Rohan Rehani, Co-founder of Moonshine Meadery

Founder Duo of Moonshine Meadery

Interview with Rohan Rehani, Co-founder of Moonshine Meadery

Rohan Rehani and Nitin Vishwas are Co-Founders of Moonshine Meadery, Asia’s first meadery that brought back Mead—an Ancient Royal Beverage made by fermenting honey, fruits and spices—in refreshing modern avatars. 

Best friends since 1987, i.e 35 years of friendship, Rohan and Nitin both grew up in a small township in Haldia, moved to Mumbai for a brief period before going to boarding in Pune together.

Later, while Nitin moved to Mysuru for engineering at the National Institute of Engineering, Rohan stayed back in Pune and pursued the same at Pune University.

Post engineering, the duo moved to Mumbai for their careers—Nitin with L&T and Rohan joined 

While Nitin has over 15 years of experience across multiple sectors such as healthcare, foods, hi-tech, manufacturing and infrastructure, Rohan’s 15 years of background lies in core manufacturing and M&A.

Furthermore, Nitin has also worked as a consultant in Feedback Ventures and McKinsey and Co. However, after over six years in consulting, Nitin joined Abbott Healthcare Pvt Ltd as an Associate Director, heading Strategy and Sales Force Excellence.

Meanwhile, Rohan was double hatting as a Partner with a boutique firm dealing with M&A and a business advisory for SMEs in India while heading a manufacturing plant in Gujarat. 

An alumnus of ISB, Hyderabad, Nitin leads Moonshine with a passion for excellence and the intent of fostering a love for meads amongst Indians and promoting that #MeadIsNotBeer.

Simultaneously, Rohan is a visionary leader whose curiosity and quest for knowledge led him to learn beekeeping from the Central Beekeeping and Training Institute, Pune and intern with the Colony Meadery in Pennsylvania, USA. 

The idea of running a meadery was born to the duo in 2014 when Nitin read a news article about meads in an inflight magazine while traveling.

At the same time, Rohan was in Jamnagar to run a brass extrusion plant. The lack of flavourful alcohol in the

country further motivated them to build Asia’s first meadery in India—Moonshine Meadery. Although Moonshine’s humble beginnings can be traced back to a garage project in 2016, today, the meadery has grown massively. 

Sourcing honey directly from beekeepers, Moonshine offers not only its flagship meads—Apple Cyder Mead, Traditional Mead and Coffee Mead—which are available all year round but also seasonal meads known as MeadLABs.

These include Salted Kokum Mead, Guava Chilli Mead, Chocolate Orange Mead, Bourbon Oaked Apple Mead, and many more.

Apart from offering meads, the brand also has its own ‘Moonshine Honey Project’, which uses a unique ‘Hive to Table’ approach.

Through this, they offer a variety of uniflora honey, such as—Acacia Honey, Mustard Honey, Sidr Honey—freshly sourced from their own bee boxes – available for sale directly from their website – 

Since mead is made using honey and not other food crops, Nitin and Rohan’s Moonshine Meadery focuses on adding to the value stream of the food chain by providing a better yield and supplemental income to farmers.

This allows them to grow crops of their choice on their farmland, promoting multi-cropping & taking us one step closer to a sustainable ecosystem.

Please tell us a little about your entrepreneurial journey

Rohan Rehani: Nitin and I are first time entrepreneurs with no background in the alco-bev industry. Making meads started as a garage project in 2014, and we finally incorporated in 2016. It took 2 years for us to get all licences before the market launch in 2018.

How did you first get interested in mead, and what inspired you to start meadery

Rohan Rehani: In 2014, Nitin read about London’s first meadery in an inflight magazine. Although we had previously read about ancient meads, we were unaware that they still existed and were consumed today.

In the year 2016, in my grandmother’s kitchen, we began some experiments with making meads out of curiosity about how they would taste.

It started out as a hobby, but after seeing how well our friends and family responded, we decided to make it a business. Thus, Moonshine Meadery, India’s and Asia’s first mead brand, was born.

Through moonshine, we’re bringing back mead, the world’s oldest alcoholic beverage, in a contemporary form. The brand offers a wide variety of meads that suit the differing preferences of our customers.

Can you describe your process for making mead, and what sets your mead apart from others?.

Rohan Rehani: The preparation of mead includes a lot of variables, such as temperature, acidity, and a variety of other minor factors.

