity –

they are just two different sized

tins that can form a perfect airlock

vacuum when closed. It sounds

very easy, but any bartender with

experience can tell you what kind of

nightmare it is to work with a pair of

shaker with that single flaw.

You have 10 orders to pick up and

the airlock breaks, spilling the

cocktail all over you – that’s a scary

thought!

Stainless steel will be my favourite

because it’s super easy to clean,

doesn’t retain any odour from the

previous drink if washed properly,

and doesn’t react adversely to any of

the ingredients used.

That said, I distinctly remember a

Bacardi master class where there

was a silver two-piece shaker with

a Daiquiri made in it. Silver being a

very good conductor, the crushed

ice inside frosted the shaker within a

matter of minutes. It was glorious!

How do you attract customers to

the bar using it?

Every bartender has his/her own

shake and style of grip. If you pay

attention, no one shakes the same.

I personally have always been a fan

boy of Japanese bartending. So,

Brews & Spirits I Aug - Sep | 2019 I 39


BAR BANTER

when I got my hands on my first

pair of Koriko, I wanted to imitate

the Japanese Hard Shake.

It’s a shaking technique invented by

Kazuo Uyeda, almost like a dance

form but with shakers. Once I tried

it for a few nights, I humbly learned

two things: there’s a reason it’s

called the ‘Hard Shake’, and it’s

designed for much smaller threepiece

shakers. So I modified my

shaking style, which is somewhere

between a bird flapping its wings

and a Japanese ‘Hard Shake’ with

Koriko!

Shaking styles have attracted

customers to the bar in a variety of

different ways. At Ek Bar we had

this concept of ‘no lone shaker’.

So you suddenly saw all of the

bartenders shaking two shakers

together in their own styles.

Any superstitions connected to it?

I’m not a very superstitious person;

but I’ve always had this fear of

using Boston Shakers. They are

the predecessor to the tin-on-tin

shakers with one key difference:

the top part in a Boston is made of

glass.

It allows the guest to see what goes

in the shaker, but it also tends to

break every now and then while

opening. I always think I’m going to

break it whenever I use a Boston.

How many cocktails do you make?

It’s very difficult to put a number on

this. But I would say about 70% of the

drinks I make would be shaken.

What excites you the most about it?

There is a common sound to cocktail

bars across the world, and that’s the

sound of ice being thrown around

with liquid inside a shaker. As a

friend used to say, “We shake it to

wake it”. Not just the cocktails but

the guests also. I think it’s the most

exciting piece of equipment we have.

Do you carry this while you’re not in

the bar? Why?

When I’m not working inside the bar,

I prefer someone else making the

drinks. So no, I don’t carry a shaker. I

own my favourite one, but that’s just

for special occasions.

40 I Brews & Spirits I Aug - Sep I 2019


WINE-YARD

‘Fruits’

from far

lands

The wine made from pure chikoo extracts offers an outburst of tropical flavours.

India now has its own organic wine

– a first for the country – made from

kiwi fruit – another first! ‘Naara-

Aaba’ became the first pure kiwi

wine in India after its launch in

2017. Unlike most wines that come

from vineyards in western India, it

hails from Hong village in Subansiri

district of Arunachal Pradesh.

The Apatani, a major tribe in the

north-eastern state, cultivate and

produce nearly a quarter of India’s

kiwi output; so it was but natural

that they hit upon the idea of a wine

– this time free of any chemicals.

The ISO-certified wine has 13%

alcohol by volume. It contains

vitamins C, B1 and B2; along with

calcium, iron, sodium, magnesium,

phosphorous and potassium.

“The wine is an indigenous innovation

of a man who could foresee a

beautiful end of his imagination in

a divine fruit called kiwi. For the

hardworking and fun loving people

of Ziro valley, it is a gentle wake up

call to learn new and modern ways

to utilise their vast lands,” says the

official website of ‘Naara-Aaba’.

Owing to lack of road-rail-air

connectivity, however, it is available

only in Arunachal and neighbouring

Assam. The fruity wine is priced at

Rs. 1,200 in Arunachal Pradesh and

Rs. 1,500 in Assam. Smaller bottles

are priced at Rs. 600 and Rs. 800

respectively.

Chikoo too!

An enterprising group of farmers

in Bordi, in Palghar district of

Maharashtra (bordering Gujarat),

have managed to come out with

the first-ever wine made from pure

chikoo extracts, offering an outburst

of tropical flavours. The renowned

Dahanu-Gholvad chikoo holds a

Geographical Indication since 2016.

There were several problems with

chikoo: its high pH, short shelf life

and uneven nature of ripening.

But since chikoo juice retained

the major flavour of the fruit, the

farmers employed its very strong

ambient yeast for fermentation after

juice extraction. Hence was born the

chikoo wine in 2011.

