After a formal education in Hotel management and almost 10 years in the hotel industry working for Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts in Sydney, Las Vegas, and London amongst a few other hospitality stints, Aman Gupta started his entrepreneurial journey in London having set up a beverage distribution company in 2006. This led him to start distributing VEEN in the UK and partnering up with the founders to develop the brand globally. Here are the excerpts from the interview:
You acquired the brand Veen in 2012. What’s the whole idea entering the bottled water space?
The bottled water space is growing year and year and the premium segment although tiny within the bigger picture is also growing very well. I was already involved with VEEN for many years before 2012 and it was a natural progression to continue to build the brand.
How is Veen water different from other bottled waters?
Similar to growing different grape varieties in different regions and vineyards, VEEN has found multiple unique natural spring sources where it produces distinctive bottled water products of individual characteristics.
How about pricing keeping local Indians in mind as they are very price conscious?
Our products are packaged exclusively in glass bottles and priced accordingly. Although the Indian market is price conscious, it is also quality conscious and the consumer is willing to pay for good quality products.
What is your distribution network?
We are currently selling VEEN in India in 35 cities exclusively to hotels, restaurants, bars, and nightclubs in addition to direct home delivery. Globally VEEN is distributed in 16 countries.
What’s the significance of Glass vs Plastic packaging?
A majority of plastic packaging in India ends up in a landfill or in our oceans whereas glass gets recycled by getting sold back to glass factories that crush it and make new glass. Glass is a better container for water whereas plastic sometimes leeches into the water. A lot of Plastic in India contains BPA which is harmful to health.
How are you contributing to building a culture around water and understanding its complexity?
We are starting by educating hotels and restaurants on the difference between Natural Water and Purified Water. A majority of Indian bottled water is purified processed water which is completely different to a natural mineral water which is sourced from a specific source and is unprocessed. Purified water does not belong in the culinary environment where the experience is about produce, taste and quality.
How are you marketing the brand right in India as Bisleri has dominated the market?
Bisleri and VEEN are in completely different categories and we don’t really compete with each other. We have developed a small niche for ourselves within the bigger water market in India.
What is your expansion plan expanding in India and in the global market?
We plan to continue developing our distribution in water and in addition extend our range our products to include our premium craft mixer range and our functional water brand, Ayurveda Water.