luxury awards 2016 header nominee profileOFFICIAL LUXURY AWARDS NOMINEE INTERVIEW – Category: FINE SPIRIT

SOMRUS, by SomPRIYA, Chicago USA

INTERVIEW WITH FOUNDER AND CEO PANKAJ GARG

pankaj-pk-garg-ceo-somrus
SomruS Founder and CEO Pankaj Garg

logo_sompriyaTHE BRAND STORY AND HISTORY

What is the story of your brand’s development, its history and inspiration for it being founded?

SomPriya Fine Spirits, LLC is a premium spirits company bringing age-old, traditional and delectable flavors from the Indian sub-continent to cups of libations across the globe. Recognizing an absence of liqueur which complements Indian cuisine and properly represents the vibrant culture that encompasses some one-fifth of the world’s population, SomPriya’s mission is to expose the world to the wealth of flavors from the Indian subcontinent through the creation of rich, cream and non-cream liqueurs crafted from the timeless recipes and taste profiles of this ancient land.

The company’s first product, SomruS, meaning “Nectar of the Gods,” has references dating to 2600 BC as an alcoholic beverage for the upper class and is purported to have had the power to prevent the human body from degeneration. Although SomPriya has not cracked the code of immortality, the company’s modern interpretation is created using an intricate blend of eastern spices, nuts and cream to produce an authentic liquid taste of the Indian subcontinent. Using proprietary techniques, SomPriya artfully blends pure dairy cream and hand-crafted rum with the luscious flavors of cardamom, saffron, almonds, pistachios and rose to create the 21st century ‘incarnation” of SomruS – The Original Indian Cream Liqueur. Meant to be enjoyed on its own, mixed in a cocktail, baked in a sweet dessert or added to a cup of chai, SomruS reinvents the taste, tranquility and euphoria of drinking the mythical elixir of Gods.

How has your brand evolved over time and how do you see it evolving in the future?

SomruS, The Original Indian Cream Liqueur was launched in October 2014 in Illinois and New Jersey at a high-end premium price point. As an example, a 750 ml bottle of SomruS is priced at $27.99 while an equivalent Bailey’s or Kahlua bottle is priced at $17.99 in Illinois. The premium of almost 50% over established, global Liqueur brands was accepted by the consumers for the following reasons –

a. SomruS is the only cream liqueur which is All Natural, Gluten Free and Preservative Free
b. SomruS is housed in a gold coated and UV protected, custom-made glass bottle, which draws inspiration from an ancient Indian carafe creating immediate nostalgia and setting it apart from anything else on the shelf
c. SomruS goes naturally with tea as other liqueurs go with coffee and tea drinks in US command higher prices plus is a new trend with millennials and Gen X, Y, Z consumers
d. SomruS is only available for purchase through high-end premium stores

In future, we have several line extensions planned for SomruS i.e. SomruS Alphonso Mango, The Original Mango Cream Liqueur and SomruS Crystal, The Original Indian Liqueur (non-cream). The positioning of the SomruS brand is consistent across the line i.e. high-end premium liqueurs representing the tastes, flavors and aromas of the Indian sub-continent for the world. While we may do some tactical adjustments in pricing and placement based on demographics and geography, the positioning of the brand will remain the same.

Please describe the essence of your brand and how your products/services exemplify a deep commitment to quality.

The core essence of the SomruS brand is embodied in the following three words –
Exotic, Luxurious and Sensual

Exotic – SomruS meets a new set of flavor needs from consumers who do not currently have access to a liqueur product that delivers an “Exotic Asian” taste. Asian consumers are the largest and fastest growing “affluent aspiration” group of consumers globally

Luxurious – The name SomruS comes from Indian culture – it is the mythical “Drink of the Gods”. SomruS is made from a combination of spices and nuts which are some of the most expensive in the world i.e. Saffron, Pistachio, Almond, Cardamom and Rose. The connotation of these flavor profile is equivalent to that of Champagne, Caviar, etc.

Sensual – SomruS is a delicate blend of exotic ingredients and is designed to be “women forward” as the entire Liqueur category to certain extent is. Liqueurs are enjoyed on their own for their unique tastes and flavors and are usually low in alcohol. At 13.5% ABV, SomruS’s perfect consumer is a well-educated and globally travelled professional who enjoys culinary pleasures of the world. She is also very selective in her choices and likes to indulge in luxurious experiences to balance her busy life. {Please see the SOMRUS BRAND WHEEL}

In terms of exemplifying a deep commitment to quality, our products are created and produced in the best facilities that the world can offer. Even though, SomruS is the world’s first Indian liqueur, currently it is being produced in USA so that none of the quality parameters are comprised. Later on, we may consider global production when we feel confident that the technology and processes can be transported across continents.

somrus-brand-wheelLUXURY AWARDS NOMINESS FINE SPIRIT SOMRUS

COMMITMENT TO EXCELLENCE

How do you define and measure excellence? What motivates your focus on quality?

In short, excellence means to be “better” than your peers and competitors and to constantly “outdo” your own quality standards. At SomruS, we take this aspect very seriously. In less than two years of its launch, SomruS is already world’s #1 rated cream liqueur – a testament to our quality and excellence from industry peers and critics (see link ) –http://www.proof66.com/liquor/cream-liqueur.html (sort Rating down)

Our motivation to focus on quality and excellence comes from the following motto – that not only we are producing the world’s first Indian liqueur, we are also creating the “next generation of cream liqueurs” in the 21st century. Bailey’s was introduced in 1974 and is a relatively fatigued brand per industry standards. With SomruS, we kept our commitment to quality so high that we are now rated above Godiva, Bailey’s, Kahlua Cream, Amarula, Bols and others.