The manufacturer, Hill Zill Wines,

now offers the 2016-vintage

Fruzzanté chikoo wine in 330-ml

bottles at Rs. 255. It has similar

offerings in pineapple, garden spice

and mango (all Rs 255), along with a

desert wine (375 ml), called

Arka Honey, at Rs. 1,050. These

are available in select retail and

restaurants in Mumbai and Thane

districts of Maharashtra.

According to its website (www.

hillzillwines.com), an award-winning

commercial wine maker and author,

Dominic Rivard of Canada, is the

father of these wines.

Tribals from Arunachal Pradesh hit upon the

idea of a wine free of any chemicals.

Brews & Spirits I Aug - Sep | 2019 I 41


ON THE BLOCK

0% alcohol, 100% Budweiser

The world’s leading brewer,

Anheuser-Busch InBev, recently

launched its first non-alcoholic beer,

Budweiser 0.0. It is a high quality

“anyone, anywhere” beverage that

aims to foster inclusivity by catering

to people who do not consume

alcohol.

The new variant is brewed using

the iconic Budweiser recipe, with

barley malt, choice hops, yeast, pure

filtered water and the distinctive

beech wood aging process; during

the final stage of which the alcohol is

removed through a special process

to retain the taste that’s true to the

standards of Budweiser.

Budweiser 0.0 is available across

modern retail channels and leading

departmental stores in Mumbai,

Delhi, Bengaluru, Pune, Chennai,

Hyderabad, Kolkata and the state

of Gujarat. It is priced at Rs. 80 for a

330-ml can and Rs. 90 for a 330-ml

bottle.

Cheers, to your health!

Earlier this year United

Breweries launched Kingfisher

Radler, a no-alcohol, 100%

natural drink that contains 30%

less sugar than carbonated soft

drinks. A blend of fresh barley

malts and natural lemon juice,

the drink caters to a segment of

health-conscious young adults

who are on the lookout for new

alternatives.

Radler is available in three

flavours (Lemon, Ginger-Lime

and Mint-Lime) and is packed in

300-ml cans and 300-ml glass

bottles, with a convenient ringpull

cap and a striking packaging

design. After being testmarketed

across Gujarat and

Karnataka, the brand has now

rolled out nationally to enter the

non-alcoholic beverage space

that is growing at a rapid pace

globally.

42 I Brews & Spirits I Aug - Sep I 2019


ON THE BLOCK

Tonic for the soul

Sepoy & Co. is India’s first mixer

company, with recipes that are

crafted in England and expertly

brewed in India. It currently has

three tonic variants in its portfolio

that include low calorie (less than 5

gm sugar per 100 ml) Indian and Mint

tonic waters and spiced Grapefruit

tonic water.

All three are made with 100%

natural ingredients and do not

contain artificial preservatives.

They have won awards from the

prestigious International Taste

Institute, Brussels. All the tonics use

the purest form of natural quinine

imported from Africa.

Indian tonic water has a citric profile,

while Mint tonic water has a fresh

mint aroma and taste paired with

citric and the bitterness of natural

quinine. Spiced Grapefruit tonic

water is a unique blend of Indian

spices like cardamom, cloves and

nutmeg paired beautifully with the

citric of pink grapefruit. They are

available in star hotels, fine dining

restaurants and retail outlets in

Delhi. The company also sells its

premium mixers online (www.

sepoyandco.com).

DeVans launches ‘Six Fields’

DeVans Modern Breweries, winner of an international

Gold Category star award for quality, recently

launched ‘Six Fields’, a premium Belgian style

blanche wheat beer, named after the six ingredients

used in the process. Its hops are hand-picked from

the rich plains of the Ganga and are brewed with a

special blend of barley malt, water and wheat.

‘Six Fields’ is light in colour, smooth, spiced with

orange and coriander to provide extra refreshment

and a delicious taste. It carries a signature citrusy

taste, aroma and texture that have been poured into

an appealing classic pint, a lustrous can and a mighty

keg.

DeVans has also been brewing and selling quality

beers worldwide from its state-of-the-art breweries

in Jammu and Kotputli, Rajasthan. ‘Six Fields’ beer is

now available in Delhi, Haryana, Jammu & Kashmir,

Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh. The 5-litre keg (can

be kept for 90 days) is priced at Rs 3,200, the pint at

Rs 120, and the can at Rs 150.

Brews & Spirits I Aug - Sep | 2019 I 43


GLOBE-TROTTING: SINGAPORE

Cocktails, camaraderie

at weekend fest

By Rohan Jelkie

Over the past few years, my choice

of places to travel to have been

largely decided by what goes into

my glass or onto my plate. It could

be to discover Hong Kong’s exciting

bar scene and connecting with the

Diaspora from the sub-continent

that helms the city’s cocktail

culture.

