India is now becoming a fan of Gin and Tonic, seldom did we know that Tonic water originated in India. In 1825, when British soldiers stationed in India began mixing quinine with sugar, water, and gin to create an accidental malaria-fighting cocktail.
According to British newspapers, Fever-Tree’s launch in the Indian market was the equivalent of taking coals to Newcastle in 2014. At the time, India did not produce indigenous tonic water, despite the resurgence of gin throughout the world.
In recent times, the major consumption of tonic water is concentrated in the mass segment, and the leader in that segment is Schweppes Tonic Water, a brand owned by FMCG giant Coca-Cola. Schweppes was launched in India in the year 1999 and has since then penetrated almost all retail and HORECA points. Whether we look at tonic water availability during functions and weddings, hotels, modern trade, general trade, etc., it is all dominated by Schweppes tonic water. The Schweppes/Coca-Cola team has done an outstanding job in product placement, making it the number one selling tonic water brand in the market. This is changing rapidly, however. There have been a number of spirited Indian companies that have been creating high-quality tonic waters for the past two years, some already gaining attention in the international market.
Peer is one of these luxury tonic water brands. Peer launched its first tonic in India in October 2021, which included regular Indian Tonic, Mint Tonic, Bitter Lemon Tonic, and a zero-calorie, zero-sugar variant. Peer is the lowest calorie tonic water brand in India, with no artificial sweeteners, preservatives, or flavoring, and all-natural imported quinine. The brand is available in Delhi, Ludhiana, Chandigarh, Jalandhar, Amritsar, Dehradun, Mumbai, and Bangalore. The brand plans to invade the markets in Goa, Kolkata, and Chennai.
Peer plans to launch 2 new SKUs per year over the next 4 years in tonic water and related categories. The common factor across all these product types is the innovation and urge to cater to conscious adult consumers.
In every aspect of the product, from top-quality ingredients to solid glass bottles that can sustain the right level of carbonation, Peer uses superior ingredients.
By choosing not to use PET/plastic bottles, exploring more ways to become eco-friendly, and identifying the sustainability issues they want to tackle, it is obvious that they wish to make a positive difference. The company will donate 5% of profits every year to well-meaning NGOs and activists as well as form its own CSR department.
The brand has been growing at an average of 70% month-on-month since launch and in 3 years’ time, Peer will be 50x of its current revenue. Peer’s tonic water is currently available across 130 points of sale in 8 cities. By the end of 2022 the brand is expected to be available across 750 points of sale in 20 cities, and 5,000 points of sale in 50 cities by the end of 2025.
The new Indian Tonic water brand Peer has already captured a 10-15% share of the sales volume in the premium tonic water category in select modern trade stores. The brand aims to capture a 45% share of the total premium tonic water market in India by 2025.