Ramesh Chauhan, fondly remembered as the Cola King, having created soft drinks brands such as Thums Up among others before selling them to Coca-Cola two decades ago, is entering the niche but fast growing energy drinks market in India. Chauhan's company Bisleri, synonymous with packaged drinking water in the country, is launching Urzza, a non-caffeine energy drink in India next week.
The product will be priced at around Rs 50 and will come in PET bottles, as against the industry norm of selling such drinks through cans.
The energy drinks market is dominated by Austrian giant Red Bull, which is estimated to lord over with around 85 per cent of the value market share.
A number of players have tried to tried to break into the market for energy drinks including some backed by PE firms such as Hector Beverages, which counts Sequoia Capital as an investor.
What puts Bisleri's attempt more serious is its distribution reach with its mineral water business.
Chauhan is going all the way to make it an aggressive attempt and has set an internal target of drawing as much as 8 per cent of group's volumes from Urzza in the first year of launch.
He is also trying to position as a mass market brand and intends to sell the product through various modes including mom and pop stores, groceries, modern and high-end traditional trade.
While its pricing is much more competitive compared to Red Bull, it would be dearer compared to Hector Beverages' Tzinga.
According to a previous industry report by Euromonitor International, the size of the energy drinks market is pegged at Rs 500 crore (excluding sports drinks) and is growing at a juicy rate of 45 per cent.
Besides Red Bull, the market also has Goldwin Healthcare’s Cloud 9, Tzinga and other brands like XXX (a product of Viking Ventures), which recently roped in adult entertainment star Sunny Leone for endorsing the brand, and Burn, the recently launched product by Coca-Cola. The cola giant had launched another energy drink product in India over a decade ago, but it did not click.