Or bar-hopping in Taiwan while

gorging on Xiao Long Bao’s at the

original Din Tai Fung, and at the

same time discovering the country’s

stupendous whisky industry. Or

to grab a meal at Nadodi, the new

progressive Indian restaurant in

Kuala Lumpur, which is touted to be

the next big Indian restaurant in the

food world after Gaggan.

You get the drift. If not for anything

else, I’ll surely land in hell for having

indulged in gluttony as a virtue.

Hello, Lucifer!

The month of May, in my travel

calendar, is reserved for a

pilgrimage of sorts to the most

hedonistic week of the year in this

part of the world. Bartenders,

bar owners, brand ambassadors,

drinks experts and consumers from

Asia and the world descend upon

Singapore to celebrate and indulge

at the Singapore Cocktail Festival.

The week-long extravaganza kicks

off with the announcement of the

region’s best bars at the Asia’s 50

Best Bars awards ceremony and

what immediately follows is a week

of guest shifts by bartending greats

at the city’s best cocktail spots,

master classes by drinks gurus,

industry talks and seminars by

bar owners, bartenders and brand

ambassadors.

Toast to taste

This year saw the first all-woman

edition of the 50 Best Talks kicking

off the industry seminar list. And to

top it all there is a three-day cocktail

festival village, where you’ll get

to meet and greet the continent’s

finest bartenders as they fix you

a drink at one of the many pop-up

bars hosted by booze brands at the

village.

Over 8,500 people walked into the

village over the three-day festival

this year. Set at the Empress Lawns

in the heart of the city, the cocktail

village is the place to be for the

weekend that it gets the city to raise

a toast to fine drinks, good food and

great party vibes.

The cocktail week is supported by

the Singapore Tourism Board and

the city takes great pride in hosting

it. Karl Too, who runs the iconic

Omakase+Appreciate in Kuala

Lumpur, was manning the bar for

Mr. Black, the delicious new coffee

44 I Brews & Spirits I Aug - Sep I 2019


GLOBE-TROTTING: SINGAPORE

liqueur brand that has left industry

insiders on a caffeine-like high.

And then there was Roman Foltan,

of ex-Atlas fame, serving delicious

Jameson cocktails under the

same roof. The one bar that drew

my attention was the Perrier bar,

manned by ‘Din’ aka Dinesh. An

investment banker by day and a

cocktail aficionado by night, Dinesh

is a regular at bars across the

continent.

Almost every bar owner knew

him and he knew what to tell you

to order at a bar that you were

visiting. ‘Din’ spent the weekend

running the Perrier bar at the

cocktail village and later helping at

guest shifts where his friends (read

Asia’s top bartenders) were working

that weekend. I have never felt so

humbled seeing a consumer evolve

to being a part of us.

‘Jai ho!’

For the rest of the week there

are guest shifts by bartending

heavyweights at all the cool cocktail

spots in the city. And with all bar

take-overs that happen across

town, you’ll be spoilt for choice.

Guest shifts or bar take-overs are a

great way to sample a slice of the

drinks experience you would have if

you were at the particular bar doing

the guest shift without actually

being there.

This year saw record guest shifts

happen as a part of the festival. The

one that stood out for me (and also

had my heart go “Jai ho!”) was the

shift by Santosh Kukreti of Thirsty

City 127 (Mumbai), Krishna Kumar

(Byg Brewski, Bengaluru) and Sahil

Negi (Perch Wine & Coffee Bar,

New Delhi).

These boys were a part of the skill

development programme called

‘House of Change’ by Grey Goose

vodka earlier in the year and were

the top performers. As a reward for

their hard work they were sponsored

by Grey Goose to visit the Singapore

festival and also work a night at

IBHQ, the bar run by Kamil Foltan.

For Sahil, this was his first trip

abroad and the opportunity to rub

shoulders with his peers and seniors

opened up a whole new perspective

of the business to him. There were

many such stories that took place

throughout the festival. That, to

me, is the beauty of this amazing

industry event that provides a

perfect platform for people to bond

over drinks, experiences and tales

of merry revelry.

Now, perhaps, you’ll agree why

Lucifer and I are going to be very

good friends!

Brews & Spirits I Aug - Sep | 2019 I 45


PHOTO-OP: CAZULO FENI

Going nuts over

cashew in Goa

If you want to make good

cashew Feni, you have to first

begin with picking the right

cashew fruits. The local variety,

the ‘Balli’, is coloured in gentle

yellows, oranges and vibrant

reds. It is best suited for Feni

production, as opposed to

the emaciated, monochrome

‘hybrids’ these days.

