In the past couple of years, microbreweries have become a trend in India. Microbreweries are breweries which locally produce beer on a small scale using more natural ingredients. When compared to the large scale beer producers, microbreweries have comparatively smaller output and they exist or sell locally. The whole concept of microbreweries is to personalise the beer experience by using more organic and clean ingredients and customising it to customers’ needs. Customers are now showing biases toward opting for the beers with lesser ABV (Alchohol by volume). In fact, the beer produced by breweries in a more traditional and non-mechanical way is called Craft Beer.
The USP of these craft beers is the unique and often specialised brewing techniques. The microbreweries are independently owned, small scale businesses which commercialise their uniquely brewed beer and often experiment with the flavours for a more personalised customer experience. The concept of microbrewery in India and the technique used behind brewing is comparatively new. It is only in 2009 when Dollyally, India’s first microbrewery opened in Pune. Starting a brewery is a huge investment. There are many technical and legal checkboxes which need to be checked before opening the doors for customers. And yet, beer enthusiast or people who are patrons of the art of brewing beer are expanding their businesses not just in India but around the world.
If you are one of them too and are wondering how to start your own microbrewery in India, here’s a guide for you!
Tips On Starting Microbrewery
Just like every other restaurant business, starting a microbrewery is a labour and capital intensive business. It can take ₹50 lakhs to ₹1 cr (depending on the scale and location of the business) to start a microbrewery in India. It also required passion for the craft, patience and mindset to grow the business. Read to know all about it.
1. Understand The Process
Microbrewery in India is a comparatively new concept. And so, the first step before starting a brewery is to understand how to make craft beer. Experts in this field have spent years learning, tasting and perfecting the art of brewing. And someone who is a true enthusiast and has a pallet for beer can create a perfectly balanced beer. In fact, due to its recent entry into the market, Indian brewers are adapting the traditional brewing techniques and equipment. To simplify it, since there are many different ways of the brewing (Lager or Ale), equipment and fermenting methods used and the different ways of adding flavours and balancing the signature bitter yet unique flavour of the beer.
2. Get Your Licenses
Before you start investing in starting your own microbrewery, your first priority must be to get all the needed licenses for started the business. Bars, pubs and breweries require many other kinds of licenses compared to simple dine-in restaurant models. The government provides a special brewery license for running the business without which any microbrewery in India cannot start. Then, alongside this, you would be needing a liquor license, food license, commercial electricity line, water lines, land or lease agreements, company registration license, quality control certification and wastage disposal certificates and finally the quality approved and certified equipment. But still, depending on the microbrewery’s theme, food served and state (location) and the brewing method, the list of essential licenses may vary.
3. Understand Your Equipment
Since the process of brewing beer is comparatively reduced in size and output, there are different types of equipment which are needed. Acquiring, installing and maintaining the equipment is essential to maintain the quality of beer produced. Depending on the method of brewing, different kinds of additional flavour added, and storage of the beer, this equipment might vary. Below is the list of equipment needed.
- Beer Filters
- Distribution Tanks
- Heat Exchanger
- Brite tanks
- Refrigeration machines
- Storage tanks
- Mash Turner and Kettles
4. Understanding Your Audience
After you have learned the craft of brewing and acquired the needed license, the next step is to learn about your customers. The type of beer people consume, the taste pallet varying based on region and demographic and the kind of technology available are all interconnected to the success of the microbrewery. When compared to the American, British or East Asian standards, Indian beer consumers vary in demographics.
The urban and comparatively young crowd is the target audience for microbreweries in India. At the same time, these customers are in close touch with their Indian flavour pallet and despite the type of beer or cuisine, they like a local touch to it. And so, experimenting with known flavours and textures is more likely to be successful. But there is no need to limit oneself. Indian customer market is just as diverse in its nationality and so, offering a different kind of beer taste might give you an edge over your competitors.
5. Finalise Your Theme And Menu
The ambience you pair with your craft beer is equally important. Many microbreweries offer event spaces and host events like standup, jazz music, games nights and DJ events to attract more customers. Most of the microbreweries have their brewing space and storage barrels out at the visible location. This creates transparency and provides a personal experience to the customers. Once the theme is finalised, the furniture, beer glasses and elements of the brewery can be aligned to perfection.
The theme of your microbrewery should also reflect on the menu you serve along with your beer. Apart from offering the typical and generic menu, you can also get a skilled chef on board and experiment with the menu. An ideal way would be to provide the customer with a guide to pairing flavoured craft beer with the food that enhanced the taste pallet. Creating a descriptive menu can help customers find their ideal beer match! Along with the menu, your staff should be trained to offer recommendations to the customers as per their needs.
People who are enthusiastic about beers and enjoy the art have managed to successfully operate their microbreweries. Banglore has recently become a hub for microbreweries in India. The brewers are experimenting and surprising people with various kinds of quirky flavours and dishes to complement it. And while they do that, their billing and inventory management is simplified by Petpooja PoS which provides all the necessary data needed to grow the business.
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