Craft beer brew­ers see ris­ing de­mand

The Times of India (New Delhi edition) - - Times Global - [email protected] times­

Ben­galuru: The grow­ing pop­u­lar­ity of craft beer in In­dia is en­cour­ag­ing some craft brew­ers to brew on a larger scale to reach out to a wider pub­lic. Many till now tended to re­strict them­selves to on-premise man­u­fac­tur­ing.

Brew­ers such as Ar­bor Brew­ing in Ben­galuru, Goa Brew­ing in the name­sake state, and White Rhino in Delhi NCR have started beef­ing up their pres­ence with re­tail­ers. Some mi­cro­brew­eries, in­clud­ing Toit and Wind­mills, are in the process of set­ting up their own man­u­fac­tur­ing fa­cil­i­ties.

Acraft brew­ery or a mi­cro­brew­ery is one that pro­duces much smaller amounts than large-scale cor­po­rate brew­eries. They are in­de­pen­dently owned, and they tend to em­pha­sise qual­ity, flavour and brew­ing tech­nique. “Craft beer can be bot­tled or canned, as in Europe and the US. Pack­ag­ing gives us the op­por­tu­nity to pro­vide within a state, as also other states,” Asthav­inayak Paradh, co-founder of Goa Brew­ing, says.

Goa Brew­ing has a fa­cil­ity where it has a brew-house of 3,000 hec­tolitres (3 lakh litres) and a fer­men­ta­tion tank of 6,000 hec­tolitres through which it caters to Goa. It plans to make its prod­ucts avail­able in Kar­nataka and Mum­bai in the next few months.

While In­dia is es­sen­tially a whiskey and strong beer mar­ket, for mil­len­ni­als, who travel and drink for an ex­pe­ri­ence rather than to get a high, craft beer is among the lat­est go-to drinks. Mi­cro­brew­eries — mostly in Delhi, Mum­bai and Ben­galuru — are help­ing In­di­ans go global in their taste with ales, wheat and stout beer, rather than just com­mer­cial lagers.

As craft beer mak­ers ex­pand, their mar­gins will drop, but they hope to make up for that with higher sales. “When you man­u­fac­ture (pack­aged) beer and dis­trib­ute it to nu­mer­ous states, you have to in­cur over­heads at the man­u­fac­tur­ing fa­cil­ity, cor­po­rate over­heads and re­gional over­heads. The cost of ex­cise li­cences to op­er­ate in many states is very high, and so are ex­cise du­ties. Brew pubs are charged a fixed ex­cise duty per litre of beer, whereas beer pack­aged in bot­tles or cans at­tract an ad val­orem duty that can be as high as 150% or 175% of the whole­sale price in cer­tain states. The ben­e­fit of pack­ag­ing in bot­tles or cans is that you ben­e­fit from huge scale that brew pubs can­not,” says Ishaan Puri of White Rhino.

White Rhino has its fa­cil­ity in Gwalior, where about six of its beers are ei­ther bot­tled or kegged and made avail­able in Delhi, Gur­gaon, Chandigarh, Kar­nataka, Nepal and the UK. It plans to ex­pand to Goa, Hi­machal Pradesh and Ma­ha­rash­tra.

Ar­bor in Ben­galuru has a fa­cil­ity in Goa where it cans and kegs three flag­ship beers. “There has been a shift in con­sumer tastes and pref­er­ences. This pushed us to go beyond the con­fines of a sin­gle lo­ca­tion,” says man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Gau­rav Sikka.


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