Chitra Aiyer 3 January, 2021
Welcome to NICE Conversations where we feature entrepreneurs and industry experts and hear their stories, have them share their learnings and benefit from their insights. Featuring here mahua entrepreneur, Desmond Nazareth, who has re-imagined spirits from tequila to mahua!
“If in 2000, the shelves of Bombay’s booze stores were filled with tequila, I would not have thought of founding Agave India” says Desmond Nazareth, a company he set up in 2007. It is India’s first and only rurally based ‘greenfield’ small batch ‘field-to-bottle’ and ‘forest-to-bottle’ craft distillery, using Indian know-how and raw materials.
Desmond has played a significant role in formulating the 2018 pot-still based alcohol manufacturing standards in India. Agave India makes international quality Indian agave spirits, Indian sugarcane spirits, mahua spirits, and also orange and mahua liqueur. Their products are sold under the master brand name, ‘DesmondJi’, or ‘DJ’.
Desmond is a successful serial entrepreneur with international work and travel experience. An alumnus of IIT Madras and Temple University, Philadelphia, he was in the US for 17 years before moving back to India in 2000. He is currently based in Goa.
Desmond’s current focus is on taking mahua global. “The world’s only distilled spirit made from a sweet flower”, he points out. Listen to how he started, his learnings and advice for Indian heritage and craft liquor entrepreneurs.
Desmond is a speaker in our ongoing NICE Aarohana series. His session is on Jan 13th, 4-5 pm IST. Mark your calendars. Register for free to join us. You will receive Aarohana session details via email.
Please note: All Aarohana sessions are Zoom webinars. All sessions are also streamed live on our Facebook page.
Founding Agave India and Desmond’s 20-year journey
Mahua, tribal livelihoods, Indian heritage drinks
Colonial and Indian Govt hypocrisy – what can entrepreneurs do now?
Mahua going global . Innovative fundraising
Path forward for Indian heritage and craft liquor