The first batch of this gin — Oregin — has been launched in Goa, Mumbai, Delhi and Chandigarh. Priced at Rs 1,800 for 750 ml bottle, the sale of 25,000 gin cases distilled till now will determine how many would be produced each year. Of these, 13,000 bottles have been sold in Goa alone,” said Mangal Singh, Chairman, PAIC.
Kinnow is one of the most important horticulture crops of Punjab as well as neighbouring states of Haryana and Rajasthan. However, only the top grade fruit is sold to retail customers, while undersized fruit (C and D grade) mostly goes waste.
“Though Punjab Agro Industries Corporation initially tried to use these kinnows to extract and market juices, the taste did not find favour with consumers because it was a little bitter,” a top official of the PAIC said.
It was then decided to explore other available value addition initiatives for the use of such kinnows which in turn would give financial support to farmers.
A French sommelier was brought on board and after two years of perfecting a recipe (using kinnow, juniper and other spices) and tasting sessions held at several places, the PAIC decided to go ahead with its commercial launch. The PAIC has tied up with a craft distillery in Goa for manufacturing gin.
“A patent for the gin has already been filed,” said Kumar Amit, Managing Director, PAIC.
Officials in the PAIC say low-grade kinnows would be bought from growers on the existing market rates, though a minimum base price of Rs 8 per kg had been fixed.
As the brand gains popularity, PAIC officials say they could procure upto 50,000 quintals of kinnow each year for making gin.