Man behind Svami tonic water on reasons behind its popularity

Updated: Nov 20, 2018, 08:46 IST | Aastha Atray Banan

The men helming the Indian-made hit tonic water, on the reason behind its popularity and new additions

Svami's tonic water
Svami's tonic water

We met Aneesh Bhasin, co-founder at Svami, India's first craft mixer company, at the launch of Flea Bazaar Cafe in March this year. Svami had just about launched its tonic water, and we tried it out minus alcohol. Just as professed, it tasted clean and fresh. It also was much less sweeter than its main competitor, Schweppes, without losing any of the flavour. When Bhasin told us that it has 50 per cent lesser calories than Schweppes tonic water, we were hooked. The way we had our gin and tonic was going to change forever.

Today, almost eight months later, Svami tonic water is available in 80 restaurants across the city, and at retail outlets like Nature's Basket and Foodhall. It's slowly but steadily becoming the go-to choice for everyone loving their gin and tonic, without the added calories. "We knew that the fine dining restaurants would be interested.

(From left) Aneesh Bhasin, Rahul Mehra and Sahil Jatana
(From left) Aneesh Bhasin, Rahul Mehra and Sahil Jatana

But then, brands like Social also hopped on. So, we were catering to a slightly younger audience, which was happy that the water is low on sugar," says Bhasin, who co-founded the company with Sahil Jatana (CEO) and Rahul Mehra (who handles marketing and distribution with Bhasin). Sahil was a coffee consultant in Singapore and had been exposed to the bars at the cosmopolitan city. Rahul (who owns Gateway Brewing Co) and Bhasin (once a photographer) had extensively travelled across Europe, and had been amazed at the multitude of mixers available there.

"Most bars in Europe have a whole page dedicated to mixers. We knew there was a space in the market here, and we wanted a product we would drink ourselves as well," says Bhasin. The fact that G&Ts have become the "it" drink for all seasons, also proved fortunate for them. "Exactly. It definitely helps that people are drinking G&Ts much more now. If you are spending good money on buying good gin, you want a mixer that doesn't overpower the drink, with either the fizz or sugar," Bhasin tells us.

Made from quinine sourced from Congo, cucumber and lime from India, and grapefruit from the US, the only tweaks the tonic water has got from March is that the carbonation has increased. "Indians like their fizz," says Bhasin. Right now, Svami is getting ready to launch more flavours and a ginger ale as well, by February.

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