Cocktail startup Swizzle is bringing home real bar experience during lockdown
After the coronavirus outbreak, weekends have never been the same. Pub hopping Saturdays are now replaced with OTT hopping. While many have been experimenting in their bars at home, arranging for cocktails from scratch is easier said than done.
Fixing this problem for party-lovers is. Founded in May 2019, Swizzle is a specialist cocktail kit delivery startup. The Bengaluru-based startup launched its products in October 2019, and manufactures and sells over 20 varieties of cocktails.
Margarita cocktail kit by Swizzle | Image Source: Swizzle
Founded by 23-year-olds Vrinda Singhal and Deepender Singh, Swizzle delivers its kits through Swiggy, Zomato, as well as from its own website.
The perfect mix
A lover of cocktails herself, every time Vrinda tried recreating her favourite cocktails at home, she could never get the quantities right. “If this was a problem for me, I realised other cocktail lovers faced similar challenges,” Vrinda says. Not having found a solution for this, Vrinda started working on the idea.
Her brother, Akshay Singhal, who founded Sequoia-backed cleantech startup Log9 Materials, pushed her to pursue her entrepreneurial journey. Eventually, she was joined by her college friend to enhance the party experience at home. Deepender is a second-time entrepreneur. He had earlier co-founded Kopobooze, a private and corporate party organiser.
The founders wanted to name the startup something simple, short, and easy to remember. The word Swizzle is derived from an alcoholic frothy drink prepared using rum or gin, and bitters. The current team size of Swizzle is four.
Vrinda Singhal and Deepender Singh, Founders of Swizzle
Bringing the bar home
Swizzle operates on a franchise distribution model. “We will be delivering concoctions at franchise outlets and then packaging and dispatching will be handled from there,” Vrinda says.
Once Swizzle receives the orders, the cocktail kits are prepared fresh and delivered to customers at the comfort of their homes. The startup has cocktail mixes and kits for all kinds of alcohol -- beer, vodka, rum, gin, tequila, bourbon, and whisky.
While the basic single cocktail kit ranges between Rs 149 and Rs 219, the startup also makes party packs that serves four to five people. The party packs are priced between Rs 599 and Rs 849.
Swizzle, which is mainly targeting the millennial population, acquired its first set of customers through liquor store branding and survey activities.
On placing an order, Swizzle delivers a kit that includes all the fresh ingredients, the Swizzle mix, fresh garnish, ice measurer, and a prep card that contains the step-by-step instructions. Users need to add their preferred spirit to the mix. The shelf life of Swizzle’s products range between two to seven days, once refrigerated.
Swizzle claims it sources all the raw materials from the local markets of Bengaluru. For the containers and bottles, it has tied up with a supplier called Amigo Bottles.
“The biggest challenge has been educating the customers about the product and making our users understand that we do not deliver the alcohol. We are engaging our customers through social media and keep them updated about new launches,” Vrinda says.
Red Appletini by Swizzle
The bootstrapped startup has two revenue streams in place -- revenue from sales and advertisements.
Under the first model, Swizzle sells cocktail kits online. Additionally, it has also started organising virtual cocktail parties since the lockdown, and this has added to its revenue.
The startup said it generates 30 percent of its revenue fromand orders, and about 40 percent of the revenue is generated from its website.
“We are trying to bring more customers to our website by offering discounts,” Vrinda says.
Under the advertising model, Swizzle provides liquor companies an online advertising platform for better engagement with their respective customers. Going ahead, it is also planning to launch a subscription model to enable smooth ordering experience for its customers.
Since its inception, the startup claims to be having a repeat customer base of more than 200, and every month it adds at least 40 permanent customers. Recently, the startup hit the 1,000 orders milestone.
Swizzle has also hosted a fashion show for Noosa events, a New Year party at an apartment this year, and the Holi party for Log9 Materials. More recently, it also collaborated with Little Black Book to host a virtual cocktail party.
The spirits market
According to Statista, the revenue generated in the spirits segment in India amounts to Rs 2.60 lakh crore in 2020. The market is expected to grow annually at a CAGR of 8.4 percent between 2020 and 2023.
With pubs and bars being closed due to the pandemic, people have been inclined towards house parties. This has allowed Swizzle to capture a large market and expand.
The startup competes with the likes of &Stirred, Jimmy’s Cocktails, and Social Cocktail mixes. Mumbai-based Svami also makes mixers like ginger ale and tonic water for the masses.
However, according to Vrinda, Swizzle’s USP lies in the fact that all the ingredients are freshly sourced and supplied, “instead of the preserved ones, giving customers a bartender feel without having any knowledge of bartending.”
Going ahead, the startup plans to expand to other Tier I cities across the country by June next year. “We will be targeting Delhi and Mumbai to start with, and then expand to more places,” Vrinda says.
Swizzle is also looking to serve at least five lakh customers in the next five years. The founders have also been approaching VCs to raise investment and boost its expansion plans.