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The Rise of Craft Beer in India

“Beer, like wine, should be savoured and not chugged. How about we go on a beer blind tasting date?”

Overheard at a Sunday Brunch, we were delighted to spot yet another beer enthusiast.

Over the years, we have witnessed a change in the perception of how people perceive drinking beer. From a perfect way of unwinding with a chilled beer after a tiresome day to taking the time out to explore the amazing flavours and combinations of artisanal brews, beer has been irreplaceable. The only change is the shift to craft beer, which has been nothing less than revolutionary. One fine evening at The GRID, we discussed the trends and here are some of the remarkable ones.

In India, there isn’t any typical craft beer consumer. Among the total estimate of only 20 million premium beer consumers, some drink it for one reason – belong to the current era.  Drinking craft beer for them is about deriving the same validation they get after buying a smart phone, eating a pancake or driving a car produced in Western Europe. It is all about trends, lifestyle and self-branding. Since craft beer is still relatively “new” to Indians, they are catching up on the trend and developing a taste for it.

Source: Scandinavian Brewers Review  

The Western Influence

Adding gravity to the discussion, the emerging craft beer culture was primarily influenced by the western countries. With endless travelogues and exploration treks, the brewers have taken charge to brew some fresh, innovative beer themselves and that fueled the homecoming of micro-breweries. Influenced by trends from Europe and the US, India is rapidly developing its own craft beer culture. Although India’s craft beer industry is still nascent, the All India Brewers Association estimates craft beers sales to be growing at a rate of 20% y-o-y.

The Entitled Millennials

The millennials are quite the Avant-Garde so to speak. They want to explore beyond the realms of just drinking and having fun and to get infused with the craft beer culture is their call to action now. 33% of the total population in India is made up of millennials (aged 20-39 years old) according to our 2018 projections, which will help boost beer consumption, as drinking increasingly becomes part of social interactions.

The Organic Culture Frenzy

An addition to all our social victories, the rise of organic everything has been a blessing to the environment and the microbrewery business. You must be wondering how beer and organic are related? Well craft beer is!

Craft beer in Kolkata is organic and unfiltered, brewed in small batches by microbreweries. The USP of growing microbreweries is the fact that craft beer is carved out of fresh ingredients!

Bottled beer contains preservatives whereas craft beer contains no preservatives. This makes the beer brewed in the microbreweries taste more unique, precise and is definitely a healthier option.

The World of Craft Beer

Beer especially does not confide on aspects like its appearance or how subjective and personal is its perception. Then, comes the distinctive ingredients that craft beers are brewed with. Water, Malt, Hops, Yeast are some of the popular ingredients which provide an array of flavours like chocolate, coffee, oak, caramel, dark fruit, smoke, hazelnut etc. Craft beer market is niche because of its uniqueness. People with a zest for craft beer don’t want to sacrifice or negotiate with the taste and authenticity of the beer quality.

According a BMI research, beer sales are forecasted to increase in volume terms by an average of 6.9% annually between 2019 and 2022, reaching 6.5bn litres in total by the end of this period, up from an estimated 4.7bn litres in 2017.

The GRID’s contribution

The growing popularity of craft beer is the positive result of the shift in people’s taste and we at The GRID are proud contributors. We offer a selection of different styles which an Indian palate can appreciate and have formulated many beers. We currently have the following on tap – Caldera (Hefeweizen), Estuary (Witbier with berries), award-winning Piedmont (Blonde) and Tombolo (Stout). We have two more taps – one for the experimental beer and second for Eskar (Apple Cider). Our latest beer, Märzen, was inspired by the biggest beer festival, Oktoberfest and was an ode to the same. Explore our craft beers here.