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Bengaluru Women on a New High with Wine ventures

LisaRao

Look like a girl. Act like a lady. Think like a man. Work like a boss. The women of Bengaluru have always exhibited feminine power with impassioned sophistication, rejecting stereotypical norms with compelling grace.

This powerful quality has percolated into yet another man’s domain -the business of nightlife and alcoholic beverages. Bengaluru women are making strides in every aspect of the business of alcohol ­ conceptualising and successfully running pubs, manufacturing spirits, critiquing wines and conjuring cocktails with feline panache.

Take Gitanjali Budhrani and Payal Shah, two young friends who own Bootlegger, a watering hole on Vittal Mallya Road. “I am a Bengaluru girl.I have been visiting pubs since childhood. I studied in pub-city London.So, I wanted to bring back oldengolden Bengaluru,“ said Budhrani.It was not an easy climb. “Cops and excise officials hesitate to talk to women. They rather speak to my male staff. But Payal and I insisted on holding our fort. Officials acknowledge us now. Bengaluru is still a safer city to open a bar as a woman,“ she said. “Women are less aggressive and know the knack of han dling a situation. I am an extrovert but draw an imaginary line of diplomacy ,“ she said, listing a number of city nightclubs such as Opus, Extreme Sports Bar and High Ultra Lounge that employ many women.

Bengaluru is also home to women wine connoisseurs. Ruma Singh is a passionate one. “Wine is history , geography and chemistry . It is more than an alcoholic beverage,“ said Singh, who has cleared the prestigious Wine & Spirit Education Trust exams and writes on wine for multiple publications. “Research shows that women are going to foster the worldwide growth of wine. Wine expert Steven Spurrier says that wine requires an open-mindedness that only a woman can bring. Women are becoming a strong support system for the wine industry in Bengaluru and internationally ,“ she said.Shambhavi-Wine

Talk about wineries in Bengaluru, and several women’s names surface. Shambhavi Hingorani (See Pic on right) of SDU Winery was the first woman to head a winery in India. Kapil Grover’s daughter Karishma Grover is actively involved with Grover Vineyards and is the third generation in the family business.

Nirupa Shankar, director of Brigade Hospitality Services, who conceptualised the roof-top bar High Ultra Lounge in Malleshwaram, emphasises on talent and passion over gender. “I have been raised to focus on my job rather than my gender.My partnerships with liquor vendors have actually been respectful and professional.“

Agrees Lisa Srao, (top pic) chairman and managing director of I Brands Beverages, which manufactures whisky , dark rum and French brandy.“Alcohol for me is a business like any other. I dislike the stigma attached to women and alcohol.“

Source : ET, March, 2015



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