6 beverage startups that can keep you fresh and hydrated this summer

As India struggles with heat waves, here’s a list of beverage startups that offer a range of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks to help you keep your cool.
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Heatwaves are common in India, especially in May and June, but summer came early this year with temperatures rising in March. Usually, a mild precursor to the Indian summers, March saw average maximum temperatures that were the highest in 122 years. 

As heat waves began setting in, people turned to water, cold beverages, and cooling foods to stay hydrated and healthy. Helping them are a series of startups specialising in beverages crafted for Indian tastes and weather. 

According to Market Reports World, the global beverage market is expected to be worth $1,528,670 million in 2022 and $1,691,470 million by 2028, growing at a CAGR of 1.7 percent between 2022 and 2028.

The report states that emerging trends that have a direct impact on the dynamics of the industry include the “use of natural flavours and sweeteners to meet consumer health concerns, and increased interest in exotic drinks”.

With no letup in the heat, YourStory puts together a list of startups that offer a range of summertime beverages to help people keep their cool.

Lahori

Founded in 2017 by three cousins Saurabh Munjal, Nikhil Doda, and Saurabh Bhutna, Punjab-based beverage startup Lahori wants to give Indian consumers an option that resonates with their taste palette.

Lahori Co-founders( L:R) Nikhil Doda(CPO), Saurabh Munjal (CEO), Saurabh Bhutna (COO)

Its vision is to introduce better-tasting, category-defining ‘desi’ drinks in India, targeting both rural and urban markets.

The range of beverages, which is said to be packed with natural ingredients, is available in four ready-to-drink variants: Jeera, Kacha Aam, Nimboo, and Shikanji.

“We want to give Indian consumers beverage options that resonate with their taste palette. We know that the ethnic beverages market in India is underserved, and we have a vision to become a prominent force in this space,” Saurabh says.

In January 2022, Lahori raised $15 million in Series A funding from Belgium-based consumer-focused investor Verlinvest for an undisclosed minority stake to develop and launch new category-creating products.

Rockclimber

Founded in 2019 by Hariprasad Shetty and Deepak Poduval, Bengaluru-based alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverage startup The Rockclimber offers a comprehensive portfolio of crafted mixers, wine coolers, and other beverages.

The beverage is “vinified from locally grown fruits directly sourced from the farmer community”. The products are currently available in Goa, Maharashtra, Punjab, Odisha, Chandigarh, and other states.

The startup has ambitious market and portfolio expansion plans across India and abroad.

"The commercial bottled wine and beer industry is up for disruption as consumer palates are changing. Brands need to reinvent their product portfolio to keep pace. Our aspiration is to be recognised as one of the freshest and most loved beverage brands to come out of India," Deepak says.

In July 2021, Rockclimber raised $1 million from angel investor and FMCG veteran Anand Prakash Sharma to change the way wine is consumed. 

Jimmy’s Cocktails

Founded by Ankur Bhatia and Nitin Bhardwaj in 2019, Gurugram-based Jimmy's Cocktails offers low-calorie non-alcoholic spirits mixers in all popular flavours.

Their products include Margarita, Bloody Mary, Sex on the Beach, Cosmopolitan, Mango Chilli Mojito, Whisky Sour and newly launched Gin Cherry Sour. The products are available across over 6000 FMCG retail outlets, wine shops in over 50 cities, and at leading e-commerce / quick delivery platforms like Swiggy Instamart, Zepto, and Blinkit.

“Even though other options exist, we are the first premium cocktail mixer brand in India. While we stick to the original recipe, we make flavour twists to better suit the urban Indian palette. Like our Mango Chilli Mojito is a twist on the classic carbonated Mojito,” Ankur explains. 

In April 2021, the startup raised Rs 14 crore in a pre-Series A round led by Roots ventures, 7Square Ventures, and several startup founders via an AngelList led by Co-founder Mama Earth, Vishesh Khurana, Co-founder

Ship Rocket and Varun Alagh. 

The startup aims to use the funds to expand its geographical footprint in India and international markets, invest in brand awareness, and launch new SKUs.

Raskik

Founded in 2019 by Abhay Parnerkar, Vikas Chawla, and Satyajit Ram, Gurugram-based RaskikRaskik is a millennial-centric brand offering a portfolio of unique natural fusion beverages at mainstream prices.

Current Raskik products

The products are available in selected areas of Delhi-NCR with three variants of fruit juice fusion and coconut water across channels such as local MT chains, general trade, and e-grocers like Bigbasket and

MilkBasket.

“At Raskik, we are creating a vibrant brand and providing a portfolio of natural, great-tasting fusion beverages. It is our belief that with our deep experience in this industry and a highly capable ecosystem of partners, we will delight our consumers with great quality, innovative beverages,” Vikas says.

In November 2020, the startup raised $1 million in a pre-Series A funding round led by 9Unicorns and Venture Catalysts to expand its geographical presence in India. It aims to develop consumer intimacy with millennials, who are looking for natural and good-for-you options to create a highly loved brand.

LQI

Founded in 2016 by Shubham Khanna, Palak Kapoor, and Kapil Kumar, Gurugram-based beverage startup LQI uses its proprietary technology to manufacture milkshakes, smoothies, and fruit water frozen packs made with 100 percent raw fresh fruit with an increased shelf life of 2.5 months without the use of any flavours, purees, colours, or preservatives.

In August 2019, Singer Sukhbir Singh invested an undisclosed amount of funding in tech-enabled LQI to increase production capacity and enable geographical expansion to newer markets.

“LQI’s core differentiator lies within its exceptional product and technology that targets urban youth to an upscale lifestyle on a daily basis and alongside helping restaurants to offer fresh beverages without any hassle,” Sukhbir says.

The startup currently works on the B2B2C and HORECA (Hotel/Café/Restaurant) model and has tied up with brands like Innerchef, Pitapit, IHOP, Donor & Gyros, Burgrill, etc.

Gunsberg

Founded in 2019 by Sarthak Aggarwal and Abhishek Bajaj, Chandigarh-based Gunsberg uses natural ingredients, and can be consumed as a mixer or a standalone soft drink.

The drink is a combination of cane sugar and ginger juice with a sprinkling of lemon juice and fresh apple in carbonated water.

The D2C and B2B brand now offers a variety of beverages such as Ginger Beer, Ginger Ale, and Grapefruit Ale, and also has a presence across Bhutan and Nepal.

“What makes the drink unique is its freshness and the heat of the ginger as compared to other beverage brands that generally use concentrates. Also, while majority of other brands are sold as mixers, Gunsberg is a ready-to-drink beverage,” Sarthak says. 

Edited by Teja Lele Desai

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