Wild Tiger: The upstart alcohol brand that wants to become India's … – Quartz

Gautom Menon had a dream. He wanted to tell the story of an Indian rum. A native of Kerala, living in Coimbatore, Menon was thrust into the family liquor business in 2006, owing to his dad’s illness, and the company had just launched its own herbal rum. But Menon’s heart wasn’t really in it. This wasn’t the story he sought.

He spent the next eight years attending drinks events across the world, getting to know the rum community, and got himself a couple of Masters degrees and invaluable experience in sales in Mumbai. That time was also spent tasting more than 500 rums in laboratories and the family distillery, before he zeroed in on a taste profile he liked. He called it Wild Tiger Rum, and, billing it as India’s first premium rum, launched it in February 2016 in the UAE, the US, and Denmark.

“I did quite a bit of research and I was amazed to know that (the) origin of rum traces its roots to ancient India,” said Menon, 35. “We have a centuries-old history of growing sugarcane. In fact, sugarcane spread from ancient India to the Caribbean.”

Yet, in all the trade fairs that Menon attended, the one country that was consistently conspicuous by its absence was India. Despite being the second-largest drinking demographic in the world, Menon realised that India didn’t have many recognisable global brands. He decided to “capture the spirit of India” in a bottle, creating a rum that deviated from the 100% molasses route traditionally followed in India, blending it instead with cane-juice spirit. The bottling and packaging are Menon’s way of paying tribute to India’s national animal, the endangered tiger. Taking the homage one step further, Menon also created the Wild Tiger Foundation, a non-governmental organisation that works towards tiger conservation

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