The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Fresh fizz for summer soothers

If you thought there were enough soft drinks flowing through the market, gulp down the thought. For, Amar Beverage Private Limited on Thursday unveiled a whole new range at Peerless Inn.

From fizzy to tangy, the flavours of the carbonated drinks have been designed keeping ages 5 to 50 in mind.

The product mix has five distinct brands: Uniqola (cola flavour), Jazz (orange flavour), Frenzy (clear lemon), Lemoncy (cloudy lemon) and Jhakkas (club soda).

The foray of Amar Beverage, FMCG division of the Amar group of companies, comes following much deliberation and an extensive market survey. 'The sale of soft drinks will peak once the mercury soars, leading to a huge gap between demand and supply of aerated drinks. Our survey suggests a 20 per cent gap. We intend to take advantage of this gap and establish ourselves as a strong force in the market,' said Sumit Kumar Ghosh, general manager, Amar Group of Companies.

Admitting that the big players have a strong hold over urban areas, Ghosh talked of a sharper focus on the semi-urban and even rural areas for the Amar bouquet.

The five varieties would be available in both glass and PET bottles. The 200 ml, 300 ml and 400 ml glass bottles would be priced at Rs 6, Rs 8 and Rs 10. The PET bottles would be 400 ml and 600 ml, priced at Rs 10 and Rs 15.

The push would be on PET. 'We are targeting an annual turnover of Rs 11.5 crore. Of that, only Rs 1.5 crore is expected from glass bottles,' said Ghosh, primarily to meet the non-urban demand.

A manufacturing and packaging plant has been set up at Islampur, Howrah. Pre-treatment and post-treatment technology would be used to meet the high standards of carbonated drinks. Amar also boasts an FPO-approved laboratory and a team of qualified food technologists and chemical engineers to handle the process from purity of water and soft drinks to the more complicated water chemistry.

'Our competitors (read: Coca-Cola and Pepsi) have a global presence and the best of expertise at their disposal. We need to match their standards if we want to come up as a force to reckon with,' explained Ghosh.

What about marketing strategy' 'We will have a very moderate marketing method, concentrating on quality and consumer comfort,' he added.

Ethnic effect

Mona Pali's outlet on Loudon Street has a new neighbour. The efforts of two women, Neeru Sarawgee and Sunita Khemka, have resulted in Vaara, yet another boutique that will house saris, salwar kurtas and accessories.

On Wednesday morning, the first lady of Indian cricket Dona Ganguly inaugurated the outlet and went through each of the items on display. Skipper Sourav Ganguly's wife showed a special fancy for the many colourful sequinned bags in stock.

Created by in-house designers Sarawgee and Khemka, the pieces are heavy on embroidery and zari work, and perfect for party wear. In bright as well as muted shades, the fabrics used are primarily georgettes and chiffon. The designs flaunt the latest trends in party wear and are embellished with stones.

With price points starting at Rs 1,500 for both saris and salwar kurtas, it's the 'reasonable prices' that'll lure the crowd, suggest the owners.

Accessories like bags and cosmetic jewellery are also in sync with the look of the outfits. Bright-coloured patchwork and sequinned work on the bags make them just right for both Indian and western outfits.

Fusion feel

Exclusive lifestyle boutique Darbari at P-249 Purna Das Road unveiled its Spring-Summer collection on Tuesday. Present on the occasion were Rabindrasangeet singer Pramita Mullick and jewellery designer Neelanjana Chakraborty.

Darbari has created a niche for itself in the budget-friendly ethnic section. While the store started off with a wide range of saris and salwar suits, today, it has diversified into women's tops, skirts, trousers and, most recently, menswear. The kurtas are both formal and casual, depending on the type or amount of embroidered work.

A colourful pot of georgettes, crepes, pure silks, tussars and cottons has also been used to create the saris. Each of these have been further embellished with embroidered gota work, parsigara work, beads and sequins. While the cottons start at Rs 600, the rest can go up to even Rs 9,000.

For those who prefer salwar kurtas, there is a wide range comprising the short and trendy alongside the more traditional variety. Predominantly using pastel and brighter turquoise hues, the pieces have both heavy and light embroidery, and hence are suitable for both marriage functions and simple daily wear.

Crushed skirts in a variety of colours, short tops, kurtis and printed trousers, reasonably priced between Rs 300 and Rs 1,200 are interesting buys, too. What's more, there is a wide range of fabrics that have either been worked upon or are block-printed and can be tailored to suit your taste.

Off the garment front, Darbari also has its in-house range of designer leather bags and home accessories.

Radio ga-ga

Valentine's Day being the first working day of the week could have been a real downer, but it really wasn't.

To add double impact to the celebration of love, Nik Nish, the gift store chain in the city, organised a marathon jam session for young couples on Sunday, to celebrate V-Day eve.

Hosted on the premises of 22, Camac Street, where the chain owns it's biggest outlet in Calcutta, the seven-hour affair that began from 1 pm grew into one huge dance party under the open February sky. Sponsored jointly by Nik Nish and The Telegraph, with 93.5 Red FM as the radio partner, the show was a winner from the start.

If good music remained the basic mantra of the day, peppy crowd interactions by Red FM RJs added loads of masti. With Dil Se man Jimmy Tangree taking to the console, spinning music and chatting with the lovebirds, the more enthusiastic among the crowd moved to the makeshift stage to jive on the invitation of the RJ and grab their brief moments of fame.

Gifts galore awaited those with the right steps and the right attitude. From T-shirts and caps to interesting gift hampers, there were loads of goodies to take back home after a hard day's work on the dance floor.

If the run up to V-Day was an affair to remember, the Red FM roadshow in association with The Telegraph and Star Plus on Valentine's Day made the big day memorable for another set of people in love. From 9 in the morning, Red FM RJs toured the city hopping hotspots like INOX at City Centre and Forum, Shopper's Stop, Presidency College, Bhawanipur Gujarati Education Society and the Indian Institute of Hotel Management, Salt Lake.

Playing interactive games with single souls and happy couples was the order of the day, as winners went home with bags of goodies and the rest had to make do with being part of a live V-Day contest with their favourite RJs.

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