By Hansel Vaz

The afternoon sun is blazing on the

back of my neck, and the dry red

lateritic soil crunches as I climb

through the cashew orchard on the hill.

It’s two in the afternoon, siesta time

for most in this erstwhile Portuguese

colony of Goa.

A gentle breeze caresses the hanging

luscious juicy red cashew, beckoning

it to fall. The magic is about to happen.

We were lucky – just like chilly, tomato,

potato and a few more exotics, cashew

too was not native to Goa. This ‘alien’

hopped across continents and sailed

across oceans to finally land on the

western shores of India.

Cashew took to our red soil and

tropical climate so beautifully that

today we call it our own. By the year

1740, Portuguese spies were already

secretly documenting how Goans

enjoyed an alcohol distilled from this

exotic fruit, unlike anywhere else in

the world. Our ancestors were already

inventors!

1 2

4

3

Early afternoon is when the cazkars

(workers) organise themselves to

methodically comb the orchards

for naturally fallen cashew apples.

Dressed like Ninjas (1) – covered

from head to toe, to avoid insect

bites and scratches – they arm

themselves with a canto to spear

fallen fruit into a basket (2).

Tree-ripened fruits are full of sugars

and low in the astringent sap, so

make the best Feni. Cashew apples

are dropped into the colmbi, stone

basins carved into solid rock (3),

where another set of workers (4)

de-seed the nuts from the cashew

apples, to prepare for the stomp.

46 I Brews & Spirits I Aug - Sep I 2019


PHOTO-OP: CAZULO FENI

1 2

Stomping the pulpy fruit (1) to

gently express the juices may

look like fun, but it is serious

work. The pulp is then made

into in a mound and trussed

together with a vine. Heavy

rocks are left overnight on the

top (2) to press the remaining

juice out of the pulp. The

juice is strained and allowed

to naturally ferment in

earthen pots (3). No nutrients,

catalysts or artificial yeasts

are added. Nature takes over

from where man left off,

converting natural sugars into

alcohols.

3

After fermentation, when the wash

stops bubbling, it is ready for distillation.

This crude cashew wine is transferred

into the pot still. Traditionally Feni was

distilled in purposefully crafted earthen

pots, now replaced by more practical

copper pots. The vapours cool in copper

coils and are collected in an earthen pot

called a launi.

Traditionally the alcohol vapours

were condensed in an earthen pot, by

constantly pouring water over the launi

with a coconut shell ladle. Now a copper

coil is immersed in a water tank to do it.

The vapour phase of the alcohol is most

crucial, while the copper coil removes

unwanted sulphates, the earthen pot

imparts earthy notes to the spirit.

Urrack (14-16% v/v) is a

lovely cooling drink, and

is velvety smooth. Unlike

other alcohols, Feni is

directly distilled into 42.8%

alcohol, says Cazulo Feni

owner, Hansel Vaz.

Fine Feni is stored in glass, and not oak,

as wood has nothing more to provide to

an already robust and flavourful spirit.

Carboys and Demi-Johns round off and

chip any rough edges if there were as

the Feni is allowed recuperate from the

tumultuous distillation process for at

least a year.

Finally, the Feni is tasted,

graded and bottled into

Cazulo Premium Cashew

Feni bottles, that would

grace bar shelves or a

table of lively conversation.

As they say in (Portuguesespeaking)

Goa, “Saude!”

Brews & Spirits I Aug - Sep | 2019 I 47


NEWS FROM HERE & THERE

Dram Club takes off in Mumbai

Another platform that endeavours

to bring whisky enthusiasts together

was recently launched by Vinayak

Singh and Swati Sharma in Mumbai.

The motivation behind the Dram

Club was very simple: Indians love

their whiskies, and almost half of the

whisky in the world is consumed by

Indians by volume.

Yet, the choice of whiskies available

in the country is very limited. During

their travels, the duo avidly collects

unique and rare expressions to try

among themselves. Their biggest

discovery this year was the Balblair

Distillery, home to some of the best

vintage single malts.

Swati and Vinayak have so far

curated more than 10 tasting session

where whisky manufacturers and

enthusiasts have shared their

passion. The Club also participated

in the 20th edition of the Speyside

Whisky Festival, and the founders

are now actively working with the

festival organisers to get the event to

Mumbai.

Hold your tongue!

Ever felt short-changed when

your rather expensive single malt

whiskey doesn’t taste right? In a rare

whiskey market flooded with fakes,

this isn’t a one-off happening; but

it’s going to be a thing of the past.

Scientists from the University

of Glasgow have developed an

“artificial tongue” to detect fake

whiskies, and the device can be

used to tell apart a host of single

malts. The Guardian reports that

the artificial tongue is based on

a glass wafer featuring three

separate arrays, each composed of

Whisky rules change shape

The Scotch Whisky Association

recently announced a broadening of

allowable cask types, and there is now

a list of casks that distilleries cannot

use. Until now, whisky-makers could

only use casks types that came with

evidence of “traditional use” in the

industry – a pretty vague definition.

