With the New Year having begun, the cold will be gone soon too. Spring and summer will herald in warm evenings and thirsty afternoons. And with it would come the cravings for a beverage that would refresh and energize. Well don’t look far. Right here in prime location at Koregaon Park, Drifters Growlers gives you exactly that and more. Beer that not only refreshes and energizes but also wows you with brews infused with different flavors. Few sips and you are sure to drift away to a holiday! Read below for a quick chat that I had with the Directors of Drifters Growlers – Nayan and Sheetal.
IV: Why ‘Drifters’, the name I mean, was it after the Widmers brothers in America who started way back in 2000 and brewed the ‘Drifter Pale Ale’?
Nayan: No; in 2015 we started research on what kind of beers need to be brought to the city. We moved around the world, Europe, U.S.A., Canada, Australia, for about 6 months. We kept ‘drifting’ from one place to another to find varieties and that’s where the thought of naming the brand Drifters came from.
IV: Well the name’s perfect then; what made you think of starting this when your actual business is construction?
Nayan: I am very fond of beer. So when I traveled to Europe in 2012, I developed a taste for hand crafted beers. That’s when I knew I wanted to brew my own beers.
IV: So would it be correct to then call it your passion?
Nayan: Absolutely. When I say my love for beer and being fond of hand crafted beers, I have truly put a lot into it. I have developed my own recipes.
IV: Oh, are all of these made by you?
Nayan: Yes. Initially we had a Czech brew master. He developed 5-6 recipes per hour! Then I took it forward and now all the recipes on the menu are created by me.
Sheetal, Nayan’s wife proudly interjects,
Sheetal: the kokum cider you loved is created by Nayan. Kokum being the local fruit of Maharashtra and Goa we wanted to try it as a sweet and fizzy flavor.
Guilty! I loved the Kokum Cider and I know anyone in the mood for a tropical refresher would. It’s something you can just guzzle down, a perfect summer drink. She continues,
Sheetal: the apple cider is also Nayan’s recipe.
Nayan takes over.
Nayan: We use apples from Kashmir.
IV: Nice; Do u also make beers using rice? A lot of places now days are I asked.
Nayan: Yes, we are currently developing something we call the ‘Basmati Blonde’. It is created using 50% basmati rice and will be out soon.
IV: Is it going to be expensive as its base ingredient is pricy?
Nayan: Not at all; the same price range as the others – 550/ liter. We are planning something for Christmas, a ‘Raspberry Vanilla Milkshake Sour Ale’. This beer contains lactose hence milk shake. It will be creamy and slightly sour. We’ve used an imported raspberries for that. Hence this beer is being sold at a slightly higher price at 625/liter.
IV: Definitely, the raspberries are imported so off course. Sounds very interesting; what’s the process or the recipe like?
Nayan: we receive the berries frozen which we then defrost and extract the juice from and then infuse it into the beer.
IV: And this is also your recipe? How do you think of all these? Is it trial and error?
Nayan: Yes, of sorts however it is also going by the gut, a lot like a chef would to create a new dish.
Sheetal joins in,
Sheetal: So it’s one thought leading to the other. Raspberry would pair well with Vanilla, and then add some creaminess to it so that it is at a smooth consistency like a milkshake or an ice-cream sundae candy kind of feel.
Lovely and yummy I thought and it was launched on Christmas day. Doesn’t get more festive than that. I probe further.
IV: What other surprises do u have?
Nayan: Currently nothing more than what I’ve shared.
IV: We saw a lot of young crowd at drifters buying the beer.
Nayan: Yes, the youth is our main clientele.
And Nayan giggles, I couldn’t hide my smile too thinking of what an obvious statement I had made.
IV: Do you have a branch in Mumbai?
Nayan: Yes one in Lokhandwala, Andheri and opening one next week in Powai.
IV: Oh that’s nice. Anymore?
Nayan: Yes; we will be opening a Tap Room in Bandra West very soon. We had a tap room in the Bandra Kurla Complex which we had to shut down due to Covid; however, are looking at reopening. We are opening more growler stations in Mumbai. Like I mentioned Andheri is already doing well, Powai next week and Thane as well. We’ve been in Mumbai for 1.5 years now.
IV: Are you looking at opening more branches in Pune as well?
Nayan: Yes; Koregaon Park for now and one in Baner but not so soon. May be 6 months down the line.
Sheetal: We also plan to open more growlers in cities like Nagpur etc. However, that’s at least 6 months away. Due to Covid we would like to evaluate a few things and take actions accordingly.
I thought of what a difficult year 2020 has been globally for everyone. And the aftermath as well that so many are dealing with!
IV: Off Course; all the best for this second phase. Anything in particular you would like to mention to our readers?
Nayan: Yes; we import our own malts, own hops, we get the hops from Czechoslovakia and various other places. And because we import, we are not dependent on the local market and its availability. Basically that gives our product consistency. Which is of primary importance to maintain a brand. Because we have one point of contact to source the malt and it does not come from different vendors which usually becomes the reason for the flavor to vary. Also, we love trying out local fruits to add to our flavor palette. We did a ‘Jamun Sour’ last summer.
Sheetal: We love experimenting, especially with fruits and local products.
Nayan: We had made it for a sour fest which all breweries had participated in. We like to keep rotating our flavors so that people get to try something new everytime. So a lot of new brews are seasonal. However the Belgian Wheat and German Larger which is a unique brew and our best seller and a few more are always on the board. Some classics that our regulars would always have. And the German Larger, its light and fresh. The name is derived from ‘helles’ which means light and people love to drink light beers so they can drink more.
I laught out,
IV: Off course and that would mean you would have to produce more. Great for business.
He laughs as well,
Nayan: Yes; also, our beers are filter less, meaning they are unfiltered. All the ingredients remain inside the brew itself and as the beer matures, it self clears.
IV: That’s wonderful. And something new I learned today. Best part about what I do. Meeting new interesting people following their passion and dreams. And then getting to learn from them. It’s been a pleasure talking to both of you and all the best once again.
I thanked my company for their time and the yummy, simply delicious Kokum Cider and Apple Cider they so graciously gave me to taste. Here’s hoping Drifters Growlers and the Tap Room continue to help us Drift Away with their delightful brews and unique recipies. I’ll cheers to that!