From an alcohol remedy brand to a prestigious packaged water leader, Bisleri has evolved and how! Let’s dive deep into the story!
There are no two views on Bisleri being the definition of drinking water for Indians. But people often wonder, how did the company acquire a 60% market share in the packaged drinking water sector and reach where it is today?
No matter where you travel in India, you will find a bottle of Bisleri in every local kirana store. This is because the company has an excellent supply chain containing 122 plants (13 owned), 4,500 distributors and 5,000 distribution trucks to reach every corner of India and neighbouring countries.
The output? Approximately a whopping 15 crore bottles in a month.
But, the company had a humble start. An idea which turned the company into what it is today.
So, here goes the story.
Bisleri was not initially an Indian brand. It was started in the 1800s in the Italian city of Milan by a person named Felice Bisleri. He was fond of inventions, so he opened a chemical lab called Felice Bisleri & Co. He made various inventions like mineral water, an anti-malaria chemical and a herbal drink called ‘Ferro-China Bisleri’, which was considered a miraculous health tonic. Later, in 1921, Mr Bisleri passed away.
In 1965, an Italian doctor called Cesari Rossi bought the brand in India in partnership with an Indian businessman Khushroo Suntook. During those days, the water quality in Bombay was awful, and bottled water was considered a luxury. They came up with the idea to sell packaged water, so they set up a bottling plant in Thane.
The brand struggled for a few years, and later they decided to sell the business. Parle Group’s Jayantilal Chauhan was looking for a soda brand; hence, they bought Bisleri in 1969 for Rs 4 lakhs. The company was then inherited by Ramesh Chauhan (son of Jayantilal Chauhan).
Ever since there has been no looking back. Parle started selling carbonated drinks such as Limca and Thums Up in the 1970s. Everything went well until globalisation occurred, and renowned soft drink companies like Coca-Cola and Pepsi stepped into India. Because of cutthroat competition, they sold their carbonated drinks business in 1993 to Coca-Cola for Rs 400 crores.
In the end, all that they had left with was Bisleri.
Bisleri always managed to innovate to stay ahead of the competition. They created innovative ads like ‘Har pani ki bottle Bisleri nahi hoti’, ‘The sweet taste of purity’, and ‘One Nation, One Water’ , to name a few.
The current owner of Bisleri, Mr Ramesh Chauhan, has turned 82, and his daughter Jayanti Chauhan is not interested in handling the business. Hence he has decided to sell his company so that the legacy of purified mineral water continues in India.
Currently, Tata Group is in talks to take over Bisleri for a whopping Rs 7,000 crores, but nothing has been finalised yet.
Let’s see what the future holds for Bisleri!
Until then, share this story with your friends!