The rules now state that the spirit

must be matured in new oak casks

and/or in oak casks which have only

been used to mature wine (still or

fortified) and/or beer/ale and/or

spirits with the exception of wine,

beer/ale or spirits produced from, or

48 I Brews & Spirits I Aug - Sep I 2019

2 million tiny “artificial taste buds”

– squares about 500 times smaller

than a human taste bud, with sides

just 100nm long.

There are six different types of these

squares in the device. The upshot

is that each liquid gives rise to its

own “fingerprint” of measurements.

That means the device can be used

to tell apart different liquids – and

even identify them if they have been

recorded before – without revealing

their makeup, much like our own

tongues.

made with, stone fruits; beer/ale to

which fruit, flavouring or sweetening

has been added after fermentation;

spirits to which fruit, flavouring or

sweetening has been added after

distillation; and where such previous

maturation is part of the traditional

processes for those wines, beers/

ales or spirits.

This development comes with a note

of caution. Regardless of the type

of cask used, the resulting product

must have the traditional colour,

taste and aroma characteristics of

Scotch whisky.

Tonique for all

Tonique is a liquor store spread over

25,000 square feet in the very heart

of Bengaluru that allows leisurely

browsing of its racks for rare

whiskies and vintage wines. Anith

Reddy, the Hyderabad-based owner,

says several outlets will follow,

including one on Mumbai’s Linking

Road and at Hyderabad airport.

Bengaluru is slated to get six smaller

format stores, ‘Q by Tonique’ (up to

5,000 square feet) this year. While

Tonique’s strength is its large

inventory, the cherry on the cake

will be its wine license to serve

wines in-store. Dedicated WSETtrained

staff, including sommeliers

and brew masters will be on hand

to chat, discuss provenance, food

pairings and serving suggestions.


NEWS FROM HERE & THERE

Teacher’s honours arts,

music

Teacher’s will be on television

after nearly 5 years with a contentbased

campaign to connect better

with consumers. An eight-episode

programme called ‘Teacher’s

Genuine Stories’ will air on Times

Now channel.

In line with the new positioning of

Teacher’s – Genuine is Rare – the

programme celebrates unique and

genuine storytellers in the field

of music, art, dance and poetry.

Teacher’s has roped in actor Rahul

Bose, a stylish and sophisticated

personality, to narrate these genuine

stories.

Aimed at consumers to look

at Teacher’s as a premium,

aspirational and international brand,

the programme will be supported

by outdoors at airports, shopping

malls and commercial hotspots. The

episodes air on 17 August (7.30 pm)

on Times Now, and every Saturday

(same time) for seven weeks.

London

Dry Gin

wins award

No.3 London Dry Gin from Berry

Bros & Rudd was recently hailed

as this year’s International Spirits

Challenge ‘Supreme Spirit’, as

chosen blind by ISC judges in London

from the Challenge’s trophy winners.

No.3 is the first gin ever, in 24 years

of the Challenge, to win the ISC’s

prestigious award. It is made by

reputed Dutch distiller and liqueur

producer, De Kuyper.

Founded on a rigorous and

independent judging process, the

ISC receives more than 1,700 entries

from nearly 80 countries worldwide,

making it a truly global competition.

(www.internationalspiritschallenge.

com).

Diageo buys majority stake

in Seedlip

Diageo has acquired majority stake

in Seedlip, its first non-alcoholic

brand, through Distill Ventures.

Seedlip owner Ben Branson will

remain involved as a shareholder

and director, and will continue to

support Seedlip’s future success,

says Diageo.

Seedlip is said to have grown to have

a presence in more than 25 countries

in the last 3 years. Its three variants

(Spice 94, Garden 108 and Grove 42)

are stocked in more than 7,500 of the

world’s bars, restaurants, hotels and

retailers, including the majority of

the world’s 50 best cocktail bars and

over 300 Michelin-star restaurants.

Uru Brewpark

opens in Bengaluru

With the city teeming with breweries,

each one has to make itself stand

out from the crowd. The new Uru

Brewpark in J.P. Nagar does this

with an expansive space that has

a brewery, a cafe, a bistro and the

city’s first gin garden, each with a

vibe of its own.

The 40,000 square feet of greenery

has been designed as an ode to

the garden city that Bengaluru is,

featuring almond, peepal and fig

trees. Its signature cocktails and

infused gins are already a hit.

