Range of Parle Agro Products before being sold to Coca-Cola

Indian beverage brand names can help you take a walk down memory lane.  Thums Up, our very own thunder drink is now 40 years old. Launched in 1977 by the Parle Brothers, to offset the withdrawal of Coca-Cola from India, it was bought by Coca-Cola in 1993 and re-launched to compete with Pepsico. Thums Up’s market share at the time of its selling was 85%. It is still the largest selling cola.

Also read about India’s top alcohol brands

Here are 9 Indian Beverage Brand Stories:

1. Limca – it’s a drink, not just a book of records

8 Indian Beverage Brand Stories You Should Know About
Limca- 200 ml reusable glass bottle

Limca launched as a Parle Agro soft-drink brand, Limca was bought by Coca-Cola in 1993; along with Thums Up, Gold Spot, Citra, and Maaza. Of the brands bought, Limca, Maaza and Thums Up are popular household drinks to this day. Despite its huge popularity, Gold Spot was discontinued by the Coca-Cola Company to launch its own orange flavor brand- Fanta. Citra was phased out by the year 2000, to launch Coke’s international brand- Sprite. Limca however, continues to be one of the most favoured beverage brands in India. It also has its own book of records, which was launched by Ramesh Chauhan of Parle Agro and it continues to record feats and other unique statistics from an Indian perspective.

2. Rasna – remember the original DIY drink?

8 Indian Beverage Brand Stories You Should Know About
Rasna 90’s image

A soft-drink concentrate brand owned by Pioma Industries and based in Ahmedabad is India’s leading soft- drink concentrate brand. It was launched in 1976; however, it gained popularity during the eighties. Through the years Rasna has grown and expanded its outreach. It continues to be a trusted brand in Indian households. As of 2015, Rasna’s market share was 85%.

3. Duke’s – Mumbai’s favourite soft drink

8 Indian Beverage Brand Stories You Should Know About
Duke’s Drinks- Different flavour introduced by PepsiCo

An aerated soft-drink brand, found by Dinshwaji Pandole in 1889, Duke’s was a favourite soft-drink brand in Mumbai. This 129-year-old brand was bought by PepsiCo in 2011 and re-launched with three additional flavours apart from the original lemon flavor. Duke’s to this day, enjoys huge popularity in Mumbai and is now a symbol of Mumbai’s legacy.

4. Roohafza

Rooh Afza
Rooh Afza

Roohafza, is a non-alcoholic cooling drink formulated by a Unani physician called Hakim Abdul Majeed in 1906. The business grew and became the most sold product of Hamdard Company. Its earliest distributions were centred around Delhi. However, when one of Hakim Abdul Majeed’s sons migrated to Pakistan and started a Hamdard brand there. The company continues to have loyal customers, it has also launched several advertisements to lose out to the youth of the country. Despite stiff competition, the Hamdard group claims that Roohafza owns 42% of market shares and plans to double its sales by 2020.

(Looking for popular Indian alcohol brands? Here are our 5 picks and their brand stories.)

5. Kissan Squash – used to be owned by a brewery!

Kissan Squash- Range
Kissan Squash- Range

Introduced for British settlers in 1935, the Mitchell brothers set up Kissan’s first fruit processing unit in Bangalore in 1947. Kissan as a brand was bought by United Breweries in 1950 and sold to Hindustan Unilever in 1993. A household name, Kissan has meant innovation since the day of its inception. Kissan squash was a revolution when it was launched, however, this Indian beverage brand’s market has faced severe competition from other beverage brands like Rasna and Cola companies.

6. Frooti – an Indian fruit drink brand

Frooti- Living the Frooti Life
Frooti- Living the Frooti Life

Launched in 1985 in a green tetra pack, Frooti continues to be Parle-Agro’s popular fruit drink. Frooti was the first fruit drink to be available in a tetra pack or in a pet bottle. Despite facing stiff competition from Mazaa and Slice, Frooti continues to be the second most popular Indian beverage brand with a market share of around 25% (as of 2016).

7. Bovonto a top soft drink from Tamil Nadu

Bovonto
Bovonto

P.V.S.K. Palaniappa Nadar launched Bovonto in 1958, in Virudhunagar. Over the years this Indian beverage brand has battled the popularity and aggressive marketing of Spencer’s, Parle, and MNCs. Bovonto has held on to its market of loyal customers and in an INR 100 crore company. In the recent years, the company has modernized itself and re-launched itself as ‘KALIS SPARKLING WATER PVT.LTD’ at Madurai.

