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This Is Best Time To Enter Indian Market As Per Consumer Trends: Karan Jain, BrewDog India

BW Businessworld spoke to Jain, CEO of BrewDog India, to understand the nitty-gritty of opening a brewery in India

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The globally loved independent Scottish craft beer powerhouse BrewDog opened its doors to Delhi people. With over 110 bars across the globe, this will be India’s third Brewdog craft beer bar and Delhi NCR’s first, where beer fans can look forward to over 24 epic craft beers from BrewDog and guest breweries from all around India. Coming from two guys, one dog, and a dream who started it all, BrewDog Gurugram will serve the brand’s legendary menu perfect for kids and families. BW Businessworld spoke to Karan Jain, CEO of BrewDog India, to understand the nitty-gritty of opening a brewery.

This will be your third Brewdog Taproom in India and first in Delhi/NCR. What is your strategy behind selecting a location?

The globally loved independent Scottish craft beer powerhouse BrewDog opens its doors in the heart of the millennial city, Gurugram at One Horizon Centre. With a global presence across 30 countries and over 110 locations, we are very happy to bring the ultimate craft beer experience to India. Gurugram is emerging as one of the most sought-after cities in the country, being a hub for start-ups, shopping malls, cafes, and an urban lifestyle with countless clubs and nightlife, and hence it just made sense for us to bring the BrewDog experience to Gurugram. With two locations in Mumbai and now one in Gurugram, we are heading to Amritsar and Chandigarh all of which are excellent craft beer markets.

We also plan to take the brand to tier2 cities like Chandigarh, and Amritsar, amongst others in the coming days. We are excited to see the beer scene grow in India’s capital city into one of the best in the world and we believe our bars are central to that. We inspire a new kind of hospitality experience, combining our biggest passions with sustainability at its core. With the incredible brewery and a clued-up crowd of beer fans, we are excited for BrewDog Gurugram.

India is still in its nascent age if we talk about the breweries in the country. What is your take on this?

Currently, India is a nascent craft beer market however it is on its way to being a significant player in the craft beer market. India is exactly where the US beer market was in the early 90s. Starting from just a few microbreweries the US market grew to more than 3000 craft breweries at an exponential rate. The craft beer industry in India only began in 2008. But with increased awareness, customers are looking for better craft beer and this is the best time to enter the Indian market

How easy or difficult is it to open/launch a restaurant with a liquor license?

The permits and licensing process in India remain extremely difficult. Though certain states like Delhi have tried to approach the issue of doing business by introducing a single window system, hurdles remain high in many states. It is a fact that it takes between 15 to 20 different permits to be able to open a licensed bar in India.

How do the policies and regulations differ in other states? 

When it comes to liquor and alcohol policy every state in India is like a country in itself. We quite literally mean this because taking alcohol from one state to another is called export and import. Actual permits also change, for example in Maharashtra a microbrewery is allowed to sell beer to other pubs but this is not the case in Karnataka and West Bengal. Overall it takes immense and detailed knowledge of the state policies to be able to successfully do business across multiple states in India. 

What challenges do you see in the market in terms of competition and others? 

BrewDog is an international brand, and the only player currently in the Indian market which serves 24 beers on tap, something the customers have not yet experienced so far with local brands. In India, the few craft breweries which have come up are still only offering 6-8 beers at most. BrewDog with its 24 taps in every location and a huge portfolio of different beers to choose from expects to see great success. The consumer response so far has been extremely encouraging and we look forward to growing our footprint very fast.

What are your take on the Indian craft brewing scene and consumer palate?

Over the years a lot of craft beer brands have emerged in the Indian market that has helped consumers explore the craft beer landscape. Consumers are willing to experiment with quality products that are different from mass-produced commercial ones. The craft beer segment has so far been dominated by wheat beer but slowly with increased awareness, there is an evaluation of IPA also. Did you know that IPA stands for India Pale Ale, which means this beer is what is home to our country with the extensive range of IPAs at BrewDog, we expect to fill this demand by providing the consumer with what they are looking for.

How are you different from existing Indian brewers? What makes you different from others?

While various draught rulers in India are at most offering 4 or 5 beers, BrewDog has a portfolio of more than 400 beers out of which 24 will be on tap at any given time, thus, providing an extensive choice in a market where there currently is none.

What is your expansion plan?

After Gurugram the next locations to open are Amritsar and Chandigarh to be followed by 25 to 30 locations over the next 3 to 4 years. The bar expansion will also be complemented by entry into the bottles and cans retail market to make our product accessible in liquor stores.

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Brewery BrewDog