Gruhas Gusto

How 3 Brothers from Pune Are Taking Onus Of The Indian Beverage Industry One Exotic Drink At A Time

Even with an annual growth rate of 13.63% and a market size of 51.33 billion litres, the beverages market in India is surprisingly understocked with brown pop, lemonade and mango-based drinks continuing to grasp a massive share of a market that is clearly parched for variety. 

Enter RIO InnoBev, a young beverage brand that focuses on delivering a range of new-age exotically flavoured drinks created to deliver an explosive assortment of taste for the parched Indian consumer. 

The entrepreneurial brainchild of brothers Rahul and Rajiv Sangoi, RIO Innobev was founded in 2011. Connected by their love of fitness and tinkering with beverages, the brothers were surprised to find a gap in the Indian market after a brief stint spent abroad. 

The collective need to break out of a routine family business and create something that was a healthier substitute to present offerings resulted in mildly carbonated infusions that were fruit-based, and created using honey as well as a burst of Vitamin C.  Despite the general scepticism of their ability to compete with giants like Pepsi and Coke, the Sangoi brothers believed that there was room for innovation and new flavours in the market.

With the addition of their cousin Rohan to the team, they launched their first brand, RIO Bubbly Fruit Drink, in Pune, soon followed by other exotic flavours: Wildberries, Blueberry Peach & Raw Mango dressed in eye-catching packaging and a competitive pricing rate.  

6 months of feedback, selling at collegiate level events paid off: RIO was available by demand at 500 outlets across Pune and since then the brand has not looked back. The company reached Mumbai in 2014, Gujarat in 2017 and Delhi in 2018. Sales skyrocketed from 6000 cases to 400,000 cases per annum, the employee count grew from 5 to 150, and retail presence increased from 500 to 40,000 outlets with RIO’s distribution network now including 200+ super stockists and distributors.

Despite the throwbacks of the pandemic, the company has remained resilient and launched a mass premium energy drink christened RIO BOOM, that is quickly gaining traction in Tier 2 cities across Maharashtra.

“Today’s consumer does not want to be seen with the brands that were consumed by older generations, that’s where new age brands like us come into play.” – Rahul Sangoi 

“The consumer today is very aspirational and is willing to pay a bit extra for quality products which appeal to them” – Rajiv Sangoi

“The young consumer today is very conscious about the environment. No wonder, that we derive 90% of our sales from aluminum cans which are infinitely recyclable.” – Rohan Sangoi 

Earlier this year, RIO was accepted into the 1st Cohort Gruhas Gusto, a 6-month food accelerator program by Gruhas, Jubilant Bhartia Family Office, Sabre Ventures (DLF Family Office), and Anthill Ventures, along with 6 other start-ups from the food sector to expand their business and their vision for a lifestyle brand that resonates with the modern Indian consumer.