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Rising Star: Shivam Ginglani, CEO, Black Bow

Staying optimistic in challenging times, the 29-year-old entrepreneur wants his Himalayan whiskey brand Black Bow to be cemented as a cool and relevant brand among millennials and gen Z

Shivam Ginglani

Shivam Ginglani, 29, became an entrepreneur after launching a Himalayan whiskey brand “Black Bow” in 2018. He believes Scotch (Scotland) and Bourbon whiskey (US) are renowned worldwide but there is no gold standard for whiskey in India.

“Champagne in France, Tequila from Jalisco in Mexico, Bourbon from Kentucky in the US —all are geo-tagged and legally protected. This does two things: helps define a clear identity for the world to establish trust with the consumers and leads to the prosperity of the local community and region, which put their heart and soul into making these spirits what they are today. With Black Bow and future premium offerings from Ginglani Distillers, we are committing ourselves to the best place to make a whiskey on this planet: 'The Himalayas',” said Shivam Ginglani, CEO, Black Bow.

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He stays extremely optimistic in challenging times and does not give up. “I consistently put in the hard work and do not take no for an answer. This attitude helps me a lot in overcoming a lot of struggles in life as I create a path of my own.”

A big admirer of Elon Musk, he speaks to his mentors and fellow founder friends to keep himself motivated. “I am thankful for the opportunities that I have been given and want to make the most of it.”

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The pandemic was a blow to the chin of the entire alcobev industry, but Ginglani and his two year-old Indian whiskey brand took that in its stride, and used the downtime to strategise for the next few years, starting with diversifying its portfolio by launching a second whiskey.

In the near term, he has plans to strengthen the brand’s portfolio with the launch of the second whiskey, “Woodsmen”, and focus on expanding its footprint across metros. The brand is present in Delhi and Himachal Pradesh markets and looks at Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Mumbai among other cities and regions as a part of its further expansion plan.

His long-term aim for the brand is to take Indian whiskies global for which he plans to set up a copper pot still distillery and come out with a single malt range. “We are the first movers and aim to be the front runners in transforming the whiskey category into a young and exciting space, relevant to the next generation of consumers,” Ginglani said.

With homegrown quality brands on the rise, he wants Black Bow to create a unique identity for Indian whiskies. “Since almost 60% of the whiskey is water, I had to go to the best source in India and probably the planet – The Himalayas. We are positive that a high-quality Himalayan whiskey, made the right way, will attract consumers in the megacities,” he said.

Keeping in mind the brand’s TG, which are primarily millennials, Ginglani plans a strong digital presence of Black Bow on Instagram and Facebook, focusing on quality engaging content and partnering with brands and influencers. “We wish to make Black Bow a cool homegrown brand immersed in culture relevant to the next generation of consumers. Once the Covid situation subsides, we will drive tasting and samplings through events and activations,” said Ginglani. 

In his later years, he would like to support Indian entrepreneurs of the next generation through mentoring, networking and capital infusion.

Speaking on his challenges, he said, “The industry we’ve entered has high barriers to entry and it is not easy for a homegrown Indian brand to make a mark. But I choose to look at what I can do and deliver on. I have belief in myself coupled with discipline and a willingness to adapt.”

According to IWSR’s report for the 2010-2019 decade, the premium and semi-premium whisky segments have grown at a healthy CAGR of 12+%.

Ginglani said barring the year 2020 due to the pandemic, they are positive that the premium and semi-premium whisky segments will grow double-digits every year considering both a young median age for India as well as premium trends were seen across industries.

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