We mix honey and water together with yeast, and we let it ferment for anywhere between 10 and 14 days, after which it’s filtered, carbonated, and bottled.

What sets our mead apart is our honey. Each of Moonshine’s meads is made of 100% pure honey. Since honey is the most important raw material in the manufacturing of meads, we try our best to source the honey we use directly from beekeepers in different parts of the country.

We also have 300 odd bee boxes under our Moonshine Honey Project that give us single-variety honey—some of which we ferment, while the rest we package and sell.

We got into mead making because we loved the beverage and the craft, and we believe that always reflects in our meads.

What are some of the challenges you’ve faced in starting a meadery in India, and how have you overcome them?

Rohan Rehani: Our biggest challenge has been building awareness of the brand among consumers. This occurred to us immediately after our launch. When we chose to go commercial, we realised that the category for

meads did not even exist. So we spent nearly two years getting all the policy changes in place before we could launch in the market.

And, as a young insurgent brand with limited marketing spends, we have spent and still spend a lot of time meeting consumers one-on-one, either at events, or during meadery tours.

This has been helping convert customers into evangelists, which leads to more word of mouth and awareness about the brand.

How do you see the mead industry developing in India in the coming years?

Rohan Rehani: The global mead beverage market is projected to grow from USD 487.9 million in 2021 to USD 1,621.0 million in 2028 at a CAGR of 18.71% during the 2021-2022 period. (Source :

Currently, it holds a substantial valuation of around half a billion USD. Looking ahead, we foresee a positive outlook for the mead category in India.

There is a noticeable surge in consumer interest in premium, handcrafted beverages that are meticulously crafted using locally-sourced ingredients.

Furthermore, the younger generation is increasingly inclined to explore and experiment with their beverage choices, deviating from the traditional preferences of their parents.

This continued growth in interest and demand from consumers seeking high-quality, artisanal beverages that offer a unique and authentic experience has further reinforced our optimism.

We have successfully carved out a distinct niche in the Indian market, catering to a discerning audience that places great importance on the traceability and sourcing of their food and beverages.

This strategic positioning has allowed us to fill a gap in the market, bridging the space between non-alcoholic, flavorful beverages like Coke and alcoholic, bitter beverages such as commercial beer.

Our meads have garnered strong appreciation from consumers who value ethically sourced and pure honey, as well as other locally-sourced ingredients. We maintain close collaboration with our vendors to ensure unwavering quality consistency in our products.

What are some of the unique flavours and ingredients you use in your mead, and how do you come up with new recipes?

Rohan Rehani: Our unique flavours are our seasonal meads known as MeadLABs—Salted Kokum Mead, Guava Chilli Mead, Chocolate Orange Mead, and Bourbon Oaked Apple Mead, to name a few.

Additionally, our year-round flagship meads—Apple Mead, Traditional Mead, and Coffee Mead – are also well-received.

When it comes to creating mead recipes, meads are quite a blank canvas. So we have done a lot of taste trials with friends and family before launching.

Even today, the team continues to spend time on the ground listening to the pulse of the market, and the feedback is then relayed back to the production team.

Innovation is yet again the key here for us, and to ensure innovation is ingrained in every team member, we make sure that everyone who joins us visits the meadery and makes a small batch using ingredients of their own choice. This gives the team the opportunity to understand how versatile a medium, “mead” is.

How do you source your ingredients, and do you work with local suppliers?

Rohan Rehani: Honey is the key ingredient for meads, and our honey comes from all over the country. We source it from Uttarakhand, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, and even Tamil Nadu.

Currently, we own 300+ bee boxes, and we source part of our honey from our own boxes. As a brand, we don’t use any artificial flavours, so all our ingredients are from either local mandis, fruit processing units, or farmer cooperatives.

Lastly, with the exception of yeast, every element we use to make our meads is sourced in the country, often within a 500-kilometre radius of our meadery.

How do you market your mead, and what are some of the most effective strategies you’ve found?

Rohan Rehani: We have taken a more grassroots approach to marketing our product, primarily through personal interactions with customers.

One of our key strategies is to participate in festivals and events where we can connect with potential customers and introduce them to our brand.

We also offer meadery tours every Sunday, where visitors can personally learn about the history of mead and the production process.

Furthermore, we have leveraged social media to promote our events and build strong relationships with our customers.

What is your success tips for young and aspiring entrepreneurs

Rohan Rehani: I once quoted it and would like to share it again: If an idea keeps you awake all night, it’s an idea worth pursuing.”

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