Alcobev Startups Thriving Amid Challenges

New Update

Entrepreneurship in itself entails challenges. But when it comes to India’s alcoholic beverages sector, the challenges get multiplied for the simple reason that this particular sector comes under the direct control of different state governments inIndia, and is often subjected to varied regulations. In addition, it is also worth noting that the alcoholic beverages industry in India does not attract enthusiastic interest of venture capitalists, which is why bootstrapping in this sector becomes the norm. Given this background, it becomes doubly interesting to note how several alcobev start-up ventures in India have not only overcome the obstacles but have achieved success in creating new brands and in facilitating new trends.

Take for example, the story of Anish Reddy who established the start-up Pursue Hard Seltzer. For him, the choice lay between following the path laid down by his family in the alcohol bottling business or carve out his own path, albeit in the same industry. He chose the latter and this led to setting up a plant in Goa to produce and bottle hard seltzer, which, he says, is slowly turning into a favourite tipple for the young generation of alcoholic beverage consumers. Or consider how two women entrepreneurs are making mead an environmental choice.


Another eye-opening start-up is the one started by Nitesh Prakash. He went on to establish a start-up in the cocktail space, realising early on that making cocktails at house parties is a challenging task given that a majority of the hosts are not particularly knowledgeable about the ingredients and proportions. And while cocktails can give an extra ‘fun’ element to a party, they are often shunned because of the complexities involved in their preparation process.

This was the gap that Nitesh decided to plug and so was born a brand that now caters to this segment in a big way through ready- to-drink cocktails. There are many such inspiring cases that have been featured in this very special issue.

What these stories also bring to the fore is how the role of state governments defines how start-ups plan their journeys. Most people in this domain have opted for Goa as their production, marketing and distribution base as they view that Goa is the state that is most lenient for alcobev start-ups as compared to others. Above all, these stories are also eye-opening for the fact that they highlight the transition in trends among the young consumers in India. For a great many of them alcoholic beverage is emerging as a lifestyle choice and health and convenience influences their purchases. This is why ready to-drink cocktails and healthy choices are the favoured options for investment in India’s alcobev space.


For instance, craft gin is now becoming popular. Beer too is no longer something that people simply guzzle on. It is now a drink of preference. And the fact is that thereis a segment of consumers who with their knowledge of the world and sizeable dispensable income are willing to shell out extra money for premium quality alco-beverages.

Consuming alco-beverages in social occasions have now become commonplace in pockets of urban India but it is the choice of the beverage that matters. Producers in India’s alcobev start-up space as compared to established alcobev manufacturers who deal in large volumes seem to gauge the evolving consumer trends in India’s alcobev industry more sharply and are more than willing to give exclusivity its own niche.

You will therefore find the story of Rakshay Dhariwal very absorbing for the fact that his start-up is a swim against the tide. This brave entrepreneur produces India’s first aged 100 percent agave spirit, which is additive-free and completely clean. Rakshay is now working on promoting his product across India, targetingconsumers who are bold, expressive and sophisticated.


Or take the case of Sameer Mirajkarand Viraj Sawant. Personally in love with cocktails but irritated at the inconvenience that comes with getting the right flavour and in an easily accessible place, the Founders zeroed in on the idea of offering cocktails in cans that would ensure uniform taste and get the party to the doorstep kickoff easily.

As for the way ahead, the start-up heroes said that despite the many regulations that burden this category, including packaging challenges, it was possible to negotiate the steep bends and emerge as serious competitors to the big brands with deep pockets. The Indian alcobev consumers are waking up to a dream list of a wide selection of alcoholic beverages and are more than willing to experiment. This gives hope to the alcobev start-ups who know that they can make their ventures work, with patience being the bottom-line.

More than one entrepreneur has stated that the future holds great potential with consumers not too keen about being loyal to just one particular brand for life. And that is another factor which is likely to give start-up powered innovations the big push that they deserve, in India’s vibrant alcobev space!

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