Brews & Spirits

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Changing perceptions about brandy

Mohan Bros: Changing perceptions about brandy A Partner in Mumbai-based Mohan Brothers, Amarlal Bajaj (L) has inducted his daughter, Pooja Chaddha, as CEO and Partner because she knows the DNA of the company.

Mohan Brothers needs no introduction! Since its inception in 1980 its Partner, Mr Amarlal Bajaj, has been nurturing its best-seller, Doctor’s Reserve No. 1 VSOP grape brandy. He also added to the portfolio with Queen of Queens whiskey, Black & Gold brandy and Bajaj Special whiskey.

Keeping Doctor’s Reserve No. 1 VSOP grape brandy fresh in the minds and hearts of brandy drinkers is quite an achievement by itself. This, according to Amarlal, has been possible by maintaining the company’s relations and goodwill amongst its wholesalers and retailers, Mohan Bros’ most valued partners.

Of course, it helps that there have been regular updates and upgrades to the quality and packaging of the brand, in keeping with market trends.

So, when Amarlal inducted his daughter, Ms Pooja Bajaj Chadha, as Partner and CEO last year, it came as no surprise, because the latter is familiar with the DNA of the company.

Amarlal says Pooja has brought fresh blood and ideas; gained traction and feedback on the brands on social media; and added strength to the marketing efforts through bar promotions with bartenders.

He notes that brandy is only 8% of the entire liquor production and consumption, with only a handful of brands: Mansion House, Napoleon, Morpheus and many others in the cheaper segment.

Amarlal is appreciative of Honey Bee brandy’s success on account of timely supply to the market, without interruptions, and its consistent quality.

So what is his favourite tipple? In whisky Amarlal enjoys the Glenlivet most; if it is beer it has to be Tuborg; and he relishes Burlington’s Reserve VSOP brandy.

Fun drink

Under Pooja’s leadership the Rs. 3.30-crore turnover company (2019-20) continues to nurture established brands, but has introduced the Burlington’s Reserve French grape VSOP brandy in ginger and honey variants.

Pooja’s main aims are to change the perception that brandy is only “medicine”; that it can be enjoyed on all occasions and seasons. She personally leads consumer promotions at retail and in restaurants to make brandy an appealing drink for the 35-45 years age group.

Pooja has set up a new team to look into retail sales, strengthen relations with partners, boost social media marketing and public relations efforts, and promote brandy tasting to target first-time drinkers.

She is happy that Mohan Bros has legacy brands trusted by many Indians, and that the company has the expertise and knowledge of blending and packaging. The strong ties with retailers, wholesalers and other partners has enabled Pooja to seek out new markets.

“For me, innovation is discovering new ways to enjoy an old fashioned drink,” Pooja says. And her favourites? Sidecar with Burlington’s, or Hendrick’s gin with water.