Barista to bring wine to everyone

barista2.jpgWith Barista Lavazza’s deal with Sula Vineyards, it seems plausible that they maybe the ones that will do the most to build interest around wine in India. As covered earlier in Sommelier India, Barista has sought state licenses sell liquor in its coffee shops. Certain outlets like the Defence Colony Barista in Delhi already serve wine. Shiv Singh comments on the Barista evolution.

It was only in September that Barista formalized a deal with Sula Vineyards to supply wine for its coffee shops. At the same time, it also struck a deal with Fosters to serve beer in them as well. It is also experimenting with liqueurs. The liqueur coffee has expresso as its base with a dash of liqueur ranging from Teacher’s Scotch whisky, Irish whisky, Baileys Irish cream, rum or vodka and is priced between Rs. 199 to Rs. 299.
Can you imagine a future in which your day time coffee shop turns into a bar in the evening? Or you step into your coffee shop and find people at the next table sniffing wine instead of sipping cappuccinos? Visit the Defence Colony Barista to get a glimpse into this future.
They have had to make changes to the Barista to allow for the serving of alcohol. For starters you cannot see inside the Barista anymore. The glass panes have been glazed. The menu has of course changed and it is interesting to note that with only one wine brand being served the choices are limited. This is a smart, economic move on Barista’s part – to only serve one brand and have fewer issues with inventory. And needless to say, Sula Vineyards is not a weak brand by any means – it took home several medals at the recently held Sommelier India Wine Competition.
All in all, the strategy makes sense for Barista – test it out in select outlets to see whether it drives more customers in, keeps them long and especially later into the evenings. On the part of Sula, it gives them a potentially huge distribution outlet in the form of the Barista’s across the country and a means to popularize both wine as well as their own brand. I wouldn’t be surprised if Grover Vineyards is in discussions with Cafe Coffee Day.
Barista’s 2008 revenues were Rs. 150 crore and it is expecting to finish 2009 with Rs 225 crore in revenue. For the next year, the company has a target of Rs 300 crore. It currently enjoys 25 per cent of the coffee chain retail market in India though outlets that serve alcohol will only be a small fraction of those in the short term.

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