Why are maintaining standards of excellence important to your brand?

Our brand is positioned in the “high-end premium” category of Liqueurs since its inception and is priced and distributed as such. This is the only segment we operate in and there is no latitude for us to let our guard down and disappoint our consumers with even a chance of complaint about our quality. Given that selling “affordable luxury” is our bread and butter business, we are 100% committed to maintain the best of standards across our product line.

What do you do to ensure that the culture of excellence remains strong in your entire organization?

The culture of excellence is established at the top of our company and percolates down to every level. As the Founder and CEO of the company, I am involved full-time with my team to bring the best to the market from raw materials down to the shipped product.

Having set the excellence standards at the top and measuring team members on those constantly, it eventually becomes a second habit for everyone i.e. no matter what, we will not disappoint our customers with a sub-standard product. All the decisions are made keeping excellence standards in mind even though at times we may have a slight delay in shipment or we may have to re-adjust our packaging, etc., if it’s not up to the par to our stringent standards.

What about your processes / systems / how your services are created, feeds your brand’s culture of excellence?

Frankly our end goal to delight our consumers helps us design all the processes and systems from the raw materials to shipped products. All actions taken until the product reaches the consumer are carefully monitored. We start with only the best ingredients, manufactured in world’s best and FDA/TTB certified facilities and packaged in one of the most expensive packages in the liqueur industry. So it’s a work breakdown structure approach keeping in mind that each stream of the deliverables is measured against our standards of excellence leading toward an overall distinguished product.

How do you view the current market for luxury? Why is excellence in such high demand in today’s world?

The current market for luxury has become highly customized due to advent of social media and omnipresence of mobile and computing technology. No longer items of “mass luxury” address people’s needs, the current consumers balance traditional luxury attributes with consumer feedback and social media acceptance. Some latest luxury brands have flourished without the traditional advertising budgets based solely on word of mouth and social media. Nevertheless, the luxury market is even stronger as luxury producers are effectively able to segment the market per consumer desires and price points, ex: Mercedes Benz S Class vs. C Class.

Excellence has always demanded a premium but even more so now. Earlier, luxury products were completely out of reach of the traditional mainstream consumers given the costs of production, marketing and distributing were too high. Now-a-days, luxury brands use global supply chains and technology enables marketing and brand building hence the envelope of luxury buyers has expanded tremendously. Also consumers balance luxury vs. non-luxury in their daily lives and that has become acceptable i.e. a working class professional who may still use public or company provided transportation for office commute may make an indulgent purchase of a Louis Vuitton handbag for evening parties, etc. So the luxury target market is much larger and much more segmented.

What do you wish people knew about your brand?

The core essence of the SomruS brand is to bring a line of liqueurs representing the tastes, flavors and aromas of the Indian subcontinent to the world. Our first product SomruS Original is inspired from the recipe of the most popular dessert from India called “Ras Malai”. Similarly, our other products are inspired from true and tried recipes from the Indian subcontinent. While we are converting them in a liqueur form, these recipes have already been enjoyed by a billion plus people over thousands of years!

What sets your brand apart from others in your category?

There are many aspects of our brand which distinguish us from peers and competitors –

Ultra-premium packaging in the Liqueur category – custom made, gold coated, UV proof glass decanter inspired from erstwhile wine decanter from ancient India

Focus on health conscious consumer – only brand which is all natural, gluten free and preservative free with an industry standard shelf life

Eastern spice & nuts – currently available liqueurs mostly contain Western flavors such as Chocolate, Coffee, Vanilla, Caramel, etc. Ours is the first liqueur to contain popular Eastern ingredients of Saffron, Pistachio, Almond, Cardamom and Rose.

Low alcohol – the latest trend in Spirits is for “Drink Better” i.e. lower alcohol, natural and flavorful drinks. SomruS is the only liqueur which checks the boxes on all the Drink Better attributes.

What would you recommend to new luxury goods brands coming into the marketplace?

Launching luxury brands requires a “360 degrees” strategy. All aspects of the brand ecosystem have to be addressed relative to exclusivity. The buyer of a luxury brand looks for – top-notch functionality, striking aesthetics, exclusive availability and premium pricing which differentiates the brand from mainstream products. Also, luxury brands should be introduced through people or places which embody luxury and are able to provide an instant validation of the luxury brand.

For more information on SOMRUS and SomPRIYA, visit www.somrus.com

EAT LOVE SAVOR Luxury Awards is an annual international Award celebrating excellence in luxury. These awards are selected by influencers and renowned executives from some the best luxury companies in the world and awarded to companies in luxury sector globally to honour their commitment to excellence, achievements and initiatives. We believe that honoring excellence is an important initiative and our awards recognizes the achievements, the stories and the people behind the brand. There is nothing that can replace the values of quality, craftsmanship, attention to detail, hard work, passion and a pursuit of excellence to make a brand stand out as timeless and valuable. Those people and brands who embody these values are worth recognizing and drawing attention to amid a sea of fast and trendy to serve as inspiration to others and for those who seek luxury beyond the ordinary.

Comments are closed.