All The Latest About Bira 91
Ever since entering the market in 2015, Bira 91 has been creating a stir across the country. I wrote about the brand towards the tail end of last year:
- Bira – The Brand Story – https://talesoffroth.wordpress.com/2015/12/20/bira-91-the-brand/
- Bira – The Beers – https://talesoffroth.wordpress.com/2015/12/22/bira-91-the-beers/
The marketing and branding have been phenomenal – a success that many new brands entering the market will want to follow and for all the right reasons. The blog posts on Tales Of Froth that get consistent hits month after month include the articles above about Bira.
There have been several developments since then and like any growing company, B9 Beverages (the company behind Bira) has faced its fair share of ups and downs, the most painful being supply chain issues. Across India, there were shortages of Bira for various reasons. That’s one of the challenges of contract manufacturing abroad. It’s not lead times that hurt your brand but rather customs and excise.
In last year’s interview I had asked CEO Ankur Jain about their future plans and these included shifting manufacturing to India, exporting to the US and more variants.
Here’s an excerpt of what he said, “It is a handcrafted beer, Imagined in India and made with a careful selection of world’s best ingredients- The vision is to bring a revolution in the craft beer category in a market that is ready for it. Also, by giving it a linguistically Indian name we want to re-emphasize that being Indian is cool and we can create globally exciting products – A product that can ‘sit on a shelf in NY’ but has been proudly imagined in India”
Ankur was recently and Bangalore and I got a chance to catch up with him and the Bira team to find out what the company has been up to and what we the consumers can expect in the next few months.
Production in Belgium has been halted and their contract brewing facility just outside Indore is up and running. The first bottles of Indian made Bira Blonde have rolled off the lines and are on their way to consumers across India.
Bira was being exported to the US and this will continue now from India. That’s quite a feat and much credit needs to be given to the brand for being the official Beer at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival (co-incidently Robert De Niro happens to be my all time favorite actor).
This is good news for consumers across India as it will address several supply chain issues as Indore is centrally located. The company will only have to deal with bottle necks caused by state controlled excise departments.
Karnataka is similar to a black hole when it comes to Beer bottles not produced in state or imported. Our selection of beers other than at brewpubs is dismal at best and quite an insult to iconic city Bangalore’s cult like status for being the pub capital of the country.
The only way to beat the system is to work with it. If you produce in sate, you can freely distribute and also put your beers on tap. In case you haven’t noticed, at the moment you can only get Kingfisher and Fosters/Knock Out on tap for that very reason – these are the only two Beers being manufactured in state. There’s nothing wrong about these Beers but as consumers we should have the right of choice and variety is indeed the spice of life.
Bira are working on setting up a contract brewing set up in Mysore that will be operational by the Summer of 2017. You can expect Bira in several packaging formats including Kegs.
Product Updates – Packaging, Recipes, Price Points
Bira have made some subtle changes to their label design. The new bottle is pictured on the left and the old one on the right. The label is esentially cleaner.
You can expect a new format – Bira Cans in 500 ml packaging in the coming weeks and a new 330 ml can format for special distribution channels. The transition from one way kegs (single use) to re-usable new aluminum kegs will be taking place going forward for all the Bira manufactured in India which is simply more cost effective and has no impact on product quality.
Recipe changes – The Blonde has been reformulated and I’m told it will be crisper, lower in sweetness and not as bitter as previous versions.
More varieties – Someone had asked recently if new varieties would be introduced. That my dear friends is your hands. If India starts embracing bitter, hoppy beers, I have no doubt that we shall see an Indian made IPA on our shelves. I say this time and time again – keep an open mind and explore the world of beer!
Price points are currently at Rs. 120/150 for the Blonde and White respectively but these will change once Indian made Bira hits our shelves. Start rejoicing as pricing will be under Rs. 100 for 330ml bottles of Bira which is not just good news, that’s great news!
So who else has joined the race to make packaged Indian Craft Beer?
Kaama Impex launched Witlinger in 2014 on draft and have not started bottled distribution in select cities. They contract brew in Wales and have two variants – a Wheat Ale (similar to a Belgian Wit but not exactly the same) and a Lager (brewed with American and Japanese hops).
White Rhino Brewing out of Gwalior is India’s first complete production brewery and they’ve just launched 2 variants – a German style Lager and a Belgian style Wit.
It will be interesting to see how well these brands do and what the public thinks of them. So far Witlinger and White Rhino have yet to make it to Karnataka. Both are available in UP and Haryana, with Witlinger being availalbe in Goa & Mumbai additionally.
Bira Finder – Bangalore
Before you read this list, please do the following:
- Call ahead to check for Bira availability.
- Message Bira on their social media pages, if unable to locate Bira in your vicinity:
- Bira Website -Click Here
- Bira on Facebook – Click Here
- Bira on Twitter – Click Here
- Bira on Instagram – Click Here
Please note that this list may not be complete. The information here is current as of November 18, 2016.
- The Winery Wines
- Blue Land Wine Stores
- Spencer’s (Indira Nagar)
- Triroshh wines
- Bindu Wines
- Sams Wines & Spirits
- Drops Total Spirits
- AVK Wines & Spirits
- Classic Wine, Karnataka Spirit
- Ruby Wines
- K.M.C LIQOUR
- House of Spirits
- Liqor Galaxy
- My Drops
- CHANDANA ENTERPRISES
- Cyber Wines
- Dewars Wine Stores
- Keerthana Wines
- Honey World
- SLNS Wines
- Swapna Lokha
- Pink Berry 5
- Brundavan Wines
- Vintage Wines
- Orcade Wine & Spirits.
Bars, Pubs & Restaurants
- The Beer Café
- Take 5
- B Flat Rest Pub
- Doff Pub
- The Humming Tree
- Three Dots and a Dash
- Glocal Junction
- Tipsy Bull
- Tippler On The Roof
- Copper Chimney
- TGIF-Lido Mall
- Social Offline
- Smoke House Deli
- Watsons Vasanth Nagar
- Farzi Café
- Soda Bottle Opener
- Harry’s (Phoenix Market City)
- Garden City Restaurant
- The Local
- Easy Tiger (Koramangala)
- High Ultra Lounge
- Sheraton Bangalore
I do hope you enjoyed reading this article. Please comment, like, share and of course follow Tales Of Froth.
Cheers and Stay Frothy!
JJ The Keg
All Images & Information Courtesy: B9 Beverages, Tales Of Froth & otherwise as mentioned