The next wave in the beer in­dus­try

Progressive Grocer (India) - - Contents - By Fer­nando Bus­ta­mante The writer is CEO, Ma­hou In­dia, a fully owned sub­sidiary of Span­ish beer com­pany Ma­hou San Miguel.

The scope for In­dian Pale Ale is im­mense and their con­sump­tion will pick up in times to come.

Beer is one of the old­est al­co­holic bev­er­ages in the world, dat­ing back to the fifth mil­len­nium BC. Its use has been recorded in the writ­ten his­tory of an­cient Egypt and Me­sopotamia. So when we sip that re­fresh­ing mug of our favourite beer, we are ac­tu­ally tast­ing a brew that was much pre­ferred by our an­cient an­ces­tors. That said, beer has evolved both with time and across cul­tures. So much so that to­day there are mul­ti­ple types and brands of beer – vir­tu­ally from ev­ery coun­try across the world, each with its dis­tinct taste and fol­low­ing.

As per the re­cent re­port by BMI Re­search, the beer in­dus­try of In­dia presents a huge po­ten­tial. In terms of vol­ume, the In­dian beer mar­ket grew from 18 mil­lion hec­tolitres in 2011 to 25 mil­lion hec­tolitres in 2015. The mar­ket is ex­pected to cross 32 mil­lion hec­tolitres by end 2020, which is an ab­so­lutely amaz­ing statis­tic! Beer has one of the low­est ABV (Al­co­hol By Vol­ume) lev­els (usu­ally in the range of 5-8%) among all al­co­holic bev­er­ages, and that is per­haps one rea­son for its pop­u­lar­ity both across the world as well as in In­dia. That’s con­sid­er­ing the fact that the In­dian palate has a ten­dency, by and large, to tip to­wards stronger beers with an ABV closer to 8%.

There is an­other rea­son for the un­prece­dented growth of the beer mar­ket in In­dia. It could be be­cause of the open­ness of beer con­nois­seurs in In­dia to ex­per­i­ment both with brands and with freshly brewed craft beers. Ex­perts feel that the im­pact of im­ported brands on the beer mar­ket in In­dia will be akin to those of the cof­fee chains on the cof­fee busi­ness in In­dia. Global beer brands such as Corona, Stella Ar­tois, Hoe­gaar­den, Ma­hou 5 Star & Ma­hou Clásica have been hugely suc­cess­ful in In­dia. The rise of mi­cro­brew­eries has also opened In­dia’s palate to the charms of fresh as well as craft beers. Dat­ing as far back as 2009, when In­dia’s first mi­cro­brew­ery, Doolally, opened its gates for the beer lovers in Pune, to­day In­dia boasts of sev­eral hun­dreds of such mi­cro­brew­eries across all the ma­jor met­ros with un­be­liev­able va­ri­ety such as the ex­otic mango beer or the de­li­cious wheat beer. In turn, In­dia’s thirst for this de­light­ful brew is ever grow­ing!

But it’s not just about busi­ness or al­co­hol con­tent. Beer is seen as a so­cial drink, one that is to be savoured in the com­pany of friends, while shar­ing pos­i­tive ex­pe­ri­ences. The bev­er­age is as­so­ci­ated with ex­u­ber­ance, pas­sion, and en­ergy. For ex­am­ple, it is par for the course to watch a game of foot­ball with friends while sip­ping beer. Beer is not usu­ally con­sumed with the in­tent to get the so-called ‘hit’. In­stead, beer afi­ciona­dos en­joy the brand for its taste and flavour and its as­so­ci­a­tion with foot­ball. Ma­hou, in par­tic­u­lar, has a deep as­so­ci­a­tion with the world’s most beau­ti­ful game. Ma­hou 5 Star is the of­fi­cial spon­sor of La Liga in Spain, which sees fierce com­pe­ti­tion from pow­er­houses such as Real Madrid, Atlético de Madrid, Vil­lareal, Getafe, Le­ganés, Al­cor­cón, and other clubs.

When I think of In­dia in terms of its beer con­sump­tion pat­terns, it has been largely dom­i­nated by lagers. The next wave in the in­dus­try will ride on IPAS (In­dian Pale Ale), wheat beer, sour beer and pil­sners. The scope is im­mense and th­ese will pick up in In­dia in times to come, which is good news for the con­sumer.

So the next time you want to en­joy beer – try it in the Span­ish style of Cañas and Tapas. Roughly trans­lated as ‘beer and snacks’ – a Caña is a small glass­ful of beer con­tain­ing roughly around 200 ml of the brew, while Tapas are small por­tions of de­li­cious bite-sized snacks that go with tem­pered amounts of beer. Mix and match the Tapas with the Caña to suit your palate and for that per­fect taste. You will be pleas­antly sur­prised to find that your evenings last longer, the con­ver­sa­tions be­come more in­ter­est­ing, and the ex­pe­ri­ence is mem­o­rable.

Lagers have largely dom­i­nated the beer mar­ket in In­dia but the scope for IPAS (In­dian Pale Ale), wheat beer, sour beer and pil­sners is im­mense and their con­sump­tion will pick up sig­nif­i­cantly in times to come.

In terms of vol­ume, the In­dian beer mar­ket grew from 18 mil­lion hec­tolitres in 2011 to 25 mil­lion hec­tolitres in 2015. The mar­ket is ex­pected to cross 32 mil­lion hec­tolitres by end 2020.

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