Witlinger beer planning minority stake sale to raise $5-7 million
New Delhi: Kaama Impex Pvt. Ltd, the maker of Witlinger beer, is in advanced talks with an Indian private equity fund to raise $5-7 million (Rs30-40 crore) in exchange for a minority stake, managing director Anuj Kushwah said. “We hope to close the deal in the next couple of months,” he added, declining to name the potential investor.
The fund will be used in expansion of production capacity and retail presence, besides launching new variants of the craft beer. Kaama Impex has so far raised about Rs11 crore from individual investors.
Its current revenue is around Rs12 crore a year, which it company expects to treble once its bottling unit in Chhattisgarh starts production. Kaama Impex is also planning to put up a second bottling unit in south India for canned beer.
Launched in 2014, Witlinger, has so far been importing the beer, and now wants to produce its wheat and lager variants in India. “Domestic production will help us in doubling sales from around 20,000 cases at present to more than 40,000 cases in a couple of months. However, we’ll import all the new variants that we would launch,” said Kushwah.
Domestically brewed variants of Witlinger beers will cost Rs80-150 a pint, depending on taxes in different states. Imported brews will be priced between Rs100 and Rs190 a pint.
Witlinger is currently available across retail outlets, pubs and hotels in Delhi, Gurugram, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Chennai, Goa and Hyderabad. The company is planning to enter Chandigarh and Kolkata markets soon.
Last month, Witlinger underwent rebranding with a new mascot.
“The ‘British Bulldog’ as the mascot showcases our true identity and characteristics of being very British and honest with what we do, that is, making sincere and honest craft beer. I am certain our new design will capture attention of the millennial and will help them relate to what Witlinger stands for,” Kushwah said in a statement.
While craft beer is a relatively new category in India, it is growing at around 20% per annum, according to All India Brewers’Association. There are more than 80 microbreweries, a huge jump from just two in 2008.
Overall beer sales in India almost doubled between 2010 and 2015 to $6.2 billion a year, according to a study by market research firm Euromonitor International.
Craft beer makers in India have recently received interest from investors. On 9 November, B9 Beverages Pvt Ltd, the maker of Bira91 beer, raised Rs25 crore from Chennai-based asset management firm Anicut Capital by issuing redeemable non-convertible debentures (NCDs), according to the company’s filing with Registrar of companies (RoC).
B9 Beverages, which has so far raised around $30 million from individuals and institutional investors including Sequoia Capital India Advisors (its single largest investor), is in talks with institutional investors to raise around $30 million, Mint reported on 25 December.