In an exclusive interaction, Mohit Bhagchandani, Founder, 7 Ink Brews and Copter 7, speaks about how he aims for his brand to evokes the same kind of emotion and fervor in consumers that sport evokes in sports lovers, the challenges he faced while entering the alco-Bev industry, how he has expanded and scaled business and how 7 Ink Brews collaborated with MS Dhoni for Copter 7.
Mohit began his career in sports management in the late 90s. Within a few months of joining, he became the Head of Operations at Procam where he worked closely on numerous sporting events.
He then moved to Total Sports Asia where he was awarded Best Employee pan-Asia. The exposure on rights management, brand licensing and sponsorships of various global platforms like WWE, US Open Tennis, Formula 1 and more gave him a whole new perspective on the business.
He has also worked in key roles and headed the sports management divisions at various agencies like Mudra, Percept, and Transstadia.
How and why did you set up 7Ink Brews?
7inkBrews was set up with the vision of creating iconic brands from India and taking it to the world. Brands that have a strong story, a strong focus and are genuinely aimed at inspiring and engaging with the consumers.
Over the years, we have all been inspired by major international brands and a lot of these have been built on strong sporting platforms.
Sport is in our DNA and we wanted that to reflect in everything we do, starting with foods and beverages. This is what makes our brands that much more exciting.
What are some of the challenges you faced when entering the alco-bev industry, and how did you overcome them?
While the beer industry in India is fast evolving and growing, it is also extremely competitive and has its own set of challenges and regulations. On the other side, the artisanal chocolate segment is also niche and new.
Setting up anything from scratch is always difficult and brand of this magnitude also has its own set of challenges. It has taken us many years to put this together and finally get our products on the shelves.
Further, the whole COVID situation has led to tremendous delays, operational challenges and created market uncertainty. COVID impacted our Launch plans, our production cycles went for a toss and we have all also been personally affected in some way or another.
Despite the odds, we are focussing on the opportunity and have stuck to our plans with a few necessary adjustments. Having missed the seasons, we have still gone ahead and are certain that the effort will eventually bear the desired results.
Since its launch, how has the brand grown?
Today, we are present in multiple cities like Mumbai, Goa, Pune, Bengaluru and will soon be available in mass markets like UP, Haryana, Maharashtra among others. This in itself has been quite an achievement as the second wave of COVID hit us just as we launched. Our focus has been on building trade and ensuring retail visibility.
With the current restrictions which have affected the pubs and restaurants, our brand building exercises on these platforms have also been limited which is something we will focus on once the market is fully functional.
7Ink Brews launched Copter7 in April 2021. How have the people responded to this new offering?
The response has been good for the chocolates and beers alike and the demand is consistently growing. On the chocolate front, we are using the best of home-grown ingredients from bean to bar.
Similarly, on the beers, we have used the best of ingredients and the lagers (both mild and strong) have unique characteristics as they are a blend of commercial and craft beers. This differentiation has been received well.
What was the thought behind the artisanal chocolates, beers inspired by MS Dhoni?
Sport is a vibrant Platform that connects all kinds of People and hence creating the brand was that much more exciting. There are numerous sporting legends and celebrities that have brands, but in many the connect with the audience is missing.
The name copter is a good name for a brand and is also taken from the iconic helicopter shot and 7 being the Jersey number of MSD and other legends in sport. It was a beautiful fit and this approach is what makes our brand story unique.
Having worked with him before and numerous other icons, there is an understanding of how sporting legends of that caliber think, and go about things which makes them what they are. It is this thought process, which is intrinsic to us, our approach and our vision for the brand.
Hence there was a synergy and MSD believed in our vision. While he is a shareholder in 7ink brews, he is also the brand ambassador for our artisanal chocolates. All brands under Copter7 share this common DNA of being inspired by Sport.
How has Dhoni’s association, both in product likeness and as a shareholder and ambassador of Copter7, helped the brand?
One of the challenges for any brand is the awareness and reach. It takes a lot of effort and investment to create a strong awareness.
With an ambassador like MSD, his tremendous fan-base helps us overcome certain barriers and the differentiation of the brand being built around the icon only adds to that. Further his association and involvement also add to the brand integrity and promise.
Where is Copter7 currently distributed? Where will you be distributing it next?
Currently Copter7 products are available in Mumbai, Pune, Goa, and Bangalore.Over the next few months, the second phase of launch will be followed by UP, Haryana, Jharkhand, Punjab and Chandigarh. We also have plans to take the brand international, starting with markets like the UAE and Singapore among others soon.
What are your plans for expanding 7Ink Brew’s portfolio and new launches underway?
At the moment, we want to put all our efforts in aligning Copter7 with the goal we have envisioned to achieve. There are numerous Products, our excitement and ideas are endless. However, we have started with artisanal chocolate and beer and are soon entering the non-alcoholic beers segment soon there will be two flavours, both fruit-based.