A startup based out of Maharashtra, constantly experimenting to bring fresh varieties of meads. “Mead is not beer,” says Rohan Rehani Co-founder of Moonshine Meadery, Indian first.
Incubees: Tell us about yourself and your journey as an entrepreneur.
Nitin & Rohan: First-time entrepreneurs with no background in the alco-bev industry. Making meads started as a garage project in 2014 and we finally incorporated 2016. It took 2 years for them to get all licenses before the market launch in 2018.
Incubees: Tell our readers about meads and the kind of products you have to offer.
Nitin & Rohan: We make meads – honey converted to alcohol.
Moonshine’s meads are flavourful – fruit forward, mildly sweetened with honey and carbonated. Another major USP our meads have is that they are naturally gluten-free – which means there’s no uncomfortable bloating after drinking it.
Our flagship meads – Traditional mead, Apple mead and Coffee mead are available throughout the year. We also do seasonal meads which are called MeadLABs. Some notable examples are Guava Chilli mead, Grilled Pineapple mead and Salted Kokum mead. The idea behind creating the MeadLABS was to drive home the point that we’re a craft beverage which is made using real ingredients. We’re giving consumers a choice to drink better, not bitter.
Incubees: How did the idea of making mead come to you? What were the challenges you faced?
Nitin & Rohan: In 2014, Nitin read about London’s first meadery in an in-flight magazine. Curiosity about meads led us to start some trials in Rohan’s grandmother’s kitchen. When we wanted to go commercial 2 years later, we realized that the category did not exist to make meads. So we spent nearly 2 years getting all the policy changes in place before we could launch in the market. After launching, our biggest challenge has been building awareness of the brand with consumers.
As a young insurgent brand with limited marketing spending, we have spent a lot of time meeting consumers one on one – either at events or during meadery tours. This helps convert customers into evangelists, which leads to more word of mouth about the brand.
Incubees: Where do you procure honey, fruits, and coffee from? Are the raw materials indigenous or bought from abroad?
Nitin & Rohan: Our honey forms from all over the country. We source our honey from Uttarakhand, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and even Tamil Nadu. We own 300+ bee boxes and the source part of our honey from our own boxes.
As a brand, we don’t use any artificial flavours. So all our ingredients are from either local mandis, fruit processing units or farmer cooperatives. With the exception of yeast, every element we use to make our meads is sourced in the country, and often within a 500 km radius of our meadery.
Incubees: Tell us about your team. What’s their source of motivation?
Nitin & Rohan: The average age of our team is 25. While some of the team have prior experience with alco-bev, most of the team has joined us fresh out of college and has learned the ropes of the industry along with us.
What we and the team are most excited about is creating a new category of alcohol in the country. The challenges these pose are unlike anything else and keep us going.
Incubees: How do you innovate your product?
Nitin & Rohan: Meads are quite a blank canvas. So we did lots of taste trials with friends and family before launching. Post launching, the team continues to spend time on the ground to listen to the pulse of the market and the feedback is then relayed back to the production team.
Further, to ensure innovation is ingrained into every team member, we ensure that everyone who joins us visits the meadery and makes a small batch using ingredients of their own choice. This gives the team the opportunity to understand how versatile a medium, mead is.
Incubees: What message would you like to give to upcoming entrepreneurs?
Nitin & Rohan: If an idea keeps you awake all night, it’s an idea worth pursuing.
To know more, visit: https://www.moonshinemeadery.com/