Bengaluru-headquartered alcoholic beverages company, United Spirits Ltd (USL) has invested Rs 27 crore to pick up 26 percent stake in payment technology startup, Hip Bar Private Ltd, in its bid to drive sales through e-commerce route.

The entire investment for stake acquisition was paid by UCL in cash. Following the company’s investment, Hip Bar has become an “associate company”.

Founded in 2015, Chennai-based Hip Bar claims to be India's first drinks delivery app with an RBI-approved mobile wallet that enables customers browse adult beverages, order them and have them home-delivered or pick them up at a retail store at their convenience.

The startup was founded by Prasanna Natarajan, who previously founded Sipping Spirits, India's first boutique spirit bottling company in 2007, quietly carving a niche in the Indian alcohol beverages space.

Hip Bar currently operates in Bengaluru, Goa and Chennai and digitally connects alcohol brands, retail stores and consumers through a common platform.

According to USL-the flagship liquor arm of Diageo India, Hip Bar would continue to run as an independent enterprise under the leadership of its founders.

Anand Kripalu, CEO and Managing Director of Diageo India, which owns USL, said, "At Diageo India, we have been innovating and meeting consumer trends by offering new products and formats. This investment allows us to discover ideas that anticipate shifts in consumer behaviour and enables us to remain at the forefront of trends."

With imposition of umbrella ban on liquor sales in a few Indian states apart from rising scrutiny from judiciary, retail sales of liquor had taken a hit during the last fiscal. Against this backdrop, Diageo India had earlier said that it would tap e-commerce route to drive sales in the future and the current acquisition is a step in that direction.

Via - Business Standard

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