“Nobody will believe more in you and your product than you. You have to have a vision of your company and carry it out”, said Anshuman Vohra, founder of Bulldog Gin, at the 2nd session of the ESADE EMBA Update & Connections cycle, held on the 7th of July.
Anshuman Vohra was sure that gin had a lot of market potential and that he would do his utmost to make sure the beverage reached bars and households around the world.
His father made the young Anshuman his first Gin & Tonic. Anshuman loved the taste and years later he was irked when he discovered that nobody asked for gin in bars. By contrast, the shelves of bars brimmed with over twenty brands of vodka. He simply could not understand why customers did not drink gin in bars and restaurants.
After several years of working in a merchant bank, Vohra decided the moment had come to set up his own company. Gin and Tonic was a remarkable drink, it only remained to convince the rest of the world. “My generation saw gin as the spirit of a bygone age. It was vodka that was the ‘in’ drink. ”. He began organising blind tastings of vodka and discovered that people could not distinguish between brands — all vodkas tasted more or less the same. Yet when he asked drinkers what their favourite brand of vodka was, people had very strong views. Everyone had one or two brands that they considered better than all the rest and that they would not change for anything. The key lay in the emotional link consumers had forged with brands. By contrast, gin did have a distinctive taste: each brand’s mixture of ingredients made it unique. If Anshuman could create a great-tasting gin and forge an emotional bond between consumers and the brand, he would score a great hit. He was convinced he could pull it off.
It was then that Vohra began his arduous quest for the perfect product. He spoke with entrepreneurs for hours and was fascinated by their energy. All of them had one thing in common: they were passionate about their ideas and were ready to back them up to the hilt because they were utterly convinced that they would work. After an endless search, he finally found a London distillery that was capable of creating the gin of his dreams but that was not to be found in the market — a perfect combination of cereals, cardamon and spices.
At last in 2006, what had started as an idea at last became a product. He had managed to create a gin for the new world, breaking down the barriers of those who saw gin as ‘old-fashioned’ and a tipple for their grandparents. Vohra knew that not everyone would like Bulldog Gin but those that did would become true fans.
“The best idea in the world is worthless if it is carried out badly”, concluded Anshuman Vohra at the end of the session. The talk was part of the EMBA Update & Connections cycle, which provides valuable lessons for today’s business on key subjects and gives all Executive MBA cohorts the chance to pool their experience.