A Lot Can Happen Over Beer

Until a few years back, the concept of a craft beer was unknown to India. A market where the large scale corporate brewers accounted for 90% of beer sales, craft beers were just beginning to take shape. Being in the nascent stage, they required proper nurturing, to potentially develop into a fullfledged industry. Indians perceived it as a welcome change, from the traditional lager and the dominant Kingfisher ruling the roost, among the other global brands.

The most distinctive feature of a craft beer is the utmost care and caution it receives. Being brewed at microbreweries having relatively smaller production capacities, the quality factor makes it distinct from its other beer counterparts. When only about a couple of microbreweries started to emerge in the Indian market, Ankur Jain (founder) of B9 Beverages decided to experiment with his brainchild, THE BIRA-91.

After a short run with his first venture in New York, Ankur Jain decided to move back to India to venture into the untapped market of craft beers. In 2008, he raised a sum of 1.5 million dollars from a group of friends to start B9 Beverages Pvt Ltd. Initially, he imported traditional craft beer from US and Europe, where the idea was already well-established. It was in 2014, when B9 Beverages introduced the BIRA-91, a much awaited brand that could possibly change the fate of the Indian Beer Market. A brand that could resonate with the urban youth in terms of taste, flavour and quality. The presence of 91, the country code of India, echoed a homely emotion to the consumers.

With a 366% increase in the annual sales from 2015 to 2016, Bira-91 had succeeded in penetrating into the market. With almost negligible spending on surrogate advertising or marketing campaigns, and a newly erected production unit in Indore, B9 Beverages was able to considerably cut down on prices, making it one of the most affordable beer brands in the country.

Having five beers in its portfolio, the brand caters to consumers of all types, ranging from low calorie beverages, to High Intensity Beer. With the taste being highly different from the traditional bitter tasting beers, the Bira-91 aims to usher a revolution of taste in the mainstream beer market, making it the go-to beer brand for the smallest of occasions. Until the fiscal year ended 2019, Bira-91 has received a number of fundraisings. Renowned Venture Capital Funds such as TPG Growth and Sequila Capital have financed the firm to help the newly raised inertia gain the required momentum. Angel Investors, the likes of Kunal Bahl and Rohit Bansal (Co-Founders of Snapdeal) have also participated in the Series-A funding round of the shares.

Fast forward to 2019, Bira-91 has successfully managed to bridge the gap between the orthodox and the unconventional brands of beer. Their design and operational strategies have paved a way for a direct and simple business model to reach their target audience, the key focus being on the distribution channels. As it is said “the purpose of business is to create a customer who creates customers”, Bira-91 has been a hallmark, as it has gained a 30% market share in the premium segment just by stark word of mouth publicity.