Brews & Spirits I Aug - Sep | 2019 I 49


NEWS FROM HERE & THERE

IWSR’s data shows spirits up;

beer and wine down

The IWSR’s 2018 global beverage

alcohol data shows growth in spirits,

but beer and wine volumes were

down. Beverage alcohol drinkers

across the globe consumed a total

of 27.6 billion 9-litre cases of alcohol

Top global markets

Market 2018 % share 2020 % share 2023 % share

India 2.4% 2.7% 3.3%

Mexico 3.7% 4.0% 4.5%

Vietnam 1.7% 1.7% 1.9%

Philippines 1.1% 1.2% 1.4%

Total 12.6% 13.5% 15.1%

Units: In thousand 9-litre cases. Source: IWSR 2019

in 2018, representing a decrease of

1.6% from the year prior.

In terms of retail value, the global

market for beverage alcohol in 2018

was just over $1 trillion, a number

which the IWSR expects to grow 7%

Royal Salute releases two

blends

by 2023. Gin was the leading global

growth category in 2018, with pink

gin emerging as a key growth driver.

Spurred by innovation in whisky

cocktails and highballs, the global

whisky category increased by 7%

last year, driven in large part by

a strong Indian economy (whisky

grew by 10.5%), whereas the US and

Japan posted 5% and 8% growth

respectively.

Global beer declined 2.2% in 2018,

impacted greatly from volume

decreases in China (down 13%).

Wine, which had posted strong

global growth in 2017, lost 1.6% in

volume in 2018 as wine consumption

declined in major markets such

as China, Italy, France, Germany

and Spain. However, though

consumers are drinking less wine,

they’re increasingly drinking better

– pushing wine value to increase.

(enquiries@theiwsr.com)

In one of the biggest moves in its

history, Royal Salute has launched

two new expressions and rebranded

its signature 21-YO Scotch whisky.

For the first time since the brand’s

inception in 1953, two new whiskies

– The Malts Blend and The Lost

Blend – have been added to the 21-

YO range.

The Malts Blend is the first blended

malt from Royal Salute and has

been made with more than 21 single

malts, while The Lost Blend uses

rare whiskies from distilleries no

longer in production. The whiskies

are bottled in coloured porcelain

flagons with sapphire representing

the signature blend, an emerald

flagon for the Malts Blend and an

obsidian flagon for the Lost Blend.

Americano opens in Mumbai

Americano, a new-age Italian

restaurant by chefs Alex Sanchez

and Mallyeka Watsa, opened in

Mumbai recently, offering inventive

dishes and uncomplicated potent

cocktails at accessible price points.

The 1,750-square-foot space offers

50 I Brews & Spirits I Aug - Sep I 2019

house-made liqueurs and tinctures,

infused gins and cocktails. For

teetotalers, a selection of dry

cocktails is available, along with a

well-curated selection of beer and

wines.


NEWS FROM HERE & THERE

Jim Beam loses 45,000

whiskey barrels in blaze

Jim Beam suffered a major

warehouse fire in Kentucky in July

that needed multiple fire service

crews to bring it under control. The

fire totally destroyed one of Jim

Beam’s warehouses, estimated to

hold around 9 million litres of ageing

whiskey. A second warehouse also

caught fire, but that fire was quickly

dealt with.

More than 45,000 barrels of bourbon,

costing the brand millions of dollars

in lost stock, were destroyed. The

parent company, Beam Suntory,

has not specified the exact financial

loss and stated that the spirit that

went up in flames was “relatively

young whisky”. The company added

that “this fire will not impact the

availability of Jim Beam”.

Most expensive

Bordeaux wine

When it comes to recordbreaking

bottle prices, Burgundy

usually leads the way, both in

France and around the world.

But one Bordeaux producer is

set to make even Domaine de

la Romanée Conti seem like

a bargain when it releases its

next vintage for a stratospheric

$34,110 per bottle.

Located in Graves, Liber

Pater already boasts the most

expensive average bottle prices

in Bordeaux, according to Wine

Searcher data. However, the

$4,120 you can normally expect

to pay for one of its bottles is less

than an eighth of the price Liber

Pater will charge for the 2015

vintage. When it goes on sale,

it will become the world’s

most expensive release.

According to the Drinks

Business, just 550 bottles of the

vintage have been produced.

Only 240 will be released this

year, in September, and each

export market will receive

a maximum allocation of 18

bottles.

The wine is made using

indigenous Bordeaux

varieties, including Castets,

Tarney-Coulant, and Pardotte,

all grown on ungrafted vines.

The vintage was also vinified

in amphorae and the wine did

not see any oak.

Masseto unveils new winery

Masseto, Italy’s most collectible estate

wine, earlier this year unveiled a

brand-new winery that brings together

stunning design and uncompromised

functionality devoted to producing the

estate’s highly-acclaimed, singlevineyard

wine.