8. Keventers – making Kolkata childhoods sweeter

Keventers' Milkshake: New Designed Bottles
Keventers’ Milkshake: New Designed Bottles

Founded by Edward Keventers in the early 1900s as Aligarh Daily Farm, this Indian beverage brand name became synonymous to good quality milk in Delhi in 1925 when the brand opened a shop front in Chanakyapuri, Delhi. The ownership of the company changed hands in 1940 when Ram Krishna Dalmia took over the reins of the Company. The brand expanded its bases to as far as Kolkata. In 1960, Keventers was the first to produce milk powder. It also was the first to provide milk powder to the Indian Army. It also came up with milkshakes which became the pride of Delhi. However, with the development of Chanakyapuri as the diplomatic zone, the Keventers milk factory was closed, although several small outlets continued with the brand name. In 2015 Agastya Dalmia, the great-grandson of Ram Krishna Dalmia along with his friend decided to reconstruct the brand. Keventers since then has outlets in all metros and upcoming cities, even small state capitals like Ranchi and aims to cover all parts of India.

9. Campa Cola – evergreen Coke alternative

In the mid 70s, Coca Cola departed India after regulations became unfavourable.  Campa Cola was launched as an alternative and achieved immense success upon its launch. With a refreshing taste and clever marketing campaigns – including one with a young Salman Khan – it quickly gained a loyal customer base. 

Campa Cola faced a decline in the 90s with the re-entry of Pepsi and Coke. Despite its prior success, intense competition from these global giants led to a loss of market share and consumer preference, causing Campa Cola’s downfall.

In 2023 it is back – relaunched under the ownership of Reliance! Remains to be seen whether it can outcompete them. 

Indian Beverage Brands to Look Out For:

Smoodies: With no added sugar or preservatives and sold in glass bottles, this is an alternative to freshly pressed juices.  Appeals to the health seeking customer. 

PaperBoat- Range of Drinks
PaperBoat- Range of Drinks

PaperBoat: Launched in 2013 with just two flavours, PaperBoat has entered the homes and hearts of many Indians. This is truly an Indian brand with flavours like Aamras, Aampanna, golgappe ka pani etc the brand has established itself as the harbinger of the customer’s nostalgic childhood. It has a strong connection with every Indian who misses home-cooked food in their adult life. The brand has grown consistently, with launching products like chikki and tea.

In 2022 Hector Beverages, the parent company of Paper Boat, secured INR 400 Cr ($50.1 Mn) from Lathe Investment Pte Ltd, which is wholly owned by Singapore-based sovereign fund GIC.

Paper Boat leverages nostalgia to evoke an emotional appeal, evident in their range of ethnic-flavored Indian drinks and packaging messages. This strategy allows Paper Boat to establish a profound connection with its audience. Packaging helps with differentiating with a unique spout pouch. 

 

8 Indian Beverage Brand Stories You Should Know About
Patanjali Ayurvedic Juices- Aloe Vera

Patanjali Juices: No discussion about popular Indian beverage brands could be completed without Patanjali which has a range of fruit squash, aloe vera juice, neem juice and so on. The brand has grown exponentially since the day of its inception, with many customers depending on its ayurvedic and natural product branding.

Svami Drinks:

Foxtrot Beverages Pvt. Ltd a progressive drinks company makes the Svami range of tonic water and non-alcoholic pre-mixed drinks.  With their own recipe they can control quality of the core offering – tonic water.  However the non-alcoholic premixes will act as a differentiator and allow them to expand and defend their position.  The key ingredient of tonic water is quinine which led to an (unproven) belief in its efficacy against COVID-19.  One wonders if that helped sales 🙂

Soft drink brands around the world:

While it seems like the beverage market is owned by US brands, countries continue to have local favourites. 

One soft drink brand that originated in Singapore is Yeo’s founded in 1900. They produce a wide range of refreshing drinks, including fruit juices, tea, and canned drinks.  There’s also F&N that started life as “Fraser & Neave”.  Indonesia has “Sosro.” Established in 1940, Sosro is known for its iconic bottled jasmine tea, which quickly became a favorite among Indonesian consumers.  Australia has Bundaberg.

Schweppes claims to have started the category with tonic water way back in 1783!

QUIZ TIME! India's Home-grown Sodas (and other soft drinks) - Quiz

Now that you know all about India’s top beverages, take the quiz on our top soda brands!

Also read: Vocal for Local – how can India develop its own brands

 

14 COMMENTS

  1. Where is Sosyo?? it is surely one of the oldest indian cola brands and an integral part of the swadeshi movement.

  2. I would also recommend Bejois, natural fruit juice available in tetrapack to the above list. This product too has been in the market for decades and has built a great fan base and brand identity. This energy drink includes Energy 50 KCal, Protein, Fat, Carbohydrate, Sugar, and Vitamin C. Guys if you have not tried yet, check out in the market and taste once. I bet you will never regret. It’s worth the money

  3. This is really interesting, You are a very skilled blogger.
    I have joined your rss feed and look forward to seeking more
    of your great post. Also, I have shared your website in my social networks!

  4. A red colored concentrated squash/drink which was found in
    most of the households during the 90s and early 2000s. (total 9-
    4 leers,1 space, 4 leers)

  5. All of these are unfortunately discontinued or running in small area, there was one amazing drink in calcutta called ‘MILKOS’, tastes like vanilla kesar, was better then starbucks, seriously good, but now available in just 1 or 2 shops in calcutta

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