INDIA – Bira 91, a fast-rising Indian craft-beer brand, is set to expand its market share even further after its owner B9 Beverages Pvt announced plans to open a fifth local brewery in India as it seeks to capture swelling demand for more flavorsome tipples.
The new brewery in Madhya Pradesh — Bira’s second in the central Indian state – is expected to be ready before the end of the eyar and will initially add 400,000 hectoliters a year.
According to Ankur Jain, B9 Beverages chief executive office, the capacity at Bira’s new planned unit has the potential to be expanded to 1 million hectoliters , boosting Bira’s existing capacity of 2 million hectoliters.
Known for its cartoon punk monkey mascot, Bira is crrently, the country’s fourth largest brewer, trailling firms such as Budweiser maker Anheuser-Busch InBev NV, Carlsberg A/S and Heineken NV, which dominate the market.
The firm is however prepared to take on its larger rival given its financial backing that includes Sequoia Capital and Japanese beverage firm Kirin Holdings Co.
It has tapped investors for about US$50 million so far this year and is reported to be preparing for its last and largest round of private fund raising set to conclude in 2021 before it pins down its listing plans.
With sales amounting to US$170 million on an annual basis, Bira is set to be profitable at an operating level within six months, Jain said.
“Consumers are looking for more flavor,” he said basing his assumptions on the robust demand trajectory that his brand has been experiencing. “I don’t think there will be any slowdown.”
While India’s beer industry was hard-hit from Covid-related lockdowns, Jain said Bira, which brews a range of lagers, stouts and ales, managed to double its sales and triple market share as many customers looked to experiment at home and took advantage of emerging e-delivery platforms.
Global Data however forecasts growth in the Indian beer market to grow 36% this year after contracting 40% in 2020.
This presents new opportunities for upstart brewers and craft distillers, mirroring trends globally where discerning drinkers search out new tastes away from decades old brands.