Designed by architects Hikaru Mori and

Maurizio Zito of the ZitoMori Studio, the

building incorporates a gravity flow

winemaking process, and benefiting

from the blue clay’s natural insulation,

the structure is symbiotic with the hills

and vineyard that surround it.

Cast-in-place concrete was used for

the winery’s architectural framework.

Inside, clean lines of glass and steel

predominate, balanced by rows of oak

barrels. Textured and scored surfaces

throughout is a reminder of the

extractive construction process, while

openings in the walls frame vertical

profiles of the vineyard’s inimitable

blue clay terroir.

India climbs up

Bacardi ladder

India became Bacardi’s second-largest rum

market by volume, grossing Rs 3,215 crore in

2018, according to IWSR. The US continues to

remain its largest market. However, whisky

still remains the most popular drink in India’s

overall spirits market, accounting for 70% of

sales.

Overall sales volumes for Bacardi India

increased two-fold over the past 3 years after

it introduced aged rums, Scotch whisky, gin

and sparkling wines, making it the third largest

international spirits company in India, after

Diageo and Pernod Ricard.

The Economic Times recently quoted Sanjit

Randhawa, Managing Director of Bacardi India,

as saying: “We saw a lot of consumers upgrade

to higher-priced rums last year… Rum as a

category is shifting to premium, aged products

globally, and we see a similar trend in India.”

Brews & Spirits I Aug - Sep | 2019 I 51


PERSONAL PASSIONS

Purrrfect

sunsets in the

Caribbean

My home bar with T20 Dhoni bottle visible.

Favourite drink memory:

Sipping a Pina Colada, watching

the perfect sunset in Barbados!

Favourite bars:

My bar at home; the Crown

Casino Bar in Melbourne

(Australia); and Hard Rock Bar in

Manchester (UK).

Favourite wine/ spirit:

Jack Daniels Honey.

Favourite cocktail:

Mai Tai.

Best city to drink in:

Anywhere in the Caribbean,

because every drink is

accompanied by the right vibes

and the right music, giving it extra

potency and relevance.

52 I Brews & Spirits I Aug - Sep I 2019

Best bottle I’ve been given:

The Champagne bottle the

Indian team sipped from after

winning the T20 World Cup in

Johannesburg. I finished half the

bottle; then took the empty one

home for my bar!

We need more women behind

the bar because…

They challenge what sadly is a

male bastion.

Plastic straws are…

A turn-off!

My favourite bartender:

Someone who can mix me the

perfect cocktail by just having a

chat with me and figuring out my

likes are, rather than pulling it off

a menu!

Gautam Bhimani,

award-winning

sports commentator

and accomplished

quiz-master.

Whisky is for…

Boring intellectuals!

My favourite bar accessory:

A flashing neon light that

indicates it’s time for a tipple.

Favourite drinking game:

Never have I ever...


CELEBRATION: INTERNATIONAL RUM DAY

Yo-ho-ho

and a bottle of rum!

If, after the Independence Day

celebrations (August 15th), you still

feel like continuing having a good

time you could, perhaps, take the

extended weekend off and celebrate

International Rum Day, which falls

on Friday, 16 August.

In doing so, you would be joining

the myriads of hard-core rum

aficionados who will be letting their

hair down and quaffing their rum

at bars and other watering holes

across the globe.

The picturesque island of Barbados,

in the southern Caribbean, proudly

proclaims itself as the birthplace

of this distilled alcoholic beverage.

It is said to have been discovered

in the 1600s by African slaves on

Caribbean sugarcane plantations,

who learned that molasses, a byproduct

of sugar refining, can be

fermented into alcohol.

In 1703, the oldest active rum

distillery, Mount Gay Rum, was

founded. The British subsequently

catapulted rum to distant shores

and, by the turn of the century, it

had become an increasingly popular

drink with a following around the

world. Today, it is the third most

popular drink in the US after vodka

and whisky!

Rum connoisseurs often prefer to

drink rum straight — on ice with,

perhaps, a twist of lime; but there

are several rum cocktails that are

extremely interesting and would

be worth a look-see. Have a great,

rummy weekend!!

Mojito:

A Great Rum

Cocktail

• 2 ounces light rum • 2 teaspoons sugar • 6-8 fresh mint leaves

• Splash club soda • 1 lime (cut into two halves) • Garnish: mint sprig

Place the sugar, mint leaves, and a splash of club soda into a highball glass. Muddle

well to dissolve the sugar and to release the flavour of the mint.

Squeeze the juice from both halves of a lime into the glass, dropping one-half into

the glass. Add the rum and stir well.

Fill the glass with ice cubes and top up with club soda. Garnish with the mint sprig.

54 I Brews & Spirits I Aug - Sep I 2019


FINAL CUT

Roar for the Tiger

FINISH

The founder of the largely

successful Wild Tiger

rum, Gautom Menon, is

displaying his true stripes

for his other passion: tiger

conservation in India.

