The alcobev industry in the country has been growing at more than 12% CAGR for the decade starting 2001 making it one of the fastest growing markets in the world.
Brief us about your business model like how did the idea came to start and how does it work (step by step procedure)?
Fruzzanté came to me by chance. I come from a farming background and we have plenty of fruits in our property. When I returned from the USA for good, I noticed that 40% of the Chikoo in our farm was getting wasted. I wanted to do something about this and spoke to my husband, who was also in agreement. We started working on ideas and after a lot of research, we narrowed on the idea of making wine from Chikoo. This way, Fruzzanté, the first-of- its-kind homegrown range of 100% sparkling fruit alcoholic beverages was born and with it our journey into entrepreneurship. Fruzzanté is a carbonated alcoholic drink and hence to identify with the drink easily we coined the word Frizz to the name and thus we zeroed upon Fruzzanté.
Once we finalized the idea of making wines from Chikoo, we started researching for some of the best fruit wine makers in the world and came across Dominic Rivard from Canada. We got in touch with him for commercial production of an alco-bev made from Chikoo and thus the process of making Chikoo wine began with the venture seed by Mr. Srikant Save, my father who is a farmer from Bordi. Once Dominic came on board things moved really fast and within a year World’s first Chikoo wine was ready. Once the Alco beverage was ready, we started looking at various avenues for marketing and promoting the product.
The bottles were available in the market by the beginning of Jan 2017. Mumbai being our primary market we focussed on it extensively in the first year. We reached out to all the retails and big chain of Hotels across Mumbai. The response was pretty good and from there, we have not looked back.
What are the unique key points of your company? How are you different from the existing competitors?
Fruzzanté is gluten-free and vegan, with no added color or flavor. It is a sparkling alcoholic beverage made entirely from fresh fruits. Apart from Chikoo, we also have Mango, Pineapple, Starfruit, Strawberry and Mead (Arka Honey Dessert) . We will also be launching Fruzzanté Orange soon and have something for everyone. They are drinks for people who want all the amazing experiences of a good drink. Fruzzanté pair’s excellently with Indian food.
Fruit wine is a completely separate niche within the alco-bev industry. It has been immensely popular within the European world and is here to be enjoyed by the Indian market now. With our unique idea, we are sure we have a strong market for ourselves within India. Our first focus currently is to make our distribution network extremely strong.
Our aim is that Fruzzanté should be available in the smallest of towns across India eventually.
As a brand Fruzzanté truly represents the idea of “vocal for local” and resonates with the Prime Minister of India’s Atmanirbhar yojana. Except for the Hydraulic machine at our winery every other machine that we use is from an Indian manufacturer. The fruit ripening chamber, crushing and pulping machine, also the bottling, and labelling machine, all our equipment’s are made in India. All our fruits are sourced locally and directly from the farmers to benefit the local farmers. In-fact we work very closely with the Warli tribe from our region and use their help in our farms and the processing units.
We like to believe that we are truly building a sustainable ecosystem which benefits everyone in the process. So far, we are working with 15 farmers across Maharashtra and have used over 50 tons of fruits in total this year from them. This year we will be scaling up and we are sure this will really make a huge difference to our brand too.
What is the funding status and monetization model?
We are completely a bootstrapped company. Our monetization model is through retail sales, restaurant sales and now also in-app home delivery orders.
What challenges are you facing in running your business?
Wine as an industry is challenging as there is at least a ten-year investment period. Some major challenges that we faced were initially when we started making the Chikoo wine. The trial-and-error process was quite exhausting. Second was getting the excise duty exemption and placing fruit wines in the same category as wines was also tedious and time- consuming. After over 3 years, we managed to get the exemption.
How has been the people`s response so far?
Fruzzanté is available in all major retails throughout Maharashtra, and now is available in Goa too. Our sparkling alcoholic beverages are gaining popularity in many outlets throughout the state and our products have been well received in the market. People who have tried the product have been regularly exploring our new range of launches too. We often receive emails and Instagram DM’s or comments telling us how good a job we are doing and how the people like our products.
What are the traction details (like users, app downloads & other achievements of the company)?
In terms of sales, we have grown by around 200%. From a couple of distributors, we have now moved to more than 25 distributors across Maharashtra, Goa & Karnataka. We have around 7,500 cases this year. At Fruzzanté, our products are available mainly through the offline mode of distribution through retail outlets as well as restaurants. We are also available through Alcohol delivery apps like Spiritzone, Living Liquidz etc. If one wants to place an order, they can also call up on our customer care number 7499255223.
Fruzzanté won the silver medal at “Drink Outside the Grape” challenge 2017 held in the United States. We competed against 145 global wines and ciders and won.
How do you look at expansion?
We are planning to expand to 4 more states by June 2021. In March we launched in Goa with Fruzzanté and Karnataka with Arka. By June we would be in West Bengal, Puducherry, Uttarakhand, Punjab & Telangana. By the end of 2021 our aim is to be present across at least half of India. We will also be adding 2 to 3 new variants next year with Orange being one of them for sure. Our philosophy will remain the same Farm to Bottle, where we are helping and sourcing directly from the farmers from across Maharashtra and ensuring that they get their due. This way the demand for fruits is kept alive and farmers earn from the process. We are also slowly planning to add more fruits and more variants to the range we offer.
What are your marketing plans?
Our marketing and brand building strategies mostly involve on ground activation and retail offers. We also regularly participate in various exhibitions and wine related competitions. We meet up with sommeliers from all over the world. Fruzzanté is often part of many wine tasting sessions. In 2019, we did a Fruit Wine conference and food & wine pairing dinner where our products were paired along with different dishes with renowned Chef Imamdar. Such events are something that we do regularly to showcase our products and increase our visibility. Apart from this, we are planning to host a wine tour session at our winery with a package of 1 day, 2 days or even 3 days, depending upon the visitor’s preference.
What has been the biggest learning’s so far?
I have learned that it is important to follow your dreams and not be intimidated by fear of failure. Fear seldom prevents failure but it certainly prevents life!
What is the market size and opportunity?
India is one of the fastest growing alcobev markets in the world. The alcobev industry in the country has been growing at more than 12% CAGR for the decade starting 2001 making it one of the fastest growing markets in the world. We are expected to be the third largest consumer economy as the consumption is expected to triple to $4 trillion by 2025. This growth will be led by a shift in consumer behavior and expenditure pattern. The Indian millennial consumers present an exciting opportunity for the alcobev industry given their increasing aspirations, disposable incomes and exposure to global brands.