US –  BrewDog, the world’s largest craft brewer, has officially opened its first bar in India as part of an ambitious expansion that will see the brewer open 35 pubs across the nation and launch nearly a dozen bottled beer brands over the next four years.

Initially, it will launch 22 tap beers and three bottled ones, including its flagship brand Punk IPA and a wheat beer brewed specially for the country.

However, these will be imported for the first few months and hence will carry a 10% higher price tag than rival imported brands such as Hoegaarden.

The move is part of the brewer’s wider strategy to grow its global network from 100 bars now to 750 bars by 2024.

India presents a clear opportunity for the Scottish brewer which aims to leverage on increasing affluence and proliferation of craft beer to achieve its growth plans.

“We are looking to Invest across brewing, bars, distribution and setting up the right kind of infrastructure to bring in certain discipline into the market and hoping to create a big business,” said Siddharth Rastogi, chief executive officer of BrewDog India

Founded in 2007 and partly owned by private equity firm TSG Consumer Partners, BrewDog is also the world’s biggest crowdfunded firm.

In its financial year 2020, the company reported a 10% jump in revenue despite the fact that a majority of its 100 bars were closed throughout the entire year.

Most of the company’s sales came from e-commerce which saw trade volumes rise by 1080%, according to a statement from company co-founder and CEO James Watt.

Additionally, Watt revealed that the company was able to grow its Equity Punk community to over 200,000 from 135,000.

Equity Punk is BrewDog’s global platform that offers fans and tipplers an opportunity to buy shares in the company.

Brewdog could introduce the share buying model in India too, a move that could potentially create ownership and hence patronage among craft beer lovers in India.

From just two craft microbreweries about 10 years ago, India is now home to more than 170 outlets now, mostly located in Bengaluru, Gurgaon, Mumbai and Pune.

This has helped the overall beer industry grow and has triggered a wave of new craft beer brand launches from labels such as Bira, White Rhino and Simba that count on a younger clientele seeking a more varied experience.

Based on this trend, UK-based research rm Global-Data Plc estimates that the Indian craft beer market was about 43 million litres in 2019, up from only 150,000 litres in 2014.

The increased patronage has also caught the interest of the world’s largest brewer, Anheuser-Busch InBev.

The  Belgium based brewing giant and Tatas’ Indian Hotels Company (IHCL) announced they will open microbreweries inside Taj hotel properties.

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