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Doja Gin by East Side Distillery

DOJA is the world’s First In(do-Ja)panese Craft Gin. It’s the first craft spirit launched by East Side Distillery, a new and
innovative Indian spirits company with global aspirations. DOJA is the result of native botanicals from Japan and India mixed to concoct a new wave craft gin that honours a legacy of ‘2 cultures in 1 sip’. The artisanal small-batch gin is produced with the finest native botanicals from the rich lands of India and Japan’s Wakayama prefecture. A Yuzu-dominant base gin with hints of Cedar, Sansho Pepper, and Hinoki in combination with traditional botanicals from India like Coriander, Pepper, Fennel, and Cardamom.

Crafted by a veteran master distiller in a well-respected distillery in Wakayama, Japan and produced in the Goa-based,
East Side Distillery, the idea for Doja was helmed by Jai Anand who wants to bring a new wave of craft gin to India to
elevate the drinking culture around gin. Doja uses a method of distillation called single shot which is known to be best for craft gins. Once the gin is distilled through a steaming process, it is blended with demineralized water to a bottling strength of 42.8% ABV. This method retains all the essential oils from the botanicals and brings a silky mouthfeel that coats the mouth. These essential oils give DOJA its distinct aroma and flavour. Doja in Goa is distilled by Doja’s Head Distiller of international repute. The gin is full-bodied, it coats the mouth and leaves a citrus aftertaste. Doja will begin distribution in Goa first and will move to other parts of India by early 2022. In this feature we speak with Jai Anand about the gin’s USP, future plans of the brand, etc.

What was the thought behind coming up with an Indo-Japanese gin?
The idea behind creating an Indo-Japanese gin like DOJA was to represent the collaboration between India and Japan – two countries with diverse backgrounds but linked by their intense affiliation with their history and culture. DOJA aimed to embody ‘two cultures in one sip’ by blending Japanese botanicals like yuzu, cedar, sansho pepper, and hinoki with traditional Indian botanicals like coriander, pepper, fennel, and cardamom.The name itself – ‘DOJA’ – blends the ‘do’ from ‘Indo’ and ‘ja’ from Japan. This unique cross-cultural collaboration between East Side Distillery and the renowned Nakano BC distillery in Wakayama, Japan, resulted in an award-winning gin that has garnered global recognition, including a Gold medal at the prestigious Global Asian Masters competition.

What is the USP of your drinks/alcoholic beverages?
East Side Distillery’s unique selling proposition lies in their masterful fusion of cultures like their fusion of Indian and Japanese ingredients and flavors. DOJA is touted as the ‘world’s first Indo-Japanese gin,’ while Nomad Oscuro Dark Rum is a blend of aged rum, Japanese Hinoki, and finished in Jamaican barrels and Portal is Crafted in the classic London Dry style which features a carefully selected blend of Indian botanicals. This East-meets-West approach to crafting spirits sets East Side Distillery apart, and their commitment to excellence has earned them numerous accolades, including a Gold medal for Nomad Oscuro at the prestigious Rum & Cachaça Masters 2024 competition and Gold at the Global Asian Masters for both Doja gin and Portal Gin.

 Where are your brands currently available?
East Side’s flagship DOJA gin first launched in their home state of Goa in November 2021, before expanding to major Indian cities like Delhi Mumbai, Goa, Japan and Duty Free in Mumbai, Delhi, Trivandrum, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Colombo, Male. Portal Gin and Nomad Rum are available in Mumbai and Goa. Furthermore, East Side Distillery had the opportunity to showcase their award-winning spirits at the renowned ProWine Singapore event from April 23-26, 2024, further extending their global reach.

Does gin drinking have anything to do with age or lifestyles or just personal
tastes and preferences?
Gin drinking is not restricted by age or lifestyle, Gins seem geared towards those with refined palates and personal preferences for the extraordinary. East Side Distillery positions their unique craft gins like DOJA and Portal as premium products meant for discerning spirits connoisseurs and enthusiasts. East side distillery’s meticulous production methods, use of exotic botanicals shows they are targeting gin aficionados who appreciate distinctive, artisanal flavors and are willing to have a remarkable drinking experience.

What’s the secret behind producing an excellent bottle of gin?
The excellence of both Doja and Portal gins lies in East Side’s fundamental pillars – a boundless passion for their craft, relentless innovation in ingredients and processes, and an uncompromising commitment to quality over quantity. Every bottle, whether the cross-cultural DOJA or the classic London Dry Portal, goes through rigorous refinement to create a spirit that transcends the ordinary.

How do you think your gin pairs with Indian food?
The use of traditional Indian botanicals like coriander, cardamom, pepper and fennel in DOJA gin pair beautifully with many Indian dishes and flavors. The warm spices complement robustly spiced curries, tandoori preparations and other regional
delicacies. The citrusy notes from yuzu cut through richer dishes, while the herbal and woodsy hints from Japanese botanicals like hinoki wood lend an aromatic dimension. DOJA’s complex yet balanced botanical blend is tailor-made to pair with the varied spices and multi-layered flavors in Indian cuisine.

Future plans of East Side Distillery?
ESD wishes to solidify its position as a world class Indian craft spirits company with an Asian heart. To enable this, we have added two more products to the portfolio, Portal London Dry Gin and Nomad Oscuro Dark Spiced Rum. Both these products have also won international Gold medals in addition to the flagship Doja brand. The organisation now also offers its exquisite capabilities to select partners for contract distilling opportunities, be it for white labelling or private consumption. ESD’s contract portfolio now boasts of a variety of spirits for clients to choose from including Gins, Rums, Vodkas, Tequilas and whiskies. ESD also wishes to expand its presence internationally with its award winning products.



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