As per Research And Markets, the Indian gin market is projected to grow at a CAGR of 9% between 2017-18 to 2022-23and as the Gin market is growing, so does the mixer/tonic market as consumers are wanting to experiment with their tonics. Also, if we look at numbers, Indian mixer category is currently worth INR 3,500 crores, projected to grow at a CAGR of 9% to reach INR 7,000 crores by the year 2030 and looking at this opportunity Lavanya Anand & Anant Jangwal started Peer Tonic water to tap the growing opportunity and consumer demand. “We have been tracking the recent growth and acceptance of premium gins and tonic, a trend that particularly picked up in the UK from 2016 onwards. However, it was only around 2019 that the premium gin and the tonic market saw an uptick in India,” shared the duo who started the brand in Oct 2021 by adding that Indian consumers were willing to pay a higher premium and want to experiment with a wider variety of gins. Additionally, consumers are now even caring about the TONIC that goes with their GIN. Excerpts from the interview:
Working on the concept
We worked intensely on finalizing the tonic recipes that would appeal to the Indian palate, and on creating a contemporary brand positioning. Regular tonic water typically contains as much sugar as soft drinks, which is 8-9 gms per 100ml. Such a high dosage of sugar is added to mask the bitterness of quinine. However, PEER wanted to create a tonic that has superior taste but without the extra sugar and calories. This is one reason why it took PEER 1.5 years, 20+ blind tasting focus group sessions, and numerous ingredient combinations to perfect the flavor profiles while containing 50% less sugar than other mainstream tonics. PEER has gone a step further and even created a zero sugar and zero-calorie tonic variant for health-conscious consumers.
Competitor vs target customer
Schweppes is a mass brand and a key competitor. It is the leader in the tonic water segment with deep retail penetration. A gradual shift is seen in consumer preferences as more and more users prefer low-calorie and low sugar tonics that enhance their drinks. There are other premium tonic water brands in the market that have emerged in the last 2-to 3 years. However, each brand has a different brand story and different flavor profiles. PEER has a differentiated brand positioning. While other competitors are positioned as classic brands, PEER is positioned as a contemporary lifestyle brand. Also, it is the lowest calorie tonic water brand in India, with one variant having zero calories and zero sugar.
Also, brands have done lots of innovation with local ingredients, hybrid materials, etc. Why so?
Premium mixer brands tend to not use artificial sweeteners, preservatives, or flavorings. Premium gin brands too are very experimental and use a variety of flavors and botanicals. This is because today’s consumers for the segment are more evolved than before and care about the quality of ingredients and the complex tastes a beverage offers. Today’s consumers are also environmentally conscious and prefer their beverages in glass bottles vs. PET/plastic bottles. PEER is a conscious brand that offers its consumers a re-use reward program to minimize its carbon footprint.
What are the different flavors available? How have you priced them?
PEER offers 4 flavors: Indian Tonic Water, 0 Cal. Indian Tonic Water, Bitter Lemon Tonic Water, and Mint Tonic Water. Each is priced at MRP 95 Rs. for a 200ml glass bottle.
Who are you targeting as your customer?
30-45-year-olds living in Indian metros are our primary target. They are typically ‘conscious buyers’ who are ‘buyers of the best’. When they drink with friends and family, it is because they want to socialize and have a good time. They are well aware of the different brands and choices in the market, and the authenticity of a brand is important to them.
High on expansion
PEER is available in leading modern trade stores in Delhi NCR such as Le Marche, NEEDS, Modern Bazaar, Natures Basket, and top general trade stores. PEER is also available in Punjab and Uttrakhand and will be entering Mumbai, Pune, Bangalore, and Kolkata in the next 15 days, and in Goa & Rajasthan by February end. We also ship pan India via the company website, and online platforms like Amazon, Flipkart & other beverage marketplaces. In its first month since soft launch, the brand sold 6,000 units of its tonic water, growing at 15% month-on-month in sales revenue
PEER aims to be in 650 outlets by end of 2022 and is also in conversation with VCs for funding and is looking to raise funds for additional innovative product launches and aggressive market expansion.