Herald: The cold one gets crafty!

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The cold one gets crafty!

17 May 2019 04:21am IST

Report by
Ajit John

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17 May 2019 04:21am IST

Report by
Ajit John

Leave a comment

Craft beer has now made its presence felt in the Goa market and has carved out a distinct niche, focussing on the millennials. With three local players, expect more to join the fun to satiate the thirst of that discerning consumer of spirit

When Elroy met with his friends in the

evening to chew the fat, it usually meant some Goan delicacy washed down by some good, cool beer. That would mean either a Kingfisher or a Budweiser. Everyone was happy and content. And then Elroy moved to Bengaluru to take up an assignment in the information technology sector. His knowledge expanded and his tastes developed. He acquired a taste for that city’s craft beer. With various outlets like Toit, the Biere club, Euphoria, Barleyz- The Brew house to name a few, he was exposed to beer that was more intimate, a beer with a very distinct personality and generally available in small numbers.

Craft beer has now made its presence felt in the Goan market. This is a market that is conventionally dominated by Kingfisher, Tuborg and Budweiser. While it is a small market, it’s rather interesting because of the huge role tourism plays in the economy of the country. This essentially means tourists from all over the country and from certain countries visit it in large numbers thus giving brands exposure. Craft beer is available in Europe with countries each having a distinct personality.

Aditya Challa of the Susegado Brewing Company, one of the big players in the craft beer segment, says that craft by the nature of the category is unconventional beer and is split into categories. There are players from outside like Bira and Whiteowl and then there are micro-breweries that are big but still niche players. Then there are micro-breweries that make craft beer. He says, “That’s us Susegado, Goa Brewing Company and Arbor Brewing Company.” The category has been growing rapidly, fuelled by the fact that Goans who travel a lot are exposed to it during their visits and like it. In addition, there is a large percentage of residents from other states who like craft beer and want it in Goa too. He says the company has grown 40% year on year and they are now planning to get into bottling during the season. They intend to start a bar by the end of this month or the start of the next. Given that a majority of the customers are Indians and their brewery is based in Calangute, he says it would certainly be a boost to their business. Funnily, he says that the foreign tourists are not keen perhaps because of the price. “Since we offer only three beers and because tourists visit Goa for a short duration, its takes time to get popular,” he opines. He does expect the high intensity growth to continue for the next couple of years.

Elroy Figueiredo, who works in Bengaluru, says that the 66 micro-breweries in that city do give him a lot of options but Goa has three and a start has been made. He says, “I love the craft beers being made in Goa. A personal favourite is Eight Finger Eddie by the Goa Brewing Company. I love the different styles of beer, the flavours and the difference in quality is visible.”

Suraj Shenai of Goa Brewing Company says that the name Eight Finger Eddie was selected to remind the people of the state of their history. This is made year-round. But during the season, a Pineapple beer between October and February will also be distilled. It is a French style summer wheat beer. He feels that the market in Goa is very good and since they are not a mass market product, they are definitely okay. They have a small brewery and they supply to the top 200 outlets in the state. They bottle twice a week, a total of 200 cases.

For the man who gave India’s first stout, Apoorv Ranade, fame sits very lightly on his shoulders. The man behind Simba believes the craft market is growing, especially now, with millennials who travel a lot looking for options. It is also helped by the fact that craft lager beer is very light and is very ideal for a state with hot and humid weather. Business is growing and the fact that they are now available makes it very exciting.

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