Wine Makers

DesmondJi (Agave India)

A budding entrepreneur, a free spirited human being from the esteemed IITs of India, who was at the forefront of creating software solutions in the time of Y2K, doesn’t seem like a person who would be behind the beginnings of a liquor brand. However, it is this amalgamation of expertise combined with extreme passion for what you like that has made it possible.

Desmond Nazareth is the brainchild, the president and CEO of Agave India of which the premium brand DesmondJi is a part of. Having graduated from the Indian Institute of Technology in Madras, he shifted to US to become a software entrepreneur. In his years that he spent in United States, his home bar was popular among his friends for the best margaritas. It became his favourite thing in the US and Desmond was passionate about it. Which is why when he returned back to India in the year 2000, he realised that tequila, a key ingredient for margaritas, were not available easily (they are not available even today at some places).

Desmond Nazareth decided to turn this obstacle into an opportunity. He visited Mexico in order to get a hang of cultivation and distillation processes, parallely undertaking research on agave plants and the manufacture of agave spirits. He knew the presence of those blue-green agave plants on the Deccan plateau, which he had observed in his last visit. Strangely, those massive agave plants were used as a makeshift fencing, before Desmond Nazareth recognised their potential. Over time, a micro-distillery was established. Agave India became the first fully integrated farm-to-bottle in the country. They produced a wide range of products with their focus on global spirits made from raw materials in India and catering to international standards. Every aspect of the project right from R&D to locating the plants, to raising funds, to clearing all bureaucratic red-tape and even being the master of blending and distilling was taken care of by him.

Over the years, Desmond Nazareth expanded his vision, voice and presence, taking on board Sunil Alva, who had an astute observation of the finances and egged him on to carry out trials of his plans. Johnny da Silva, the person who was high and energetic about the project was also recruited. A brilliant and strongly connected network of experts and across Asia, Europe and United States was instrumental in providing advice and suggestions to a startup in the area of alcohol beverages. India, although being a scotch drinking majority of a nation, has shown signs of acceptance and growth for spirits such as vodka and tequila. Agave has set its sights on the US market. It is a double-edged sword since US has the highest consumption of tequila beverages and also has a lot of producers. The challenge then presents to create a strong image and foothold for a tequila brand, purely manufactured in India. Understanding the demographic distribution of Indians in the United States is one thing. Predicting the consumption of Indian tequila by those Indian consumers and even retailers is another. What goes beyond nationality and brand name is the quality of the product that ought to draw the consumers to it.

Presently, Agave India has its manufacturing facilities in two states. Andhra Pradesh houses an agro-facility along with a micro-distillery over an expanse of 44 acres situated in the district of Chittoor. Agave India has been at the forefront of initiation. Starting the first micro-distillation plant, being the first alcoholic beverage company in India to manufacture margarita blends, agave spirits, orange liqueurs, all made from original materials and methods of production rather than simply adding flavouring agents. Goa, on the other hand, houses the bottling and packaging unit of the company. The bottle design was an art of excellence by bottle designer, Ms. Reboni Saha, based out of Goa and who designed a bottle for the first time. Even the facilities of Andhra that have a visually stunning open design were the outcome of Ms. Hyacinth Pinto, a environmentally intelligent architect.

Presently, DesmondJi is the signature line of spirits, liqueurs and blends from Agave India, following on the ideals of its founder. The label, DesmondJi, houses two Agave spirits, a 100% and a 51%, as well as a 51% Agave Gold spirit that has an oak finish. Being truly Indian, Agave has Orange and Blue Curacao liqueur that has been processed using oranges brought in from Nagpur. Additionally, pre-mixed margaritas, blends of margaritas with alcohol, are also produced. Using the local sugarcane, a pure cane spirit is also on the offering.

Liquor Cabinet:

Spirits Margaritas
100% Agave Blue Margarita
51% Agave Orange Liqueur
51% Agave Gold (with Oak Finish) Blue Curacao
Pure Cane
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