Gautom and his wildlife

enthusiast friend, Paul

George Vedanayagam, are

undertaking an incredible

25,000-km awareness drive

from Kerala to Cannes

(France) in a made-in-India

Tata Hexa.

The duo will traverse 25

countries, with pit-stops

in wildlife reserves, dutyfree

shops and Indian

diplomatic enclaves across

Asia and Europe and raise

funds through donations

Prosecco Hills are Unesco heritage site

The Conegliano and

Valdobbiadene hills in

north-eastern Italy, famous

for the Preosecco sparkling

wines, were recently

recognised by UNESCO as a

World Heritage Site.

“The landscape is

characterised by ‘hogback’

START

and sales of ‘Roar Trip’

merchandise. All donations

will be directed towards onground

wildlife conservation

projects in tiger reserves in

Parambikulam (Kerala) and

Sathyamangalam (Tamil

Nadu).

Gautom’s Wild Tiger

Foundation is a registered

charity trust and is

supported by the Wildlife

Protection Society of India.

To make a donation, visit

www.wildtigerfoundation.

com/donation. You can get

journey updates on www.

roartrip.in; or Facebook.

com/wildtigerfoundation; or

“roartripwtf” on Instagram,

or “roartripWTF” on Twitter.

hills, ciglioni (small plots

of vines on narrow grassy

terraces), forests, small

villages and farmland,”

Unesco said. “For centuries,

this rugged terrain has

been shaped and adapted

by man… and created a

particular chequerboard

landscape.”

Cuny heads Pernod Ricard

India

Pernod Ricard India recently

announced the appointment of

Thibault Cuny as Chief Executive

Officer and Managing Director, taking

over the responsibility from Guillaume

Girard-Reydet. Thibault was CEO and

President of Pernod Ricard Brazil

since 2012.

Thibault graduated from EDHEC

Business School in France, started

his career in 1999 with Ernst &

Young, before joining Pernod Ricard

headquarters in 2003. He has

significant leadership experience and

deep knowledge across international

markets and various businesses.

Youngest Indian with WSET

Diploma

Pritish Matai of Mumbai’s

Aspri Spirits became the

youngest ever recipient of

Indian origin to complete

the WSET Level-4 Diploma,

one of the most prestigious

as well as difficult to

achieve in the world of

wine. The UK-based Wine

and Spirits Education Trust

is considered as one of the

most prestigious providers

of high-quality education in

the field of wines and spirits

around the world and also

the linked certification.

It was a chance suggestion

by his father to attend the

WSET Level-1 wine course

that got Pritish hooked

to the world of wine. He

Only 15 towns in the region

make Prosecco Superiore

DOCG, where complex

geology is thought to make

for a more diverse, flavourful

taste. As well as its ancient

tradition of wine-making,

the territory is known for

its well-preserved early

settlements.

pursued his interest along

with a degree in business

from Duke’s Fuqua School

of Business. “The minor

intricacies, rich history,

culture and the everchanging

landscape of

wine had me captivated and

intrigued,” he says.

Brews & Spirits I Aug - Sep | 2019 I 55


56 I Brews & Spirits I Aug - Sep I 2019


BULK SCOTCH WHISKY SUPPLY.

WORLD LEADING EXPERTISE.

The Loch Lomond Group is one of the world’s most trusted suppliers of bulk Scotch whisky.

And for good reason. As a fully integrated independent Scotch Whisky distiller, blender and bottler,

we know what is truly important for our bulk Scotch Whisky customers. Quality of spirit combined with

absolute consistency and sustainability across all ranges - at a price that is always competitive.

From coopers and maltsters to stillmen and blenders, our men and women

share a deep love and knowledge of their craft. The same is true of our

suppliers - whether we’re sourcing American oak bourbon casks or buying

malted barley from Scottish farmers, we work with experts we know and trust.

Our heritage is amongst the oldest in our industry. We have two malt distilleries

and one grain distillery, each settled in locations steeped in history, from

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OUR OWN MASTER BLENDER HAS THE

EXPERTISE AND ABILITY TO MEET TASTE,

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WE SUPPLY A VARIETY OF BULK SCOTCH

WHISKY AND STYLES: FROM 3 YEARS OLD

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If you are looking to import Scotch whisky or explore bottling opportunities, we know we will make a lasting impression.

Contact: Rukn Luthra, 229, DLF South Court, Saket, New Delhi - 110 017, India. Contact Nos: +91 9810345453.

Email Id: rukn.luthra@lochlomondgroup.com

Brews & Spirits I Aug - Sep | 2019 I 57


58 I Brews & Spirits I Aug - Sep I 2019

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