Albens Cider
    Category: Rising Global Stars By : Forbes Indonesia team Read : 2812 Date : Monday, May 09, 2016 - 05:42:02

    Ahmad Zamroni / Forbes Indonesia

    Dina Rimandra Handayani, 28, recalls she first encountered the popularity of hard cider while she was studying for her MBA at Imperial College in London. “I traveled to several Europe countries; it was there that I noticed there are a lot of cider drinks being sold. Even though I was studying, I thought that instead of bringing home a degree, I’ll bring back a business plan,” she says. After returning to Indonesia, she put her plan into action, raising $2 million and bringing in two partners, Englishmen Alessio Cristofoletto and Ben Wakefield, both as technical advisors (Dina retained 100% ownership).

    The formal name of the company was PT Indosarnia but they picked the brand name Albens from the Italian phrase albero venne volante, which means “lucky tree” (others say Albens is a contraction of the first names of Alessio and Ben). They chose to make the cider in Bali, to tap the tourism trade and the lack of restrictions on alcohol on the majority Hindu island. It still took two years of work to clear all the technical and bureaucratic hurdles; finally in 2012 the first bottles came on the market. Just a year after launching, Dina sold majority 51% control to food company PT Tiga Pilar Sejahtera, known as TPS, allowing Albens to tap the expertise, distribution network and financial muscle of a bigger firm. Dina says Albens has projected revenues of $3.6 million for next year.

    Dina picked cider in part because she can source apples in Indonesia, saving on the costs of importing ingredients, a problem for local wine and beer makers. Dina feels the prospects for cider are bright. One of the biggest challenges is that Indonesians are not familiar with hard cider, so the company spends heavily on marketing and promotion. Its advertisements feature the tagline: “Think Different. Drink Different.”

    With the introduction of the heavyweight TPS, which has export expertise and ambitious growth targets, it’s no surprise that Albens is now expanding outside Indonesia. Aside from being available in 2,000 outlets in Indonesia, Albens is now being exported to Australia, Malaysia and Singapore. “We are also in the process of approaching Hong Kong and Thailand for a future expansion. We are still in the middle of negotiation with distributors,” she says.