Telling a story through Varchas Whiskey

When Varchasvi Shankar, Founder, Shankar Distillers, first went to the US, he was driven by an urge to make his entrepreneurship dream come true. And he made it so! After many years of experience that taught him the art of global business, he turned toward the sector of alcoholic beverages because he saw it as an opportunity to tell a story, in fact, many interesting stories. The result has been a company that offers a wide range of products, especially whisky, that resonate with the consumers' need for interesting narratives and experiences.

By Spiritz Desk
New Update
Telling a story through Varchas Whiskey

For generations now, everyone has been fascinated by stories, whether narrated around a bonfire in the wild, projected on silver screens, told to children at bedtimes or, as in the present times, tied up with consumer products. And so Varchasvi Shankar entered into the fascinating world of alcoholic beverages driven by the need to tell a story - his story! "Our brand is about storytelling. My story is about coming to America and becoming a successful entrepreneur by being one of the first Indian-Americans to establish and own a distillery, launching products with a super-premium look, feel and consumer experience and becoming the first craft distillery to bring a bourbon to India," he says.

Triggered by Passion

Whiskey has always been a passion of Varchasvi. When he went to the US, he would see the great whiskey brands that had amazing tradition and heritage built into their stories. Also, he wanted to establish something that he could bring back to India and share with fellow countrymen.

In the early 2000s, he started working on this passion and purchased a few barrels of whiskey to pursue the beginning of his dream. By 2020, he was ready to start the business and launch a brand that would be the backbone of his whiskey business- Shankar Distillers and Varchas Premium Spirits.

With the development of Shankar Distillers and the Varchas Whiskey brand, Varchasvi wanted to create a mix of east and west cultures. He was born in the historic city of Mysore. The success of South India came from many wars won by the rulers of Mysore. His own business success as an immigrant to the US came from astonishing opportunities that he found in coming to America and fighting his own "wars" in business. As such, he wanted to create something that would encompass these historical stories and his dream.

The story is therefore present in every aspect of the brand, from bottle packaging to being the first craft distillery to bring bourbon to India.

Making it Unique

Varchasvi's American brand brings stories together through intriguing packaging, starting with the unique logo of the double-headed eagle, a warrior symbol from the kings of Mysore kingdom and a collectible metallic American eagle stopper, symbolising his success in America.

For the India market it has made some minor adjustments to include the American eagle in the label. There are other things that sets it apart from the other players. For one thing, it is a craft distillery.

"We don't process our whiskey in large batches. Our whiskey is either bottled in small batches of 1-3 barrels or single barrel projects. This provides for variation in flavours and finishes," Varchasvi informs. Further, their whiskey is made with water from the Great Lakes, the largest freshwater source in the world. This gives their whiskey a smooth, clean taste. 

On Expansion Mode

The Varchas brand has been expanding vigorously each year in the US. It is now available across 10 states and will be in 14 states by the end of 2024. It is also initiating global expansion into Canada, Japan and the UK for 2024.

In India, it has a presence in Karnataka, Delhi and Goa. There are plans for continuing expansion through Mumbai, Pune and Hyderabad.

In the current US market, the company offers 11 variations of premium whiskey and in India, it offers four variants. They are Straight Bourbon Whiskey, Straight Rye Whiskey, Detroit Reserve American Blended Whiskey and Indus Gold, American Blended Whiskey.

In the near future, the company will launch three tequila brands (Tequila Blanco, Tequila Reposado and Tequila Anejo), and vodka and gin labels.