This women-driven artisanal syrup label is cultivating a timely, DIY cocktail culture
Desi cocktail culture took a huge blow amid the shutdown and millennials have been re-creating their go-to cocktails at home. Staples like gomme syrups or flavoured vermouths may have been particularly hard to source, and that’s exactly why Bengaluru-based all-natural syrup label Swa Artisanal Syrups found such a great footing amid desi drinkers.
“We were only supplying our syrups to third-wave coffee roasters, luxury hotels and restaurants, we had just sent our first order to The Bombay Canteen right before the pandemic hit. But we started working on the business-to-consumer (B2C) model after the shutdown began as people would constantly ask us where they could buy our syrups to make cocktails or cold brews at home. That’s when we started learning about how useful the line-up could be for the DIY culture that’s growing,” Vaishali Mehta, the founder of Swa Artisanal Syrups tells us.
The brand is earning a lot of cred for its all-natural, small batch syrups made of fresh, whole fruits and herbs. We spoke to Vaishali to explore the brand further:
Tell us how you got your start
We started as a cold press juicery in 2016, but it didn't quite pan out the way we had imagined. I visited a microbrewery and we got to talking about how they could use our juices in their liquor, because I was honestly frustrated with the kind of cocktails we had back then. They had a mixologist who only used natural ingredients for his cocktails and loved our idea, that’s how it began.
Since juices weren’t a scalable business model, we figured natural syrups were the way to go, because their shelf life is longer as it’s more concentrated, and more versatile. I think we are the only brand doing all-natural syrups in the country right now.
All the products are made by women…
Yes, we are a women-driven organisation, and we were able to retain all our staff even amid the Covid crisis, because for us, it’s really about our value system which is led by our focus on sustainability. It flows through everything that we do, be it the quality of ingredients or work ethic. And at times it’s hard because some of our clients still haven’t paid us since all the restaurants are shut. We are a small team consisting of eight women, we do have partners and consultants who are men, but women are such powerhouses and it’s really about working with like-minded people who get our vision.
What are some of your bestsellers?
Hibiscus tea syrups, Jamun Kala Khatta, seasonal fruit-based syrups are doing well. We are also looking to start a sugar-free line-up.
Tell us a little about your clientele
It’s heartwarming to see so many repeat customers, especially since we started selling through the website only a month and a half ago. We have a diverse customer base, we have buyers who are 26 and up, then there are women who are above sixty who want to try newer things, since our syrups are also usable in iced teas or for baking.