Retailing in India: Crafting Brew Stories

The growing acceptance of beer in India by the urban youth is transforming its consumption experience trends.
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Posted February 10, 2020

Indian millennials are driving consumption trends across core categories like fashion, lifestyle, food and leisure. According to a McKinsey report, the growth rate of spending on experience related service is four times greater than that on personal-consumption goods. One major segment impacted by this is the food and beverage industry, which is largely influenced by global lifestyle trends.

According to a report in Business Insider, globally millennials spend about 23.4 percent of their earnings on restaurants. This has encouraged a spurt in the growth of experiential boutique restaurants offering artisanal menus where consumption of liquor-based beverages has become an integral part of the experience.

The increased awareness for healthy lifestyles has pushed consumption of beer and craft beer, identified as healthier than strong alcohol, sharply upward. According to a report by Statistica, revenue in the Indian beer segment is estimated at $15,427 million USD in 2020 and is expected to grow at a compounded annual growth rate of 7.4 percent between 2020 and 2023. Though three of the largest players in beer – UB Group, Anheuser-Busch InBev and Carlsberg – are investing in premium offerings to maintain their lead, the experience-seeking millennial increasingly prefers artisanal craft beers and the experience of consuming them. Industry experts estimate 58 percent of Indian consumers drinking craft beer are millennials.

Craft beer usually consists of fresh, non-pasteurized and non-filtered beer, curated by brew-masters in microbreweries, classified by a production of less than 50,000 barrels annually. The growth in experiential restaurants with open kitchens, live food counters and cocktail mix masters in the last decade in India has enabled a natural inclusion of microbreweries. Today, industry experts estimate more than 100 microbreweries across major metros of India are evangelizing this segment by staging stunning environments that use architecture, design, storytelling, customized service, events and innovative crafted menus to deliver immersive consumption experiences.
Brewing it big

Byg Brewski Brewing Company, the largest destination microbrewery in India, is spread over an area of 65,000 square feet in a sprawling property on the periphery of Bangalore. The facility is designed to handle a whopping 1260 visitors at a time. Five experiential zones are designed in different themes inspired from modern interpretations of medieval Scottish and vintage European designs around a body of water and an amphitheater-like dining setting. Architecture, storytelling, landscaping and lighting come together with stunning effect. The bar offers 16 types of beer on tap compared to the usual five or six varieties offered by similar concepts. A mega-sized kitchen of 6500 square feet offers exquisite world cuisine catering to more than 5000 plates every day. Not surprisingly, they won the People’s Choice Award for the best microbrewery in India.

 

7 Degrees of sophistication

7 Degree Brauhaus, an authentic Bavarian microbrewery and kitchen, is a destination known for its freshly brewed German beers served with specialty Indian, Italian and German cuisine. Located in the busy central business district of Gurgaon on the third floor of a mall, the microbrewery is a sophisticated blend of a boutique restaurant, an original German brewery, a vibrant bar and a live music stage blended tastefully in 12,500 square feet of space across two floors. The spatial experience is built around a gleaming copper microbrewery plant; machinery is installed artfully in a 50-foot high-ceilinged space that creates a sophisticated industrial environment. A retro European interior palette and tree installations in the service areas help stage a unique multi-sensorial experience of a German “beer garden,” an ideal setting for beer, food, live music and games.

 

Independence from boring beers

Independence Brewing Company, known for its innovative, distinctive and delicious hand-crafted brews commits, as per the company’s moto, to give “independence from boring beers.” The pub brewery, located in Pune, offers a comprehensive variety of gourmet and craft beers derived from numerous global brew styles. The highlight of the space, spread across 6500 square feet, is a live brewery staged in contemporary setting that is a blend of the indoors and the outdoors where customers leisurely eat, drink, enjoy live music or participate in brewing workshops. An “island bar” defines the space and draws attention to the brew house installed in the double-height area toward the space’s center. A timeless palette of natural materials of concrete, brick, steel, leather and timber help curate a global craft brew experience with a premium choice of hand-crafted beers.

 

Reason to celebrate

According to Goldstein Research, a major driver of the India beer market is the growing acceptance of beer as a preferred alcoholic beverage by the growing urban consumers aged 20 to 45. These consumers are driving an annual growth rate of 18 percent in their per capita consumption of 1.5 liters. To woo this consumer segment, microbreweries are pushing boundaries to create new benchmarks in experiential design in their environments. With the market building momentum in terms of sales and consumption trends, Indian consumers can expect to have many new choices for chilling and taking enjoyable breaks in their busy lives. Cheers!

Surender has more than two decades of experience in the Indian retail industry in retail strategy, store design, planning and development, retail marketing, visual merchandising, writing and academia. He’s held senior positions at leading retailers like Shoppers Stop, Reliance Retail, Mahindra Retail and as a senior retail consultant working with leading retailers and brands in India. Reach him at surenderg.retail@gmail.com.