Get out your passport, beer snobs—your next brewery vacation might be a little further afield than expected. Having already found a foothold in Asian countries like China and Thailand, the craft-beer movement is finally making headway in India. It’s only a matter of time before we’re importing Indian craft brews to the U.S., just as we have with beers from Japan and other parts of the globe inspired by the American craft craze.
According to the Economic Times, there are now more than 25 independent brewpubs in Bangalore alone, with Mumbai and other major cities seeing a similar uptick in microbrew consumption.
India has historically been a liquor-drinking country, with an especially strong affinity for whiskey. And despite $3 billion in annual beer sales, more than 50% of that market is dominated by Kingfisher, a macro-brewed lager.
Kingfisher might not be quaking it its boots yet, but the tides seem to be shifting. Meenakshi Raju, co-owner of the Biere Club brewpub, tells the Economic Times, “[Consumers] are becoming more sophisticated in their tastes. We have young customers, middle-aged and some in their 80s with their walking sticks.”
Raju and his brother opened Biere Club after traveling in Europe and the U.S., where they noticed the explosion of microbrews and brewpubs.
But don’t just take it from the brewers: The drinkers are loving the new producers and styles of beer, too.
“We are bored of drinking bottled beer. There’s nothing wrong with Kingfisher but you can’t drink it all the time,” Abhay Sarnaik, a local engineering student, told the Times.
The craft-beer revolution might take a little longer in India than in the U.S., though, partly due to local government regulations. Some Indian states are still participating in prohibition, while others charge immense tariffs for importing alcohol. It took Raju and his brother five years of working through state bureaucracy before they could open the Biere Club.
Another entrepreneur, Gaurav Sikka, set up his Bangalore brewpub, Arbor Brewing, in conjunction with the Michigan brewery of the same name. For Sikka, the craft-beer revolution is being welcomed in India for the same reasons it has taken over in the West—because it connects with people more than faceless corporations.
“It’s about creating a community of people who know their brewer personally, and come together at the pub to relax and appreciate their beer,” he says.
[via Economic Times]