Beverage Industry Entrepreneur Discusses Innovation In Recession

Sarbjot Johal come into this space with innovative techniques to challenge these established brands

By Srivatsa KR


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The lucrative global beverage industry is a competitive space. A report released by AP News in 2021 shows the drinks industry is currently worth $1.5 trillion and is expected to grow at an annual rate of 3.1 per cent, reaching $1.8 trillion by 2024. Unsurprisingly, the top slots in this space are held by monopolies that have been in business for hundreds of years. Renowned brands such as PepsiCo, Coca-Cola, Diageo, Anheuser-Busch InBev, and Heineken control around 70 per cent of the global market share. This is not always a bad thing as it means people can be confident in their product's quality and reliability. Nonetheless, it's refreshing to see new entrepreneurs such as 20-year-old Sarbjot Johal come into this space with innovative techniques to challenge these established brands.

Johal is the founder of Vitanic Holdings Limited, a non-alcoholic beverage company based in Birmingham, England. One of the brand's signature drinks is the Vitanic Grape Cocktail 0.0% Alc, an exquisite, alcohol-free, and vegan-friendly beverage. In April 2021, Vitanic Holdings Limited acquired Lovely Drinks, an award-winning soft drinks company based in Somerset, just outside Bristol.

These impressive achievements might make you believe that Johal's path was always smooth. The self-made multi-millionaire says nothing could be further from the truth. Johal was born in Gravesend, Kent, to an immigrant Sikh family in 2002. He started working as a construction worker alongside his farther at a young age of 13 to improve his family's circumstances, his entrepreneurial wit and dedication for a better future led him to establish his first company in construction at the age of 15. As Johal's situation had improved, his ambitions and priorities had changed. His dream was to create a revolutionary, high-quality product that would solve consumers' needs. That is exactly what he did, at 17 Johal orchestrated the formulation and development of his first product, the Vitanic Grape Cocktail 0.0% Alc.

Immediately after launching, stock began flying off the shelves, thanks to its unique composition and celebrity endorsements. The Vitanic Grape offers a realistic replacement for alcohol without losing its luxurious and elegant look. What's more, it's the world's first cocktail to contain vitamins, including B2, B3, B6, and B12.

Johal highlighted, "One of our greatest difficulties was selling premium products in a time of recession and economic fear to the smaller customers. They were finding it hard to stock high-quality products since consumers were not willing to pay higher prices for everyday products. To overcome this we came up with an innovative plan by taking all production in-house and to start our own distribution service, this allowed us to cut middle parties and meant we could offer trade customers wholesale prices. Trade customers are now making higher margins than ever and consumers buy our lovely products at affordable prices."

With senior directors Harjit Singh and Kuljeet Singh Momi of JKM Developers partnering in Vitanic Holdings Limited, Johal asserts he's ready to continue his expansion plans to displace bigger players from the top slots. Lovely Drinks is already replacing various drinks companies in major hospitality outlets around the globe by offering competitive prices and same-day delivery in major cities. Johal is not stopping there. Vitanic Holdings Limited was recently given the green light to begin construction on their largest distribution plant in India, from where they distribute to all major eastern countries. Johal says the company is on track to surpass a £1 billion valuation by Q3 2025.

Srivatsa KR

Start-up enthusiast & Blogger

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