Distribution, Scale, Experiments, and everything in between! Here’s what July looked like at BONOMI
For a company that’s just about two years old, and one that’s growing and changing everyday, there’s much to learn as we take this journey one step at a time.
When it comes to the month of July, if there’s three words that describe Armaan’s month, they are: “distribution, distribution, distribution.” For him, the month has been about focusing on scaling the business, building the blocks that matter, including and especially the partnerships with trade outlets, and with bars and pubs that now proudly present BONOMI on the menu.
The biggest highlight for Armaan definitely came from that scale, and the conviction that the route we’ve taken to grow the BONOMI family. “With the partners we’ve onboarded, our goal of hitting X in terms of scale is only a few weeks away, and as a function of that, I believe we can even hit 3x by the end of the year, within the current capacity of production and as of people.” However, the one thing he knows is that within the cold brew coffee business, “acquisition without retention is always a burn business” and he hopes that the trend of people enjoying and consuming cold brew coffee continues.
Vardhman, on the other hand, had a July he’d love to learn and move on from, with his three words of choice being “consistency, experimentation, and disappointment.” It’s always hard to try something and see it not work out, particularly with a new method of bettering the existing cold brew coffee, which was also user tested.
“It seems really easy, from the outside, to say that it’s a beverage as a product, that’s easy to crack. but when you’re in the process, and you try everything from everyone’s suggestions,sometimes, nothing works,” he said. But the key in all of this lies in persistence and consistently showing up to do better, which he’s glad that the production team has been able to match up.
Where disappointments in the results may have existed, Vardhman also feels like he got to realise a dream through the collaboration with Arbor Brewing Company, which led to the launch of the Espresso Love Coffee Stout in August, but the process occupied much of July. And he’s just as glad that while the cold brew coffee is being well received across the board, him and the team have also been able to keep up with the demands of the scale the brand is now driving.
Vardhman recalls, “It wasn’t easy to adjust to, though. When we brewed our biggest batch so far, the first of its kind, we were all very nervous. How will it turn out? Can we take the capacity? Will the loss percentage increase? But it managed to surpass our expectations, and we’re glad we can support the sales and marketing functions with higher capacity.”
Not only is the scale a challenge for the team to now consistently meet and beat, Armaan and Vardhman believe that what they also need to work towards is continually finding alignment within the team to meet the larger goals, especially since July is the month where BONOMI has been in the best shape it’s been in, since the company was founded.
Where do they see themselves in August? Only time, and another newsletter, will tell.
The Brew Gone By…
For us, the most crucial way to bring more people into the fold and make them a part of The Brew Crew is through events and tastings. After all, the only way one can truly know they enjoy cold brew coffee is when they try it, right? Whether it’s been tastings at offices, where many companies such as Ultrahuman and Shopflo got #Brewed, or events and flea markets where we meet a wide variety of folks and gauge their interest in coffee the way we like it — it’s a delightful ground for learnings, and to make new friends, while meeting some good old champions too.
We ended the month of July on a high note with a two-day long experiment at Namu Recommends Vegan Market in Indiranagar, Bangalore. Meeting a very niche set of users, who champion vegan values and are keen on finding healthier, cleaner alternatives for their diet, was a joyful experience.
Our cold brew coffees, which are also vegan and gluten-free, were quite the hit, with folks telling us how unique they find the flavours, and how eager they were to try more! Our favourite moments came from people who came back for seconds, and thirds, and from folks who came to us because someone they knew recommended BONOMI to them as the ideal beverage!
We thoroughly enjoyed interacting with other brands and stall owners, particularly as we took our cold brew coffees to them as their caffeine fix so they could do their thing, and also sampled some of the coolest and newest brands in the mix. Needless to say, we are not only glad to be ending July on a high with this event, but also looking forward to more!
As part of our flavoured cold brew coffees on offer, we launched our Cinnamon Cold Brew Coffee at the start of the month, and what a joyride this has been! From bringing Christmas cheer early to some of our most loyal users, to having multiple folks #CommitACin to win a case of our cold brew coffees, it was an exciting release, to say the least.
And this was also a learning experience for our production team, particularly with Food Technologist Avanija and Chief Brewer and Co-Founder Vardhman trying to find the best way to bring cinnamon into the fold.
Over the last year, Vardhman has worked to add spices to his coffee. The spices he started with? Star anise and cinnamon.
In the production and testing phases, Vardhman and Avanija chose to try various methods of adding cinnamon to our cold brew coffee. Their initial attempt was to flavour it by infusing cinnamon sticks into the brewing process, but it didn’t produce as intense and discernible taste as when they added cinnamon powder to the mix.
And that’s what you taste today, when you take a sip of the cinnamon cold brew coffee — all natural cinnamon powder brewed with our Arabica beans, steeped over 24 hours. Vardhman was also incredibly keen to try an all-natural substance to flavour the coffee, to celebrate the natural goodness of the cinnamon. And, safe to say, it worked!
Brew of the Month
We cannot let the month go by without celebrating the cold brew coffee that’s been our biggest win for July. And that’s our classic cold brew coffee. What’s cool about it, you ask? Well, the coffee purist that Vardhman is, he knew that the classic cold brew coffee, which is made with nothing but coffee beans, water, and time, needed to be a cut above. And so, we chose to elevate the recipe by using beans from the prized Ratnagiri Estate, which was also the star of our last speciality cold brew coffee launch! The fruity and floral notes of the coffee elevate the seemingly basic classic cold brew coffee, and that’s what you taste in every new batch you buy!