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The Rise And Shine Of Microbreweries In Pune Is Proof That India Has Excellent Taste In Beer


The almighty ale is the third most popular drink consumed in the world (after water and tea!) and is the most widely consumed alcoholic beverage since the advent of time.

The commercialisation of ale brought it in bottles and kegs throughout the world. But it has also given rise to special “Craft” or “Microbreweries” which produce smaller amounts of beer as compared to large scale production plants, and innovate with the use of local flavors and methods. Whether it’s a mango ale for the sultry summer, or an apple coriander brew or even a stout, India’s microbrewery sector has seen a massive growth since its inception in 2009, and continues to induct beer lovers into its culture every single day

Pune’s beer palate and culture

Pune played a huge role in kick-starting India’s craft culture with the country’s first microbrewery Doolally, which now has over 8 brewers in the city and serves hearty flavors of wheat beers, lagers and a whole lot more. India is still a nascent market in terms of realising its full beer potential – but has spread its arms pretty wide in the metros of Bangalore, Mumbai and Gurgaon. Pune has seen a strong rise in the demand for these beers as brewpubs offer a good mix of ambiance, food and innovation in flavors to pull in the crowd.

TJ Venkateshwaran of TJ’s Brew Works adds, “We sell about 150 liters at our Amanora Pub and about 50 liters through our partners everyday.” Manu Gulati, the man behind Effingut Brewerkz in Koregaon Park says, “On the weekdays, we have a steady stream of patrons enjoying their brew. Weekends and event nights see demand spiking to upwards of 1200 pints a night.” These beers start from Rs 200 for a pint of 300 ml and are available in a multitude of flavors and even some seasonal ones. “India has only recently been introduced to craft beer and compared to the American breweries and their offshoots, the Indian palate is not yet ‘hop forward’ for stronger, bitter beers,” adds Gulati.

Shailendra Bist, the co-founder of Independence Brewing Co. and creator of a Mango Ale in Mundhwa is also of the same opinion, “Unfortunately anything ‘sweet and wheat’ and also fermented apple juice called Cider works with the public. Cider is not even a beer technically, but is marketed as one! We constantly strive to bring real, flavorful and true beer to the customers – but we know we can’t please everyone!”

Tresha Guha, Brand Manager Of Doolally, also weighs in saying that there is a strong bunch of dark beer enthusiasts emerging who love their Coffee Porter and Oatmeal Stout.

Is brewing a profitable business?

The brewery business is one that requires a fat stack of money and loads of love for the ale. “Setting up a brewery requires a significant investment and in order to achieve profitability, passion to drive a plan to success and love for the product is paramount” says Gulati. Venkateshwaran very rightly says, “The craft brew business is in its formative years and it is still in the investment phase. It can be profitable in the medium term with industry consolidation and when price competitiveness through undercutting gets out totally”. Social change is equally important on the other hand too and the breweries need to invest in information and education, according to Shailendra Bist. The innovation in technology and flavors will see a continuous evolution, and awareness plays a big role in the brewery’s popularity increase.

The road ahead

The Indian beer market is estimated at Rs 25,000 cr, with craft beer taking a Rs 280 cr share. The market is expected to reach a whopping Rs 4400 cr by 2020! While the youth may drive the consumption forward, it is only pure continuous innovators that will survive the tide. Tresha Guha points out, “Following Maharashtra’s lead, a number of states reformed their excise policies to accommodate this concept. You realize the amount of product innovation these scrappy little businesses have bought to an industry that has been starved forever. And the consumers have heartily endorsed these efforts.”

Without taste, there will be no business. “The beer needs to do the talking, which is why we identify ourselves as ‘craft brewers’ and have moved away from the moniker ‘microbrewers’. Your patron is knowledgeable and cannot be fooled – the client’s palate always wins!” Gulati adds. The real craft brewers will stay ahead of the curve. As Bist puts it, “Indians know good taste. You can only fool them for so long!”

Source: Indiatimes

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