In an interview with Restaurant India, Aneesh Bhasin, Co-Founder at Svami Drinks talked about his brand’s journey so far, why he is targeting millennials as his target customers and why his two years old business is not profitable yet but is on a right path to profitability.
Svami drinks was launched in February 2018. In these two years of journey, how has this brand grown in this country?
We launched in 2018 in a very small capacity. We were literally a team of 5 people that did everything from production to sales and marketing. It was our way to testing the water and thankfully, we got an outstanding response from restaurants and bars. It's only towards mid-2018 that we hired more people and started working on more accounts and expanding distribution.
The journey has been adventurous, to say the least. We started Svami from a basic need that we had ourselves, a premium mixer brand where there was none in the country. We invested in our own production, developed our own recipes, basically started from scratch rather than approaching a contract manufacturer, and ask them to make us tonic water.
Today we are at over 700 touchpoints and are looking at expansion beyond the metros. Even on the product side, we are not a tonic water company and are working towards a broad portfolio of aerated beverages.
In terms of its profits, by what % has it grown?
We are not profitable yet but are on the right path to become profitable. As a new business, we have invested in Capex, costs of custom bottles, manpower, and marketing. Currently, these costs like in most initial days of businesses, can't be in proportion to revenue.
Where are your products currently available? Are you planning to expand its reach?
We currently have four tonic waters, ginger ale, and soda. This year will be a 3Cal tonic, perhaps the lowest calorie tonic water globally, lemonade and a range of ready to drink products. Svami's portfolio will be two distinct lines - mixers and ready to drink.
What kind of customers are you targeting through this brand?
We are targetting millennials as the core customers. People who are looking at better products and are conscious of the brands they consume. The last few years have been an incredible shift in people choosing brands depending on their quality versus price and these are also the customers who now support homegrown brands.
Going forward what are your plans with Svami drinks? Are you introducing any new flavor?
Yes, we have a range of products in both categories - mixers and ready to drink. The ready to drink line is very exciting as it opens up a lot more retail avenues and occasions and once again we feel the need for alternative products to sugary colas and packaged juice, which are currently the main options in this category.
Are you also planning to enter into a new segment with this brand?
Like I mentioned above, ready to drink products is the new segment for us. With these products, we reach an audience that is not looking at consuming our products as a mixer to alcohol but by itself. If you are not consuming alcohol drinks then the only options you are left with are your regular colas and packaged drinks. We want to break the monotony here and offer an alternate range of products. To give you an example of this is the Svami non-alcoholic rum & cola.