Matinee Gin will be available in Goa in early March
Longtime friends and college buddies Anjali Shahi and Lavanya Jayashankar have been drinking gin since before it was mainstream in India. “We first met in 2003 in Singapore when we were at Singapore Management University. I guess you could say we’ve been drinking gin ever since,” says Shahi, as she explains how the two of them would spend their weekends geeking out at Singapore’s gin bars together. The two have since moved countries, colleges, jobs, and continents, but the one thing that has remained constant is their love for gin.
Having spent years working in finance and brand strategy, Shahi and Jayashankar decided to turn their side hobby into a career in 2017. “Greater Than hadn’t launched yet. All that was available in India was Blue Riband. The market was ripe for a good quality gin that India could enjoy,” says Shahi. Having spent years doing distilling experiments with 42 different ingredients, working on branding strategies and licensing logistics, the duo is finally ready to bring their maiden product, Matinee Gin, to the market.
It’s always gin o’clock
India currently has more than 10 gin brands in the market, not counting the international labels that are widely available. What will make Matinee stand out to the Indian consumer? “For starters, we are using botanicals that no one has used before,” says Shahi. “Instead of the regular Indian spices used in gin like cardamom, cloves and gondhoraj lime, Matinee is experimenting with eight lesser-known ones like snake saffron, white turmeric—instead of angelica root—kagzi lime and Goan peppercorn. “On the nose, there’s a burst of citrus and earthiness, it has a hint of spice and a sweet finish.”
Having worked with some of the biggest alcohol brands in the world, Jayashankar drew from her brand strat expertise when it came to Matinee. “Our research showed that gin—much like single malts in India—is a spirit category that intimidates people. We wanted to build a brand that would be accessible, inclusive and familiar.” The moniker Matinee is an effort in that direction. “The word matinee is something that Indians can instantly relate to. It conjures up all sorts of ‘first-day-first-show’ memories,” says Jayashankar. Matinee also extends to the idea of day drinking, which is a concept that “gin is synonymous with”.
Matinee will be available in early March in Goa (lucky guys!), before making its way across the country. “We want to break all category codes for design, which is why we have a bright colourful bottle and eye-catching design,” says Jayashankar. “Our designers warned us that people might think it’s vodka. But hey–that’s the whole point of being accessible, right?”
Matinee Gin will be in Goa by early March. Rs1,490 for a 750ml bottle