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Doglapan spikes! Teetotaler Ashneer’s biggest investment in Bira 91


Although Ashneer Grover abstains from drinking, his largest investment is in BIRA. 🍺(Doglapan at peak!😉)

As fascinating as the above fact and as awesome as Bira’s beer is their story.

In just 7 years, BIRA has become India’s most popular beer, with a $170 million income last year!

Here’s how BIRA is on its way to becoming the next King of Good Times: In 2020, India’s alcohol market was estimated to be worth $52.5 billion.

Certainly that the number has increased significantly since then as the social and nightlife scenes have begun to pick up.

Though hard liquor dominates the alcohol market, beer is having an impact.

As evidence, the craft beer brand Bira91 has grown at a 150% CAGR over the last five years! And keep in mind that craft beer accounts for only 1-2% of the total beer market.

What sparked this Craft beer fever, and what formula did Bira devise to dominate the niche beer market? Let’s find out…

Craft beer, unlike conventional beer, is made in small batches using a unique recipe with special attention paid to freshness, flavors, and ingredients.

We normally have premium segment beers and mass-produced beers in India. Premium beers have a finer taste and quality, but they are often more expensive.

The price is deliberately set high. It gives the brand a sense of exclusivity and defines it as premium. People often equate money with quality and authenticity. As a result, higher-priced beers are usually classified as “elite.” However, the difficulty with increasing the cost is that it reduces the frequency of use. To compensate, we have mass-produced beers.

To keep costs down, mass-produced beers sacrifice quality and expensive ingredients. They prefer to brew the beers using tried-and-true processes and recipes rather than attempting to develop something new. This reduces prices but removes the “elite” label.

Something had to be done to balance the cost and quality. And it is here that the craft of Craft beers works its charm.

How did Ankur Jain, the founder of Bira91, come to this realization?

Ankur established Cerana Beverages as a business in 2009. (B9 now). Premium craft beer brands from Belgium, Germany, and the United States were imported and distributed by the company. His time with this company taught him about the Indian palate and the Indian beer industry.

He traveled to Europe to study the various unique beers available and the complexities involved in beer production. Craft beer was unfamiliar to the majority of Indians at the time. He recognized an opportunity to profit from this.

Today, flavored goods are commonplace among Indian consumers. We dislike bland food. Bira addresses this directly. It has developed seasonal and regional flavors in addition to traditional ones. Everything is created locally and with fresh ingredients. People have become more personal with the brand as a result of the “local” component.

They also concentrated on draught beer (beer served through taps) from the beginning. This offered them an edge because they were visible at the bar rather than just being restricted to a refrigerator.

Another thing they’ve nailed is the branding and design. Their mascot is a monkey. This is a metaphor for the monkey in all of us 😉 And they’ve been working on branding for over 9 months.

For instance, Bira91, the name has been greatly considered. Bira is the Hindi word for brother and 91 is India’s country code. So, as you can see, the name screams India. The product design and packaging are unique, which helps with sales.

Their marketing and distribution strategy is straightforward and cost-effective. Bars, restaurants, and pubs are their primary distribution routes. This is where the majority of their target audience goes.

So they didn’t have to go head-over-heels for their reach. And, because Ankur already had a distribution company, the channel was practically complete.

Apart from social media, they have effectively used digital channels for marketing. For example, they collaborated with Zomato to develop branded keyword search, so that if you typed “Bira91 near me,” it would return a list of pubs and restaurants that served Bira.

And this was back when Zomato was barely getting established.

That’s kind of a big thing. So, as you can see, they made themselves known in every manner conceivable. They had already figured out how to create a disruptive product. All they had to do was get people’s attention. They turn out to be pretty good attention seekers.

And, with imports declining due to regulations, high taxes, and recent supply chain interruptions, Bira has plenty of room to stretch his legs. So much so that in the previous two years, they have doubled their volume and tripled their market share!

The truth is that they don’t want to be just another brewery. They desire to contribute to society. Every time you hold it, it makes you feel special and authentic. They sought to establish a reputation as the hippest, most daring, and most enjoyable beer brand.

The beer market is far larger than it appears. Beer, on the other hand, has a far lower alcoholic level than hard liquor. And, given the current health craze, beer appears to be the drink of choice for social gatherings.

Furthermore, with the increasing stress elements in today’s world, liquor appears to be a pleasant spot for people. And beer is like a magical potion that can help relieve stress while not negatively impacting your health.

All in all, They’ve put a lot of thought and effort to build the brand and the results are undebatable!


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