INDIA – World’s leading brewer AB InBev is partnering with Tata owned Indian Hotels Company (IHCL) to open 15 microbreweries over the next five years, located within IHCL hotels.

The investment will be conceptualised by AB InBev’s global innovation and investment group ZX Ventures. The breweries will be opened at Taj’s marquee locations where craft beer will be served.

Under the partnership AB InBeV will handle the backend, such as brewing and the beer recipes, while Taj will run the outlets, the first of which is slated to open next year.

“This exclusive partnership will leverage the collective strengths of the two leading companies to shape the future of quality craft beer in India,”​ the two companies said in a statement.

“AB InBev, with its in-house brewing expertise will offer the best craft beers using the finest natural ingredients.

“This coupled with ​IHCL’s culinary prowess and exemplary service, housed in a vibrant and high-energy environment, will celebrate the spirit of new India.”​

The microbreweries will be located in the top urban cities in India, the first of which will be at Taj MG Road, Bengaluru, followed by Goa, Mumbai and Hyderabad. JOI Design from Hamburg will design the microbreweries.

“We will leverage our collective strength to shape the beer category in India. While Taj will bring hospitality excellence, we have a vast portfolio of craft brands globally and together, that can elevate the country’s brew pub experience,” Ben Verhaert, president, South Asia, AB InBev.

The beverages company said it will tie up with local brewers to make the products instead of selling draught versions of their bottled beer brands.

“The idea is to sell a local product portfolio and it is a fairly large investment. We will spend Rs 150 crore in the first five years,” Verhaert added.

The first outlet will open at a Taj Bengaluru property, followed by Goa, Mumbai and Hyderabad in which AB InBev will be involved in setting up micro-breweries.

The company, however, said it is awaiting regulatory approvals and is still working on the financial contours, branding, menu design and sourcing.