Today, 130 years later, Murzban Irani, his great grandson continues the legacy with pride and was pleased to explain the history of Ardeshir’s. His family first arrived in India in the mid 19th century along with the exodus of Zorashtrian Parsi Irani’s from Iran under the British reign. Ardeshir spent his first few years in Bombay (now Mumbai), before finally making Pune his home, where he pioneered the local cold drink. He then proudly named the cold drink Ardeshir’s. British soldiers and some Indians would savour the drink in its early days, and over the years it has become a local delight.
Traditionally known for its two flavours being Soda and Raspberry, today it can boast of 10 distinct flavours. I was surprised to know that even in todays’s day and age Ardeshir’s cold drinks are modestly priced at Rs 7 and the latest addition, the Jeera flavor drink is priced at Rs10. Another little surprise is to know that although Ardeshir cold drink caters mostly to the restaurant in and around Camp owing to its physical proximity, it has seen a decent demand from retailers in Pimpri and Chinchwad. When asked about competition from large corporations and international brands, Irani shrugs the possibility. He believes his brand has a market that will not die down so easily. As far as the taste and quality of Ardeshir’s is concerned, I feel it could give any international brand a run for their money.
Ardeshhir’s has come a long way since its inception in 1884. Murzaban proudly flaunted some of the old quaint handmade paintings and sketches used for advertising Ardeswhir’s more than a century ago. These alone were priceless to my eyes. Ardeshir’s has stood the test of time and managed to keep its head above water. Plans to expand distribution and production of this 130-year-old brand are bubbling under the horizon.
Sameer Khan is a playwright, author, blogger, founder of theatre group ‘Motley Monks’. He tweets @SamKhan999