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Kaapi-ing It Local: Quaffine, India’s First Homegrown Cold Brew Coffee Liqueur

  • Name of the Product/ Brand: Quaffine
  • Instagram: @quaffineliqueur
  • Company Name: Indie Brews & Spirits
  • Co-founders: Isaac Vivek Mani and Olson Pereira
  • Instagram:@isaac.vivek and @eye_of_a_bartender

It’s not every day that one hears of premium quality liqueur produced in India. Industry experts rely mainly on imported liqueurs for their quality and consistency. Enter Quaffine, India’s answer to a homegrown premium liqueur that is steeped in all things Indian yet at par with global standards!

Quaffine is the brainchild of Isaac Vivek Mani and Olson Pereira who took it upon themselves to close the gap in the premium liqueur category in the dynamic Indian alco-bev scene. Launched under Indie Brews & Spirits in Goa, Quaffine is a cold brew coffee liqueur made using 100% Arabica beans sourced from a single estate in Chikmaglur, roasted medium-dark and steeped in water for 12 to 24 hours prior to processing. Why coffee liqueur? Because Olson fell in love with filter coffee from Tamil Nadu many moons ago. Plus, as industry veterans themselves, Isaac and Olson wanted to create a premium product that Indian bartenders can count on to create top-quality cocktails!

Olson Pereira
Isaac Vivek Mani

At roughly 200-210 cases per batch, Quaffine currently is a small-batch liqueur as it “allows far better control on the quality and our output”, says Olson. The steeped cold brew is mixed with spirit and sugar (added in batches) to ensure the liqueur is coffee-forward as well as homogenous. Quaffine is one of the few Indian liqueurs that goes through a decent amount of resting period. Once the liquor is married, it is rested for 5-6 days to allow for maturation. Bottling follows next and the batch is rested for another 15 days before it is ready to be shipped.

The product development was not without its share of challenges but the co-founders count themselves lucky to have created a startup-like environment where they encourage each other. “Anything to do with the product, from liquid to labels, to stoppers, everything would be signed off by Olson. My job, as the alcohol-bev strategist/marketer, is to take care of the paperwork, funding, licensing, etc.” shares Isaac.

Unlike traditional liqueurs, Quaffine is a versatile coffee liqueur – it can be consumed as a shot, on the rocks, as an espresso martini. To bring such a versatile product in the market, Quaffine’s co-founders focused only on setting up a wide distribution network for the first 1.5 years. While social media and digital platforms emerge as valuable channels to market the product, Isaac and Olson also accord equal focus to sampling, a time-tested formula to build a connection with consumers in the alcohol industry.

What’s next for the duo? Indie Brews & Spirits hopes to build a portfolio of brands and products to solidify their position as a serious player in the industry. “By the time its the third year of production, we want to be in at least six states in India and about two or three countries internationally with a portfolio of five to six brands, including sub brands”, shares Olson.

Priced at Rs 1,850/- Quaffine is only available in Goa with plans to expand soon to Bengaluru, Mumbai, Pune and Delhi. Internationally, Quaffine is available in Bangkok with plans to expand to other regions.

– Nagwa Kureshi