The ‘Feni’tastic Brand of Goan Elixir

Reuben Ramos and Tanishq Palyekar’s venture Moji Feni aims to preserve and promote the essence of Goa through its authentic Feni 

With a mission to create and promote high-quality, home-grown alcohol brands that capture the essence of Goa, Reuben Ramos and Tanishq Palyekar founded Finally Friday Spirits Pvt. Ltd., a Goa-based alcohol branding company dedicated to celebrate the rich heritage and vibrant culture of the region through exceptional spirits. The duo launched the venture with a view to bring the unique flavours and traditions of Goa to a wider audience. One of the offerings of the venture is Moji Feni, a brand that was born out of their deep-rooted love for Goa and a desire to share its unique cultural heritage with the world. To achieve this, Reuben and Tanishq decided to create a premium brand with a unique recipe that honours tradition while incorporating modern techniques, a true delight to the senses. Moji, says Reuben “Means ‘Mine’ in Konkani and perfectly encapsulates our vision − creating a brand that is truly ours, a symbol of Goa, crafted for the people of Goa and beyond.”

The primary ingredient in Moji Feni is the cashew apple, which is meticulously sourced from the quaint villages of Pernem. This region, renowned for its fertile soil and ideal climate, produces some of the finest cashew apples in Goa. The team, by working closely with local farmers, ensures that only the best cashew apples are selected for making the Feni, and also preserves the traditional methods that have been passed down through generations. Reuben and Tanishq’s dedication to sourcing locally not only guarantees the exceptional quality of Moji Feni but also supports the local economy and community and as they work with local farmers and distilleries, the duo is proud to contribute to the preservation of traditional practices and the sustainability of the region’s agricultural heritage.

Reuben Ramos

A lot of work goes into the making of the Feni, including an additional purification process after the final stage of distillation. Moji Feni is triple charcoal distilled and the makers have crafted a handmade charcoal filter specifically for this purpose. “Charcoal has natural adsorptive properties that effectively reduces unwanted odours and makes it smoother. This makes Moji Feni more approachable for those who might be sensitive to the traditional aroma of Feni,” says Reuben. This also allows the team to make the Feni more palatable to those outside the state who may not be accustomed to its traditional aroma. The brand’s mission is twofold: to elevate the status of Goa and its iconic spirit, Feni, on the global stage. Feni, believes Reuben, has a rich history and a distinctive character that must be preserved while making it more appealing to a broader audience, something that the company always strives to accomplish.

Finally Friday Spirits Pvt. Ltd., takes pride in not only crafting premium Feni but also in exploring its versatility through unique and innovative cocktails. Their Instagram page showcases a variety of cocktail recipes, each designed to highlight the distinctive qualities of their signature spirit. One of their standout creations is the ‘Marie Me,’ a cocktail that redefines the traditional Bloody Mary with a Goan twist. This unique blend features their signature Feni, tomato juice, Tabasco, and Worcestershire sauce. This melange creates a spicy, savoury drink that perfectly balances the bold flavours of Feni with the classic elements of a Bloody Mary, offering a refreshing and intriguing experience. Another of their offerings is the ‘Moji-To,’ a delightful take on the classic mojito. Elaborating on the beverage, Reuben says, “This cocktail combines our signature Feni with muddled mint leaves and lime juice, topped with soda. The Feni adds a unique depth to the refreshing mint and lime, making the Moji-To a perfect drink for any occasion.” Moji Feni’s versatility doesn’t end there. Its unique profile offers endless possibilities for creativity and enjoyment, whether one is crafting a new signature drink or adding a Goan twist to a classic; Moji Feni can be experimented with and incorporated into a variety of brands and cocktails.

In line with their vision, the company’s branding and packaging reflects their commitment to excellence and authenticity, designed to captivate and resonate with connoisseurs around the globe. The duo has collaborated with some of the finest designers to create a distinctive and premium label for Moji Feni which features beautiful hand-painted art. “This artistic approach not only sets our product apart on the shelves but also tells a story of tradition and innovation,” adds Reuben. Sustainability is at the core of the team’s venture and the packaging is crafted from eco-friendly materials that minimise environmental impact, so that the company not only creates a superior product, but also contributes positively to the environment. Moji Feni resonates well with its customers and is currently available in more than a hundred stores all over the state.

Tanishq Palyekar

At the recently organised Cashew Fest 2024, Moji Feni was the centre of attraction. The festival, organised by the Government of Goa, is an initiative aimed at promoting local brands and celebrating the rich cultural heritage of the state. Commenting on the occasion, Reuben says, “The Cashew Fest provided an incredible platform for us to showcase Moji Feni and connect with a broader audience. The government’s support for local brands was evident throughout the event, helping to highlight the quality and uniqueness of Goan products.”

While Finally Friday Spirits Pvt. Ltd. is a young and thriving brand, the journey thus far was no smooth sailing for Reuben, Tanishq and their team. The diminishing yield of cashew apples over the past few years has been a significant cause of concern for the company. This decline in production has impacted the availability of the primary ingredient needed to create this traditional Goan spirit, thereby threatening both the heritage and the livelihoods of those involved in its production. To overcome this hurdle, the company has initiated collaborative efforts with local farmers to plant more cashew trees, thereby, boosting the production of cashew apples while also supporting sustainable agricultural practices within the community. The limited market for Feni, which can currently be sold only within the state of Goa, is another hurdle that the company faces. “This limitation hampers the growth potential of the industry and limits the opportunity for Feni enthusiasts across India to experience this distinctive drink,” says Reuben who adds, “However, there is promising progress on this front. The government is actively working to relax these regulations, striving to make Feni accessible throughout the country.” This being said, the team aims to position Moji as a premium spirit that stands out in the global market by refining the production process and enhancing the quality of the Feni.

The company’s goal is to put Goa and its beloved Feni on the world map by celebrating the state’s rich heritage and sharing the authentic taste of Goa with spirits enthusiasts everywhere. “Moji Feni is not just a drink; it’s a testament to our passion for Goa, our respect for its traditions, and our commitment to innovation,” says Reuben who warmly welcomes everyone to join them in their journey and experience the essence of Goa like never before.

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