Cane juice with a dash of lime 'n' ginger?

elixir

Sugarcane is the choice of many — especially during Sankranti and later in summer for juice. What about the juice irrespective of season? Sreekantswamy B gives an account of a dedicated shop in Saraswatipuram.

Coming from the land of sugarcane, little did K V Raghunandan know that one day, he would eke out a living from cane juice. When the distilleries he was working for shut shop, it was the crop of his homeland that gave him a new lease of life.

Raghunandan, a native of Kothathi in the neighbouring Mandya district, is now a successful juice maker in Mysore. Specialised in making only cane juice in different flavours, ‘Cane’ also the name of the shop is one of the popular joints on fourth main, fifth cross of Saraswatipuram.

If a customer just asks for a glass of juice, he or she will get plain sugarcane juice. It’s only in the case of frequent visitors, juice in different flavours will be asked for. From mint to ginger, lime to salt and pepper and chat masala, it’s available in different flavours. The rate per glass is Rs 12.

What comes handy is technology, the shop is equipped to crush sugarcane. A machine imported from Taiwan at a  cost of Rs 1.35 lakh five years ago helps prepare nearly 200 glasses of juice per day. Just insert the piece of sugar cane into the pipe, juice flows out from another.

The crop may be having a season, but the juice doesn’t have, as it’s available throughout the year, says Raghunandan.

According to him, what makes the drink popular is its rarity. Unlike other shops selling fruit juices of types, here cane in different taste is offered.

How the idea came was nothing but the government’s decision to ban arrack. Raghunandan was working with J P Distilleries in Bangalore as a manager. The distilleries brewing arrack had to close shutters following the decision. Raghunandan and his another manager friend Niranjan thought of venturing on their own as partners. By then, they were toying with the idea of sugarcane juice. A company in Bangalore had already made a name in the realm. Needless to say, the two derived inspiration from them.

Branches

The idea stemmed and gained wings when the duo gained enough knowledge about making juice out of sugarcane from internet. It was five years ago, when they began from Saraswatipuram. In the later days, they opened another at Big Bazaar on JLB road. Besides, three more were opened in Bangalore, where Niranjan takes care of the business with another person.

Initially, customers were reluctant to the new taste. It didn’t take much time for curious food lovers to try and eventually fall in love with the drink.

The shop remains open from 9 am till its closes doors at 10.30 pm. The peak time is when sun is hovering on the top. A cold storage unit helps keep cane afresh. Says Raghunandan: “It’s not just juice, but a family health drink”.

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