We didn’t invent Gin
We just made it Greater in India
there is a mountain in this gin
The World’s First Himalayan Dry Gin
Hapusa is a sipping gin best appreciated straight from the freezer.
Expect pine forests and wildflowers on the nose with a bold earthiness on the palate and a long, delicately spiced, finish.
In 2015, the world was going through a “Gin-aissance” and yet, two bar owners in Delhi who waited expectantly for the tsunami of Gin brands were left high and dry.
The country where Gin & Tonic was invented and where exotic gin botanicals are found in most home kitchens was still in the dark ages of Gin. If they wanted Gin, they were going to have to make it themselves.
They stepped out from behind the bar, got themselves a copper pot still and experimented with every spice, herb and fruit they could find. They found a lot, they distilled a lot, they tasted a lot and they fell down a lot.
With a little bit of luck and a lot of help, they found two recipes they loved enough to not just want to serve at their own bar but to take to the rest of the country and the world.
Remy Cointreau shuts down its India office, laying off 15 employees. It’s a blessing in disguise for one Anand Virmani who (after several plans with no legs) links up with Vaibhav Singh in his quest to open a Wine Bar in Delhi.
They open the Wine bar, but very quickly realise there is a mini-buzz among their guests. They all seem to want Gin in their glass, but there’s nothing exciting to serve them…
The duo becomes a trio with Aparajita Ninan stepping in to start visualizing the brands.
The dream starts taking shape as we start experimenting with a lab still at home to distill whatever spices we can get our hands on.
We attend the Craft Distilling Conference in the UK and learn how terribly unprepared we are for life as distillers and make the very smart choice of convincing a distiller (Dr. Anne Brock, well before she rises to fame as the Bombay Sapphire master distiller and the head / queen of the Gin Guild) in London to travel to sunny Goa and teach us how to make Gin properly.
Oh yes, we also find some people in Goa who we like and who happen to have the facility and the right licenses for us to setup a small distillery. We order a pot still and give their address for delivery and then sit back with our fingers crossed.
It somehow comes together. We hire our first employees in early 2017 and we receive our Copper Pot Still in Goa.
We name her Agotha, which means “Good Hearted” in Hungarian. We finalise the recipes and finish building the distillery and then sit around for a couple of months waiting for permissions to be granted.
On the 30th of September, those permissions finally arrive and we officially launch Greater Than out into the universe to become the first Indian Craft Gin. Greater Than becomes available in Goa and Bangalore, beating all expectations in our mind and those of our distributors as well – people are drinking Gin all of a sudden
One brings two, and Hapusa quickly becomes the second Gin out of our stables and the only Gin in the world made with Himalayan Juniper!
No time for baby steps – we launch simultaneously in Goa and in the UK with a surprise appearance at Junipalooza.
This year is such a blur! We have so much fun with our Gins which are now available in 5 states as well as 10 countries outside of our own, with the UK, Italy and Singapore leading the way.
This is going to be the year where we pull out all the stops! And then…the stops get pulled out right from under us and humanity at large.
Covid hits and the world grinds to a halt. We sit around and dream up big plans. We focus. We learn. And then, when the opportunity arrives, we go all out and launch our first Limited Edition – the Juniper Bomb!
Is this the break-out year? We win our first Gold medal at the IWSC with Hapusa! That’s massive!
And then, somehow, our tiny distillery gets put on the world map when the people of the IWSC place us in the International top 5 Gin producers of the year. Somebody pinch me…no, don’t! Can’t go to sleep anyway. Greater Than’s second limited edition is out, and it’s infused with Cold Brew Coffee. Aptly, it is named No Sleep.
The story of 2022 is still being written. We’re still growing – almost 900 bottles of Greater Than are consumed everyday on average. That’s a lot of Gin! We also win our first Gold medal at the IWSC with Hapusa!
We’ve come a long way, but we’ve got longer ways to go. Leaving some space down below for us to keep filling in as we go along. Stay tuned.
Hidden away in the back corner of a massive bottling facility lies our tiny shed which we lovingly call our distillery. What started off as a location to make sure us small guys stayed out of the way of the “real work”, has quickly turned into the place people hang around outside of, trying to get a glimpse of what is being worked on inside – or that’s what we believe at least.
This is where we make Gin. It is the heart and soul of our little company – quite literally, since our Copper Pot Still is called Agotha, which means “Good Hearted” in Hungarian (Hungary is where she was built). Agotha is also the reason we can call our Gin a London Dry, since it is a style which can only be made in traditional copper pot stills.
The distillery also happens to be the second home for our three distillers who like to refer to themselves as the Guardians of the Gin (and we let them…they don’t get out much). It is here that they distill, experiment, drink, Netflix, clean and sometimes even sleep.
This distillery is where the journey of our Gin begins. It is from here that we send to you our warmest regards and best wishes
Distiller & CEO
Makes the Gins and runs around looking busy.
Juniper Bomb Tonic
& Creative Head
The spark plug at the source of our collective creative energy.
Greater Than Reverse Martini
Co-founder & COO
Moves mountains behind the scene to make it all look so easy.
Co-founder & Mentor
Talks up the Gins and barely uses any words while doing so.
Hapusa served at Mountain Temperature
Lives and breathes the Gins and can only be distracted by a good Thali.
The No-Sleep G&T
Taught us all there is to know about Gin and will pose for a selfie with your family. She is also just awesome!
Nao Spirits, in association with the Gin Guild, is pleased to announce a full scholarship for one student every year to pursue their MSc in Brewing and Distilling at Heriot-Watt University, UK.
This scholarship shall be open to all applicants from India, with a preference given to those from the Indian F&B sector. Applications are being accepted for next year’s batch which begins in September 2023. We expect this to be a unique opportunity for members of the Indian F&B industry to gain access to a specialized course that provides them better opportunities globally and in India’s burgeoning craft spirits industry. Heriot-Watt is one of the most prestigious and reputed institutes in the world of brewing and distilling.
For more information on how to apply, log on to www.hw.ac.uk