Young, adventurous, and health-conscious: Goa-based Ochre Spirits rides the global cocktail wave with low-calorie gins and vodkas

By Audrey Yow

- Last updated on GMT

As Gen Z and Millennials embrace the cocktail culture sweeping through the globe, Ochre Spirits is tapping into the trend with its premium, health-focussed spirits that promise a superior drinking experience. © Ochre Spirits
As Gen Z and Millennials embrace the cocktail culture sweeping through the globe, Ochre Spirits is tapping into the trend with its premium, health-focussed spirits that promise a superior drinking experience. © Ochre Spirits

Related tags Alcohol spirits Alcoholic beverage Gin Vodka

India's Ochre Spirits is tapping into the global cocktail trend with its premium, lower calorie spirits that promise a superior drinking experience.

Ochre Spirits founder John Royerr observed that the trend of both more mindful and experiential drinking. He also sees a trend towards home consumption, which was accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

This has led to an increased interest in home bartending, and an enthusiasm for experimenting with new flavours and craft cocktails. Ochre Spirits appeals to this trend by offering distinctive flavours and a premium base for creative cocktails, enhancing the overall drinking experience.

“We are excited to announce our plans for expansion in Asia, focusing on key markets such as Singapore, Thailand, and South Korea in the next fiscal year. These regions present significant opportunities for growth due to their vibrant, dynamic consumer bases that are open to new and premium drinking experiences. In addition to our expansion plans in Asia, we are also gearing up to start supplying our products to the Middle East during the current fiscal year. The Middle Eastern market offers a unique opportunity to cater to a diverse and affluent consumer base that appreciates premium and authentic spirits,”​ said Royerr.

Riding the cocktail wave

Ochre Spirits products are curated for conscious consumers and cocktail enthusiasts alike. Furthermore, with a growing trend towards health and wellness, many consumers prefer natural ingredients and lower-sugar options in their beverages. Royerr said his team is constantly reimagining alcohol, presenting alternatives with reduced calories, lower alcohol content, and a range of complex flavour profiles.

“Our use of real fruits and natural flavours aligns perfectly with their preferences for cleaner and more transparent product offerings. For cocktail enthusiasts, Ochre Spirits provides the ideal base for creating unique and flavourful drinks. The prominent flavours from the spirits themselves eliminate the need for sugary soft drinks or added sugar in cocktails, appealing to both conscious individuals and those who enjoy crafting high-quality, innovative cocktails at home or in social settings,”​ said Royerr.

Ochre Spirits currently offers eight flavoured spirits. Its gin comes in saffron, rose & raspberry, and kiwi & pear; the vodka is available in berry, peach & cherry, and apricot & plum; there is also nutty berry rum and citrus punch rum.

Royerr also detected a noticeable shift towards premiumisation in the alcohol market. Since consumers are willing to spend more on high-quality, authentic products, he finds it beneficial to focus on delivering premium spirits with superior flavours, natural aromas, and a smooth drinking experience.

Natural ingredients for a premium experience

Ochre Spirits aims to offer a range that is steeped in local charm but also appealing to consumers outside of India. To do so, Royerr and his team conducted research on consumers’ experiences with various alcohols to figure out what they like, and they identified these areas to focus on.

Firstly, only real fruits are used for maceration. This infuses the spirits with rich, natural fruity flavours and natural aromas. A variety of fruits are sourced from different parts of India, and berries are imported from renowned international suppliers to further enhance the unique flavour profiles of the spirits. This combination of domestic and imported ingredients is what differentiates Ochre Spirits from other brands.

Secondly, many consumers feel that spirits are harsh on the palate. The smoothness of spirits is influenced by factors such as the quality of ingredients, the distillation process, and alcohol content. Distillers aiming for a smoother alcohol focus on high-quality base spirits, and careful crafting techniques. Ochre Spirits alcohols are crafted to be less harsh and much smoother on the palate. This makes them more enjoyable to drink, whether sipped neat or mixed in a cocktail, providing a refined drinking experience.

Marketing efforts and future plans

Royerr considers the alcohol industry rather crowded. Brands that focus on classic spirits like vodka and gin pose a challenge due to their established market presence and loyal customer base, and those that offer flavoured spirits are direct competitors. Smaller craft and boutique brands that emphasise unique, high-quality ingredients and innovative flavours are also part of the competitive landscape, as they often attract a similar audience looking for premium and artisanal products.

To attract a younger, more adventurous audience that values authenticity and quality, Ochre Spirits’ marketing efforts are tailored to resonate with Gen Z and Millennials, leveraging social media platforms and influencer partnerships to build brand loyalty and awareness.

Founded in 2023, Ochre Spirits is fast expanding in India, with large retail liquor stores and hypermarkets carrying its spirits. It will also be expanding into the duty-free market and Canteen Stores Department owned by the India’s Ministry of Defence, making Ochre Spirits accessible to travellers and military personnel.

By the end of 2024, it will unveil a portfolio that boasts diverse spirits, encompassing categories like whisky, brandy, and agave spirits.

“Our journey began with the recognition of a significant gap in the market for high-quality spirits that did not rely on sugary mixers to deliver flavour. We intend to keep a good momentum going by continuously innovating and introducing new flavours and limited-edition releases keeping our product line fresh and exciting. This will help in maintain consumer interest and will set us apart from brands that might stick to traditional flavours,”​ said Royerr.

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