Why brewers of craft beer are on a high in India

Craft beer, Beer, Lager, Kingfisher, Industrial beer, Microbrewery, Pub, Alcohol, Bira 91
Craft beer is taking over the beer market. Photo: istock

Toit brewpub in Bengaluru is not an easy place to enter on a weekend. With walk-in reservations only, the waiting time at the microbrewery is 30-45 minutes on an average. The popular pub is one among the 50-odd microbreweries in the city that offer a variety of craft beers.

Microbreweries, which popped up in cities like Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Mumbai, Pune and Delhi over the past few years, have changed the face of the craft beer industry in India. While the craft brewing industries in the US, the UK and Europe have peaked, the art is still in its nascent stage in India. In fact, the entry of craft beer has forced industrial beer manufacturers to sit up and take the competition seriously.

Industrial or mass produced beers are made of cheaper ingredients in order to cut costs while craft beers are made using handpicked ingredients (mainly malt, hops, yeast and water) and produced in smaller batches by master brewers. While industrial beers are monotonous in colour and flavour, craft beer comes in varieties. It ranges from light gold to black in colour and there are zesty, fruity, coffee-chocolate flavours, with different kinds of aromas.

Microbreweries are not only challengers to local beer brands but also international beer companies. Companies that mass produce lager, like Kingfisher, Carlsberg and Heineken, have dominated the beer market in the country, controlling two-thirds of it. With the rise of craft beers and microbreweries, beer lovers now have alternatives. Belgian, German and American craft beers flowed into the market in hopes of attracting more drinkers.

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