India. The 1920s. Edward Keventer, a Danish dairy entrepreneur, decides to establish dairy manufacturing units in India. Within a decade he has set up-eponymous plants in Delhi, Aligarh, Calcutta and Darjeeling. By the 1940s Edward Keventer emerges as one of the prominent dairy manufacturers in India. After Independence the dairy acquires Indian ownership, when Ram Krishna Dalmia buys the Keventer dairy project located in Sardar Patel Marg from Edward Keventer’s son, Werner. Thereafter, the company is known by the name Edward Keventer [Successors] Pvt. Ltd.
R K Dalmia continually upgrades the facilities, focuses on modernization and adds products. The latest milk bottling machinery manufactured in England called UDECK is added. To ensure freshness and purity a pasteurizer made by a Swedish company, ALFA LAVAL is acquired, a reputed brand even today in milk pasteurization.
To increase the company’s milk varieties a cream separator made in Westphalia, Germany is purchased. With this we produce toned milk, skimmed milk, full cream milk, etc. With separated cream, we are also able to produce butter, therefore a butter churner SILKEBORG was imported from Denmark. Butter and ghee later became popular products.The final addition to the Keventers plant was NEDOU, the milk powder atomizer that enabled the conversion of milk into condensed milk powder. At that time these acquisitions enabled Keventers to develop into a leading manufacturer of dairy products.
Keventers condensed milk powder and milkshakes became known far and wide. In Delhi alone Keventers had 48 distributers and stockists, a distribution network that had grown to meet the increased demand for fresh Keventers’ milk. Through this wide network milk, milkshake, ice cream and butter reached different parts of Delhi. Less perishable items such as condensed milk and milk powder were shipped to various markets throughout the country.
By the late 1960s, Keventers was equated with dairy excellence. All products had the ISI standardization mark as well as the AGMARK mark of quality. It is therefore not surprising that even the armed forces throughout the country, including such far flung places as Assam, relied on us for condensed milk and milk powder.Due to this, in 1969 the Lt. Governordeclared in a written communication that Keventers was a Public Utility Undertaking.
Our typical ice cream cart all over Delhi was cream coloured with red borders, however the late 60s saw Keventers’ carts bathed in psychedelic colours. In the early 70s Keventers’ appointed anad agency – Ad Infinitum – and launched various catchy and attractive slogans such as ‘I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream’.
At the Asia ’72 exhibition, the Keventers’ stall was very popular. We had many ice cream varieties in cups, cones and bars. One of the most expensive was cassata with a triple layer of strawberry, vanilla and pista, resting on a bed of delicious spongy cake.
The butter we sold was wrapped in a cream and blue printed wrapper and was much in demand for its quality. For those who wanted the goodness of ghee there was nothing like Keventers. One of our most remembered products was our milkshakes. Attractive wide mouthed bottles containing nourishing Keventers’ milk arrived fresh and cool every morning all overthe city, with water droplets forming over the bottles and red and blue aluminium foil caps. Three of the most popular flavours were yellow banana, pink strawberry and green pineapple. The name of Keventersbecame synonymous with dairy products in Delhi, for example, a milkshake was no longer referred to as a ‘milk’ shake, but rather as a ‘Keventers’ shake.
As the city of New Delhi grew and changed so did the area of Chanakyapuri in which the factory was located. It became a prime residential and diplomatic area, rather than an industrial one. Keventers therefore was no longer allowed to run its dairy factory there.This proud dairy of Delhi which had been carefully planned and located next to its market, was forced to close its doors.
Albeit, on a more positive note, we the original owners of Keventers are reviving the Keventers brand to provide the next generation with premium quality fresh Keventers’ milkshakes. So once again, Delhiites can experience the unforgettable appeal of a ‘Keventers’ shake.