“Bhaiya, ek Bisleri dena.” Isn’t this what most of us say when we ask for bottled water at a shop? That, right there, is the legacy of Bisleri. Today, Bisleri has become synonymous with water in India, why wouldn’t it be? It’s a brand that holds a 60 per cent share of the water bottle industry. Now, Bisleri is tentatively being sold to Tata Consumer Products Ltd. for ₹7,000 crores.
But that’s not where this story begins.
Bisleri might have become a beloved Indian brand but it isn’t truly Indian. Bisleri was founded by an Italian businessman, inventor and chemist- Signor Felice Bisleri. After the demise of Felice Bisleri in 1921, Dr Rossi, the family doctor and close friend of Bisleri, became the owner of the Bisleri company.
In 1965, Dr Rossi and Indian businessman Khushroo Suntook set up a factory in Thane, introducing Bisleri bottled water in India. At that time it was only available at 5-star hotels and expensive restaurants. But Dr Rossi and Mr Suntook knew that to grow they needed to sell it to the common people.
So, within 4 years of its establishment in India, the duo decided to sell the business. That’s when Ramesh Chauhan of Parle Group bought Bisleri for ₹4 lakh, and took bottled water from 5-star hotels to the common people.
The brand became so famous that several other brands started copying it and came up with names like Bisreli, Bilseri, Belsri, etc.
And that’s when Bisleri came up with its brilliant tagline – “Har paani ki bottle Bisleri nahi hoti.”
The journey of Bisleri is full of such witty ads making it the success it is today.
And now, after around 57 years, the 82-year-old business honcho is planning to sell his bottled water business. He is in talks with several companies including Tata but denied a report that a ₹7,000 crore deal has been finalised with Tata Consumer Products Ltd (TCPL).
Chauhan wants someone to not just buy the company but also to look after it and nurture it. It would be interesting to see how this multi-thousand crores deal turns out. But one thing is for sure, Ramesh Chauhan is a genius who made Bisleri the synonym for water in a country like India.