Domestic premium beermaker Bira 91has acquired India’s largest alcobevchain, The Beer Cafe, in an all-stockdeal that will make the pub chain afully-owned subsidiary of Bira 91.Investors in The Beer Cafe — includingpromoters Rahul and Bineeta Singh,Mayfi eld, Granite Hill and RBInvestments — will get shares of Bira91
Bira 91 will get a retail presencethrough The Beer Cafe’s 33 outlets,while the pub chain gets the beercompany’s support in innovations andsupply chain.
“The deal will enable Bira 91 to strengthen its play in pubs and build a direct-to-consumer platform focused on beer,” its chief executive Ankur Jain told ET.
He said Bira 91 aims to accelerate the growth of beer culture in India anddeepen consumers’ beer experience with this acquisition.
The Beer Cafe’s management team, led by founder and chief executive RahulSingh, will continue to lead its operations and will also take up responsibilityof Bira 91’s newly formed restaurant division. This is being scaled up as large-format, craft beer-focused stores under the brand name Bira 91 Taproom.Singh said The Beer Cafe will continue to sell a variety of beers at its outlets.“Bira 91 will continue to invest in beer innovation and eff icient supply chain.This will grow our own capabilities, along with talent and scale. Also, thegroup will take care of all support functions, which will give me sharper focusto expand Beer Cafe,” he said.
Beer Cafe has 33 outlets in 15 cities across key locations, including malls, highstreets and transit hubs. Singh said The Beer Cafe did not shut down anyoutlets during the Covid-19 pandemic, and that stores only had to closetemporarily in states where lockdowns had been imposed.
Bira 91’s existing investors include Sequoia Capital India, Sofi na of Belgiumand Kirin Holding of Japan. It reported revenues of ₹428.2 crore in 2020-21,according to regulatory filings. The company, which was set up in 2015, is present in over 500 towns and 15 countries. It brews its beers across fourbreweries in India, according to information on its website.
The acquisition comes at a time when dining out is seeing double-digitgrowth, having reversed sharply from pandemic-induced curbs andintermittent shutdowns of bars and restaurants.
The beer market in India reached $4.3 billion in 2020, and after a pandemic-induced decline in 2021, reverted to pre-Covid numbers. It is projected tobreach the $10-billion level by 2027. “Growth of the Indian beer market can beattributed to the burgeoning demand for diverse beer brands, together withthe country’s growing and young workforce adopting low alcoholic beverages,”Singh said.
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