Beverage Startups

& Stirred – The Simplest Way To Make A Perfect Cocktail

& Stirred - The Simplest Way To Make A Perfect CocktailDespite its rapidly growing market, India lacks variety in its beverage options. Even though Indians do consume white spirits with mixers, high prices of spirits, a poor variety of mixers, and a general lack of knowledge about mixing cocktails in India have hindered the country’s cocktail market. At the same time, it seems that the stage for ready-to-drink cocktails couldn’t be better set. Today, we’re talking about India’s beverage market and the beginning of &Stirred with Rakesh Sheth, the brand’s founder.

1. For Western consumers and businesses, India can seem like a totally different, even exotic world. Can you shortly describe the basics of the beverage market in India?

India is a whisky cultured society. It is heavily skewed towards dark spirits. The top 3 categories are whiskey (66%), rum (17%) and brandy (12%). Vodka is at disappointing 3%.

Having said this, there is a lot of excitement at the premium end and also the non-traditional spirits. These product categories are showing a healthy growth namely single malts, super-premium gins, craft beers, RTD (Bacardi Breezer), American / Irish whiskies and so on.

2. I’ve already briefly described the opportunity that you seized in launching &Stirred. Can you tell us more about the beginning of the brand?

I have spent close to 15 years within the alcobev business marketing and managing lifestyle/luxury brands in India. Whilst working on various brands and categories, the one thing that always disappointed me was the limited (read boring) choice a consumer had while drinking at home specially with white spirits.

All this while and even today majority consumer’s choices are between:

  1. Tetra Juices
  2. Carbonated Sodas

But what triggered this launch, is the discomfort of buying RTD’s for my wife when I would have the best bottles lying in my bar.

Every time she would ask me to pick some RTD’s, without a single miss I would remind her of the several bottles of vodka / white rum / tequila lying at home and why wouldn’t she drink that. My man’s mind could never understand this specially when it’s making a hole in your wallet:

  1. RTD’s are expensive for the value it gives
  2. You can choose better spirits from the ones you already have in your bar

Until one day, she articulated it quite well “I don’t drink to get drunk, I like flavor in my drink“.

This was my eureka moment. This was definitely not just my story but a reality in nearly every household in India.

I could clearly see an opportunity gap and plunged into it.

The single minded proposition I worked on was – How can I make home drinking delicious?

3. I have to say: &Stirred’s website and product concept are very appealing. However, it’s easy to get confused about where the brand is based due to its high quality. Who inspired you?

& Stirred - The Simplest Way To Make A Perfect CocktailI am marketer mind. My life revolves around building right perceptions in a consumers mind.

The one filter that I would surely keep while designing a campaign, or a product is:

  1. Keep it simple;
  2. Keep it relevant;
  3. Make it ownable (uniqueness)

My approach to developing &Stirred was:

Q: What am I addressing?

Ans: Make home drinking delicious

Q: What are the current barriers to why they don’t do that (make better drinks at home)?

  1. Difficult to make
  2. Don’t know how to make
  3. One will never have everything handy (too many ingredients)

I believe if one has his fundamentals clear in his head, he just needs to articulate it in the language everyone understands and that’s what I have done.

It’s simple – 3 steps to deliciousness:

  1. Ice it
  2. Spike it
  3. &Stir it

Well priced – Rs. 50 (75 cents) for a single serve pack.

Superlative packaging – Looks tempting, seeds curiosity from a shelf and has everything a lay-man needs to know about the what and how of the product.

Awesome taste – the concoctions are developed using the best ingredients by one of the biggest names in the world of mixology in India, an author of book on cocktails, runs a bartending school and so on.

&Stirred is a proud Indian brand.

4. &Stirred currently has four different flavors, but do you plan to release any others? If so, which cocktail is next?


Idea was to launch the most common ones to start with and enroll a consumer in the world of cocktails.

The next batch is when I slowly start experimenting. &Stirred is still in its nappy days. Also, it has a large ground to cover.

What I can say is – while I will keep toying with exciting flavors within white spirits, I am also looking at different categories. Whisky could be an exciting bet.


5. To see your products on the shelves at retail stores is a milestone for every brand. Which retailers is &Stirred targeting right now?

The got to market strategy is quite simple. I am not an impulse “quench your thirst” product hence it needs to have a selective distribution spread.

On-ground: While the predicted route of modern trade, select gourmet stores, condominium / top – up shops will be my priority one. I am more likely to follow my consumer (primarily women).

You may be surprised to see me in high-end pastry shops or even salons.

Online: I have an e-commerce setup on my website + I am already in talks with a few other relevant online platforms.

6. Although social media are vital in today’s market, it seems as though &Stirred doesn’t have any social media accounts. Do you plan to launch an account on Instagram or Facebook in the near future?

That’s not true. We are a 3 day young brand and unfortunately you caught me when I was trying to get the back-end engine in place.

We realize the importance of being active in the digital space and do have a social conversations page on Facebook and on Instagram.

7. Where do you see &Stirred five years from now?

5 years hmmm… Let me be honest here, I am really happy that &Stirred actually happened. You cannot imagine my journey since the last 2 years that I have been on it.

I do have a road map on it but for now, I am focused on the short term agenda in getting the product within the right communities and the relevant retails. It’s way too early to think that far.

The big play will happen and I have no doubts about it. Let’s keep that for our next chat. Cheers!

For more information visit &Stirred website.

About Ugne Butkute

Ugnė Butkutė is a project manager at DrinkPreneur. Ugnė is responsible for attracting contributors, maintaining quality of content and keeping readers satisfied with DrinkPreneur

View all posts by Ugne Butkute →

Related Posts