The Happy High: It is all about the spirit
One-stop-shop for wine and spirit education
For Ajit Balgi, 32, wine and dine has always been a hobby and a passion. But everywhere he looked around in the dining space he saw a lot of mediocrity. Restaurants were serving poor quality stuff either due to lack of awareness or deliberately to cash in on the consumer’s lack of it.
The consumers were happily paying. In most cases they fell for the gimmicks without realizing what they were eating or drinking. His startup ‘The Happy High’ aims to raise the bar of hotels and restaurants with respect to wines and spirits. At the same time it looks to engage the consumer to bring them the best.
In a chat with Larry Bradley, he talks about how why he chose to be an entrepreneur and how he intends to up the game in the gourmet scene in the country:
Turning a passion into a profession: After I completed MBA I joined back the food and beverage industry. I felt I should venture out on my own. I felt I had ideas and vision for a product and brand. If I were to suggest that to a company they may not consider it. Or they may ask for changes as per their requirement. But if it were my own brand then I could use my ideas and thought process. I could mould it the way I want it. Many people in the circle already know me. I decided to leverage on my knowledge and my contacts and offer customized services. One thing led to another and ‘The Happy High’ was born officially in 2014.
Raising the bar:
I was in the wine and food industry for around 14 years. After my brief stints with FMCG and study in services marketing and sales, I realised that I was made for wine and spirits. I decided to fill in the gap where there was shortage in demand and supply. ‘The Happy High’ aims to be the one- stop- shop for wine and spirit education and consultancy services in India. We intend to raise the bar of food, wine and spirit appreciation by creating awareness about quality with both professionals and the end- consumer. Our key driving forces are our passion for food and beverages.
End- to- end services: We provide a wide gamut of services. When it comes to hotels we customize trainings/ menus based not only on their business needs but also trends and market knowledge. We help corporates to make their after-dark work hours more fruitful and confident. I endorse products on liquor companies as an independent expert.
We initiate customers to the world of wine and spirits with bespoke dining experiences, tasting workshops and more. We answer their queries on what to buy and how. Since we are a service providing company, we charge a fee for the services we provide. These would be for bespoke events or corporate training or even one- on- one individual grooming session with our clients. Till now we are completely bootstrapped and have not raised any funds.
Initially when I started off the concept, it was very new and not many people were receptive of the same, hence first year was a struggle. But gradually things started picking up and with many expats and more people exposed to International travel. The need to understand what they consume has increased and thus our services are gaining acceptance. There is nothing better than being on a happy high!
What is you take on wine and spirit education in India. Do share your views.