Junkies On a High

Coolberg founders on building India's first zero alcohol beverage company

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 PANKAJ ASWANI (30); YASHIKA KESWANI (29) CO-FOUNDERS, COOLBERG

Coolberg Beverages Pvt. Ltd.

Coolberg has been successfully building the category of Non-Alcoholic Beers over the last few years. Founders Pankaj Aswani and Yashika Keswani were exploring alternative options to existing Cola drinks. Drinks that are premium, trendy, and can become part of millennial’s lifestyles led to this Non-Alcoholic Beer’s origination. As India’s first Non-Alcoholic Beer it offers a variety of flavours from Original Beer Malt taste to sweet Cranberry, Ginger, Peach, etc. So far, the brand has served roughly over 2 to 3 million end users. Coolberg retails in around 25000 outlets in India making it an essential part of the lifestyle of consumers.

In 2019, the brand secured its Series-A round of investment from Singapore Based RB Investments, India VC firm India Quotient and few other individual investors. Going forward, it is looking to raise the Series B round in year 2021. Talking about building a brand in the time of the pandemic, Aswani says, “2020 started with a big bang for us, and numbers were going great in first two months. Covid brought the shop to a complete halt for two months. Our team was quite resilient and passed the phase with a strong mindset. We recovered faster than expected as one of our major sectors HoReCa was impacted significantly. The team shifted the focus on supermarkets and grocery stores which helped us to survive the pandemic and come to stability gradually.” As they start to expand in 2021 again, they are still a little away from break-even right now and aiming to achieve profitability in a year or two. Concluding the conversation on a high note, Aswani says, “We are now working towards increasing our brand coverage to at least 50,000 outlets as part of our next milestone.”

(This article was first published in the February 2021 issue of Entrepreneur Magazine. To subscribe, click here)