Start-Up Stories – HappyDown
HappyDown are taking the market by storm with their innovative craft beverages. We spoke to Paritosh Bhandari, the founder of HappyDown to get into the nitty gritty of start-up life: From maintaining quality to managing relationships with suppliers.
What is HappyDown?
We’re the UK’s 1st, and global award-winning Premixed Craft Canned Cocktails!
What makes you guys different from the big names in the alcohol market?
We were probably the first ones in the category to understand and imbibe the growing consumer preferences around Health and Wellness, Sustainability, Low Calorie etc. Unlike other global biggies, we use 100% natural flavours, have zero preservatives, are gluten Free and vegan, and have no added sugar in our scrummy drinks.
“What differentiates us from the pack is the fact that we haven’t compromised taste for niceties.”
We’ve got exotic flavour combinations that appeal to the new age drinker (Raspberry Pomegranate infused with Basil; Lemon Cucumber infused with Mint and Lychee Guava infused with Chilli). Instead of spirits, we use fortified wine as a base for our premixed cocktails and the drink comes in craft style 330ML cans that are bold and vibrant and not really boring craft.
You guys have created a Christmas Gin, what does it taste like? How did you go about creating it?
Extending our tradition of craft and innovation, we wanted to develop a seasonal product that would resonate well with the consumer expectations around the forthcoming season. And what better than a Gin that is truly ‘Spirit of Christmas in a Bottle’. We’ve handcrafted our Limited-Edition Christmas Gin in ultra small batches and have hand-labelled it. It’s a juniper led Gin that is nicely infused with spices like Cinnamon, Clove and Nutmeg. We have also given it a slight hint of secret festive flavours. The moment you take a sip, you’re transported into a zone where Christmas celebrations are being enjoyed amidst friends and family.
How do you maintain the quality of the product from creation to customer?
“Quality for us is ‘Job No. 1’ and we have never compromised or cut corners there.”
Be it working with world’s best flavour houses or producing it in top notch global facilities or using natural ingredients of the highest quality, we’ve kept a very high bar for ourselves on the product front. And that’s probably the reason we’ve received global accolades for our blends (Silver at Global Premix Masters; Silver at International Wine and Spirits Competition; 4 on 5 independent rating by Daily Mail, etc).
How did you go about finding/starting relationships with suppliers? How do you manage them?
We are reasonably networked in the drinks industry and understand key nuances around working with top quality suppliers and vendors. As maintaining a relationship is a two-way street, we strive towards cementing long term partnerships that are mutually beneficial to both parties in the long run. We’re hardworking, ethical and value integrity and that reflects in the relationships we nurture with our suppliers, some of them are big global companies.
If you could give some advice to other budding entrepreneurs, what would it be?
- Have a solid point of differentiation v/s others in the market.
- Understand your consumer and their changing preferences.
- Work hard and be resilient.
- Be sufficiently funded as lack of monies can ruin your growth plans.
- Don’t be shy of pivoting if your original strategy isn’t yielding requisite results.
“If it were only one piece of advice, I’d say: Be absolutely knowledgeable, be passionate, work damn hard and be resilient.”
In your opinion, what’s one skill someone would need to have in order to thrive in a start-up environment?
Where can people find your awesome drinks?
www.happydown.co.uk; Amazon, Ocado
What’s next for HappyDown?
We have some exciting NPDs coming in Spirits, Premixes and Non-Alcoholic drinks domain. We’re also expanding our network beyond the UK this year. There’s also a thrust on profitable growth going forward.