From LIIT to Mai Tai, Goa’s Mr. Jerry’s is bringing your favourite cocktails home
Cocktails never go out of vogue. A good Mai Tai for your Sunday brunch or a tall glass of Long Island Iced Tea on a Saturday evening—that’s all one needs to set some weekends right.
But the COVID-19 made life very difficult for these cocktail connoisseurs. Liquor stores may have opened but cocktails weren’t as easy to get. You can store your favourite spirits and just pour a drink whenever you want but cocktails are a bit more complicated. Not just the right spirits and mixes, but also the measures to get the perfect drink.
Even ready-to-pour mixers can seem a hassle.
Goa-based entrepreneurs and couple Rincy Varghese and Mrinal Manu realised this problem early into the lockdown. “We were not able to visit our favourite bars to drink our favourite cocktails,” Rincy tells YourStory.
However, every time they visited their friend Arijit Bose, they were in awe of the delicious cocktail the renowned bartender and mixologist made for them.
“One day, I told him how we should bottle these and start selling them,” says Rincy. And thus, in June 2020, India’s first commercially available ready-to-serve cocktails brand Mr. Jerry’s was born.
Rincy and Mrinal on-boarded mavericks of the alco-bev industry—Arijit Bose and Pankaj Balachandran—to create cocktails that offer a bar-like experience to consumers at the very comfort of their homes.
The ready-to-serve cocktails were launched in December 2020, and are currently available across Goa, Mumbai, Delhi and Bengaluru.
The cocktail experts
Rincy and Mrinal are closely associated with Blue Ocean Beverages, which manufactures liquor in Goa. Founded in 2002, Blue Ocean Beverages produces brands such as Neon Vodka, XF ready-to-drink, and Highbury Classic Whiskey, and now,.
Additionally, its bottling unit partners with brands including Old Monk, NAO Spirits (Greater Than and Hapusa Himalayan Dry Gin), Makazai, and DesmondJi.
The company’s name is inspired by The Bon Vivant’s Companion aka Mr Jerry P Thomas, author of the Bartender’s Guide.
“Mr. Jerry’s main focus is to provide bar-quality drinks from the convenience of your home without the hassle of you having to get various spirits, or learning complicated recipes to perfect a cocktail,” says Rincy.
In June 2020, right after inception, the team started trial runs. “There was a copious amount of drinking with some close-knit friends, testing out various cocktails and taking down feedback,” Rincy recalls.
On December 24, the team bottled its very first batch and dispatched 600 units to a couple of stores in Goa.
The founding team at Mr. Jerry's
However, the process was not simple. Every city has its own set of rules when it comes to alcoholic beverages and Mr. Jerry’s had to get approvals and educate people about the product.
Mr. Jerry’s currently offers six cocktails.
The Mai Tai is a blend of gold rum, white rum, and spiced rum, mixed with pomegranate molasses, orgeat or almond syrup and citrus cordial. The Cucumber and Elderflower Fizz is a mix of gin with fresh cucumber, lime, and elderflower.
Rincy’s favourite Espresso Martini has coffee, vanilla, nutmeg and vodka. Mr. Jerry’s Ol Fashioned has scotch whiskey, honey, sugar, and aromatic bitters.
The Midday Negroni contains gin, aromatic wines, juniper and orange.
Finally, the Long Island Iced Tea combines gin, vodka, rum, agave spirit and homemade orange liqueur.
The brand has tied up with established distributors across cities. Blue Ocean sources spirits like scotch from Scotland, rum from Jamaica, bourbon from America, and cognac and brandy from France. It also has access to a wide range of Indian spirits.
Mr. Jerry’s has an average sale of about 2,000 bottles a month across Goa, Mumbai, Delhi, and Bengaluru. It has also been a part of many weddings in Goa.
The brand manufactures close to 3,250 bottles every month. All investments that go into the development and marketing of Mr. Jerry’s is funded by Blue Ocean Beverages. The brand is yet to raise external funds.
Since Mr. Jerry’s is a ready-to-serve bottled cocktail brand, it is covered under the purview of the excise authorities and regulations. These vary from state to state, and thus affect the final pricing of the product in each market.
In Delhi, Mr. Jerry’s is sold at Rs 715 per bottle. Each of these bottles contain five servings, thus making each cocktail priced at Rs 143. “Considering ice and mixers (soda, cola, tonic.), the cost per cocktail would be around Rs. 150,” Rincy adds. In markets like Maharashtra and Karnataka, it is sold for about Rs. 250 per cocktail.
The brand is projected to achieve a turnover of Rs 5.5 crore in FY 2022-23.
Midday Negroni by Mr. Jerry's
India’s alco-bev industry
Although still in its nascent stage, cocktail consumption is one of the fastest-growing segments in the alcoholic beverage industry in India. The opportunity is massive with the revenue in the Indian spirits market amounting to $35.37 billion this year. The market is further expected to grow by a CAGR of 5.33 percent between 2022 and 2025.
“There has been a huge growth in the demand for bottled and convenient products, especially cocktails and craft spirits,” agrees Rincy.
Highball cocktail Jack and Coke, also referred to as JD and coke, made its debut in India earlier this year. Similarly, Pune-based RM Beverages produced Touted—a ready-to-serve canned cocktail.
Salud is famous for its canned G&T, and The Bombay Canteen partnered with Stranger & Sons to bring Jardin d’Ulysse’s Peruwala into a bottle through its Perry Road Peru cocktail.
Mr. Jerry’s USP is straight—one does not need to prepare to serve great cocktails or cut corners for a not-so-well-made cocktail, Rincy explained.
The Espresso Martini by Mr. Jerry's
“Gathering of ingredients and the hassle of looking for bartenders to enjoy a drink with friends and family at home was a problem yet to be addressed,” says Rincy.
She shares that there has been a big shift in the consumption patterns of cocktail enthusiasts, with more people experimenting with their drinks. A noticeable trend in the industry has been the rising popularity of technique-driven drinks with a focus on making the spirit and ingredients shine.
“Our challenge is to educate consumers, and tell them that a ready-to-serve bottled cocktail is different from ‘ready-to-drink’ alcopop beverages and cocktail mixers,” Rincy adds.
Mr. Jerry’s continues to experiment with new cocktails and plans to launch more variants, adding to the existing line-up by the end of this year. The team is also targeting to expand to newer cities—Puducherry, Kolkata, Hyderabad, and Pune, and perhaps overseas as well.
(This story has been updated to correct a typo)