AB InBev and India Hotels Company Limited open first brewpub in Bengaluru2 min read . Updated: 25 Sep 2020, 07:52 PM IST
- IHCL and AB InBev are on course to open the planned 15 such microbreweries in the next five years
- Despite the initial six-month delay due to the covid-19 induced lockdown, the company is still very much committed
New Delhi: AB InBev and India Hotels Company Limited (IHCL) opened their first brewpub, 7Rivers Brewpub, with an onsite microbrewery, at the Taj–MG Road, Bengaluru, a year after the two announced plans to open 15 more such outlets serving craft beer in India.
IHCL and AB InBev are on course to open the planned 15 such microbreweries in the next five years, said top executives at the two companies.
The next brewpub will open up in Goa, at a property of Taj, followed by one in Mumbai.
“So Goa is next, so is Bombay, on the cards and looking at this initial feedback that we received and the sentiments that it is generating, we could very well be on course for those 15 of our brewpubs in the next five years, in fact if this is what the response is, we could even accelerate" Prabhat Verma, Executive Vice President, operations, South India, International & Ancillary Businesses, IHCL told Mint.
The two companies could look at accelerating the pace of opening these outlets or even open more than the earlier planned 15 brewpubs. “I think it's more a case of calibrating what we do...as we had originally envisioned planned this, or does it show us the kind of results that, you know, gets us excited enough to accelerate maybe, and do much more than what we we've currently agreed on," said Sharma
Despite the initial six-month delay due to the covid-19 induced lockdown, the company is still very much committed, said Kartikeya Sharma, president, South Asia, AB InBev. This is the first of its kind such partnership within the AB InBev ecosystem that the company is piloting in the market, he said.
The two companies will open these brewpubs at Taj properties for now, and could explore the possibility of taking the 7Rivers brand to locations beyond hotels. “This is an exclusive partnership. And we are very clear that this is the group we want to expand this proposition with," said Sharma.
To be sure, Indias still largely consume strong beer market—accounting for 85% of sales of beer in India. But companies are bringing more brands to the market.
Last year, AB InBev set up a separate entity 7Rivers Brewing Co; under this it also launched two canned wheat beers in India—Veere and Machaa in select cities marking its foray into the wheat beer segment. It also sells the more premium Hoegaarden wheat beer in India.
Now it will also play in the brewpub market selling craft style beers to younger Indians and capitizaling on the growing trend of Indians seeking more variety when it comes to alcoholic beverages.
Globally, AB InBev that sells the world’s top selling beers including Budweiser, Corona, Beck's Blue, and the popular wheat beer Hoegaarden, has been strengthening its position in the craft beer market after it bought a clutch of craft beer companies and breweries across key markets.
Sharma said the company can look at dialling up its presence in the India craft beer market by bringing in some of those brands.
“At this point over the last five years we have now acquired 30 of the biggest craft brands the world over cross very balanced geography China, Brazil, US, UK, Canada, and many others. And what that does for us is it gives us a ready stable of brands that we can always bring in. As more and more Indians straddle, once travel goes back to pre covid levels, we always have the opportunity to bring them," said Sharma.