Unforgotten Brands: Sosyo

sosyo

This cider-like fruit “Indian” drink has been steadily gaining marketshare but in India and internationally too

Abbas Abdul Rahim Hajoori and Mohsin A. Hajoori,  Dawoodi Bohra brothers, began the business in 1923 to fulfil refill orders for VIMTO, a British soft drink manufacturer. Mohsin Hajoori, the younger brother, after the untimely death of AA Hajoori, discontinued work for the British company in 1938.

Perhaps inspired by Mahatma Gandhi’s Swadeshi philosophy, Mohsin had socialist leanings and was actively involved in the independence struggle and freedom fighters.

Since only English-made beverages were sold in India back then, Mohsin reasoned that if they were to be prohibited, the locals would have to come up with an alternative. A soda was offered by him.

The Original Drink

After considering the pros and cons of its alcohol-like flavour, Mohsin settled on the moniker “Whisky No” for his product. The fact that it was alcohol-free was good news for not-so-sober people.

“Whisky No” was a smash hit in Surat and started to gain traction throughout the nation once the plan was successful. Anywhere Mohsin could attach a bullock-cart to and ride himself to market his revolutionary new invention would be considered elsewhere. He made and marketed “Whisky No” on his own. He arrived in London with his soda-making apparatus. Subsequently, he pounced on semi-automatic, hand-filling soda machines produced by Indian businesses. Nothing has changed with his drink recipe. It wasn’t until 1960 that “Whisky No” changed its name.

Renaming

Socio’ was the new name Mohsin chose for the soft drink brand. The Latin word “socious”—”to be a member”—is the origin of the English term “socio,” which originally meant “ally,” “friend,” or “comrade” in ancient Roman times. Mohsin wanted Indian consumers to try a domestic beverage instead of the widely consumed international brands; therefore, he came up with this name. Additionally, the essence, a crucial component of the soft drink, originated in Italy. Additionally, “socio” is the Italian term for a social drink.

And the fact that Sosyo has an alcoholic flavour is its USP. However, that is not the case. This cider-like fruit drink is a blend of grapes and apples, with a few Italian and German ingredients thrown in for good measure. That, when drunk cold, delivers a serious punch.

Socio became the preferred beverage of the Surat population shortly after its release and quickly gained popularity. After discovering that the locals’ pronunciation of the drink’s name differed from Socio, the management decided to change the name to Sosyo to reflect the local diction and accent. Rebranding as Sosyo in 1953 was a daring and entrepreneurial move by Sosyo Hajoori Beverages Pvt. Ltd., which acknowledged and respected the widespread use of the name among their clientele.

Some people use it as a mood enhancer. Some people have it because they’re just not cola fans. Great drinkers of the nation have been led astray by the first presentation of Sosyo, which gives the impression of a carbonated blend of whisky, rum, and soda.

The cities of Surat, Gujarat, and Maharashtra—where the bottling operations are located—consume the majority of Sosyo’s 50 million bottles annually. Sales have reached the United Arab Emirates, South Africa, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States. ‘An Indian Drink’ is printed on the bottles before they are shipped, over a tricolour background.

Reliance Retail’s wholly-owned subsidiary, Reliance Consumer Products, bought out 50% of Sosyo Hajoori Beverages in January 2023.

Reference

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sosyo#:~:text=Mohsin%20Hajoori%20introduced%20Sosyo%20in,it%20became%20a%20social%20drink.

https://www.uppercrustindia.com/oldsite/8crust/eight/feature4.htm

https://www.hajoori.com/about.php

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/ahmedabad/sosyo-gandhi-inspired-drink-close-to-whisky-rum-cocktail/articleshow/4206888.cms

1 Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *