Walking the untrodden path : Lisa Srao, Chairman and Managing Director of I Brands Beverages
Updated on: 01 Nov 2015
Exposed to liquor brands launched by her father in UK, including Double Dutch beer, Lisa Srao, Chairman, and Managing Director, I Brands Beverages, had always been inspired by the alcohol beverage industry. Today, she heads one of the titans in the business. She's one of a handful of women in the country who has carved a niche for herself in a male-driven industry. Sashaying through all the hindrances that came her way, Lisa, a doting mother of two, says she manages a work-life balance, and also finds time to be associated with charitable causes. She is undisputedly a Wonder Woman.
Lisa opens up about her entrepreneurial journey, life, and more.
Q. You were born and brought up in the UK, and wanted to become a marine biologist. What made you change your career trajectory, and enter the liquor business?
When I was growing up in the UK, I was obsessed with sharks and that's why I wanted to become a marine biologist. But since I wasn't inclined towards biology as a subject, I chose a different path and moved into the media industry. I started working in Marketing with top media companies including Viacom, Vivendi Universal, News Corporation etc. I met my husband in London and moved to India following my marriage in 2003. I have two lovely children, Marcus and Isabella.
The idea for I Brands Beverages Ltd. came to me when I started living here; products in the price sensitive bracket were of very low quality at that point of time and good quality products were extremely expensive. Even to get a packet of biscuits was a chore for me. Since my father was in the business of liquor distribution, and I had some exposure to the industry in UK, I noticed a very specific gap in the market. The premium liquor segment in the 'mass market' was completely under-utilized and there were very few players in that segment.
This is when I envisioned building a liquor business in this country that provided the market with International standard quality of products that would also be value for money. I envisioned bringing my father's products to India, but with market research, understood that to be truly price competitive, I needed to manufacture in India. Each state here is like a different country.
With this thought in mind I started I Brands Beverages Ltd. and our flagship product was Granton Whisky.