EXCLUSIVE: Vir Das Turns Beer Craftsman With ‘FAAAAKIT’
Cracking open a cold one with the funnyman himself
With an international tour behind him and a whole list of Indian cities to cover, comedian Vir Das seems to have his hands quite full in 2022, and he’s now got several cans of beer to juggle as well.
After plenty of deliberation and planning, Das has recently launched his very own brand of beer—a light, refreshing, fruity brew named FAAAAKIT.
WHY??? BECAUSE I LIKE BEER!!!! But I’m terrible at advertising it apparently. Sometimes you just say #FAAAAKIT and launch it anyway. Get the happy beer! @greatstateales #collab— Vir Das (@thevirdas) June 1, 2022
Disclaimer: No fancy ad agencies were harmed (or used) in the making of this promo. pic.twitter.com/38xs0eP8AQ
We catch up with Vir Das as he dives into the beer business, hoping to learn a bit more about the funnyman’s super-successful new tour and his quest to make the perfect Sunday-afternoon brew.
Where did you get the idea to make your own beer?
I’ve always thought that comedy, as a brand or at least a psychology, extends to merchandise and other products as well. Usually, celebrities don’t represent a specific emotion, but with comedians you very specifically represent laughter, ease, happiness… and if there are products which represent that, you get tied up with them. If you actually use the products you endorse, wouldn’t that be a fun change?
Now, I don’t drink hard alcohol at all because I tour a lot and I don’t enjoy the taste; I’m a beer guy. At the end of the week, or at the end of a movie shoot or schedule, I reward myself with beer. However, in the last few years, I found that the culture surrounding beer became somewhat alienating, snobby, or alpha-male, so I wanted to design a happy beer for people who aren’t trying too hard.
This represents my fanbase as well, which is always ready to laugh, chill out, and isn’t worried about how those behaviours are perceived.
How did you set up everything, from concept to the can itself?
I knew what I wanted to do two years ago. I aimed to break into beer and knew what kind of marketing I’d need, but then the pandemic happened.
So… a year ago, we started shopping around for breweries, and Great State Aleworks kept popping up, with plenty of people saying that they made the best craft beer. We eventually sat down with a bunch of our people and settled with them.
This was followed by seven tastings where we drank a shit-ton of beer, eventually landing the taste profile that we were looking for. We also surveyed a lot of people. Our tasting panel was diverse too, with three women, some non-beer drinkers, and some beer snobs as well.
As far as the marketing goes, everything including the design is DIY. We were determined to not add in agencies into the mix, because that’s not how I run my own brand. All my tour promos and posters are cut personally at my company, with my graphic designer working on them himself. We shot the promo on my camera, edited it as well, and also wrote the script myself.
Finally, we brewed our initial batch. This took about a month and a half, and sold out in six days! We’re now working on releasing bigger batches and are looking to expand further into North India, Goa, and other territories.
What kind of beer do you personally prefer?
Honestly, I enjoy light beers like FAAAAKIT, as well. Ciders, however, were my starting point for creating this brew, as I wanted the sweetness and lightness that’s characteristic to them.
I like to drink beer at 2PM on a Sunday; I don’t want something that leaves you smashed by 4PM and too bloated to eat afterwards. I also drink beer with women, so I think something that’s somewhat gender-neutral would be ideal.
Your current ‘Wanted’ tour is your biggest so far. Tell us about it.
It’s done a fair bit in America and 13 cities in India, followed by 20 more. I think we’ll also do 15 to 19 more countries in the next six months! It’s good to be back out again. I’ve spent a fair amount of time in shooting and acting, while working overtime across the last several months to rebuild my touring career.
It’s interesting… the tickets have sold out at thrice the capacity of the last time we ran a world tour. In that sense, it’s been great and with the material I’ve brought in, people really seem to be enjoying it.
What’s the difference between your Indian and International audiences?
I think the line is blurring a lot. I don’t think there’s ‘Indian’ content as such anymore; I think it’s all global now. If someone has read Variety or Hollywood Reporter reviews of the film RRR, we can see they’re enjoying it as much as us, and I feel the same about us regarding the rest of the world.
Sometimes, people forget that we’re the largest English-speaking population in the world. It’s a sizable audience that loves standup, constantly watches shows, and now shares English standup sets on a worldwide scale. In India, it’s important to tell a good story, and sharing that Indian story abroad helps the comedy feel more authentic.
What’s your plans for the rest of 2022?
I’ve just been on a lot of sets recently. I’ve been showrunning, directing, and starring in a new project that will soon release on OTT platforms; it’s currently in post-production. I’m also writing my next movie, which I think will go on-floor in early 2023, and am also developing an American TV show that I’ll star in for Fox CBS.
For the next six months, I’m just looking to get on the road.
(Featured Image Credits: Vir Das, FAAAAKIT)