Growing Trend for Experimental Brews

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Growing Trend for Experimental Brews

The dichotomy, when it comes to the Indian beer industry, lies in the fact that while the producers are gearing up to meet the demands of consumers in terms of flavours, taste, aroma and the overall experience that beer has to offer, the industry continues to struggle on account of complex licensing procedures, huge investments in bottling, canning and distribution, and the need to educate consumers about various beer styles. However, the approach is pragmatic, as outlined by Teja Chakuri, Managing Partner, Ironhill India, Bengaluru.

Change is inevitable but remarkable tranformation is what attracts attention. And that is the case with the microbrewery industry in India which, over the past 15 years, has undergone a complete turnaround. In the beginning, microbreweries were a rarity in India and were only present in big cities. However, microbreweries have significantly increased nationwide due to evolving consumer tastes and a desire for unique beer experiences, including in smaller towns. People in India are becoming more interested in beer styles beyond traditional lagers, such as India Pale Ales (IPAs), stouts, porters and sour ales.

There is also a growing trend for experimental and collaborative brews, which use local ingredients and flavours to create authentic and diverse beer experiences. Craft beers, as Teja Chakuri will tell you, are gaining popularity among Indian consumers, who increasingly appreciate their flavours’ complexity and uniqueness. With the Indian consumers becoming more knowledgeable about the diverse beer styles and flavour profiles available beyond mainstream offerings, they are now exhibiting greater discernment and a willingness to experiment. The craftsmanship, attention to detail, and unique ingredients defining craft beers are now being recognised and valued.

This is resulting in an upswing in demand for premium and artisanal brews in India’s beer market. And as industry experts point out, the trend towards craft beers will continue as consumers seek out new and exciting flavour experiences. At the same time, craft beer, with its vast array of styles and flavours, can be a daunting landscape for consumers, especially those unfamiliar with the intricacies of the craft. “Microbreweries and beer enthusiasts are pivotal in guiding consumers through this journey by offering tasting sessions, beer flights and educational events that demystify the various styles and flavour profiles,” points out Teja.

Meeting New Demands

While lager remains a dominant force in the Indian beer market, there is an observable trend in consumer tastes towards diversification. The growing popularity of craft beer styles, such as IPAs, wheat beers and stouts, is increasingly challenging the traditional dominance of lager, particularly among younger demographics and urban consumers. These styles offer unique and diverse flavour experiences that cater to the consumers’ evolving palates, reflecting a broader cultural shift towards the premium category and quality in the beer industry.


“This metamorphosis in consumer preferences points to the importance of recognising and meeting the market’s changing needs,” Teja opines.

With increasing number of consumers seeking unique and high- quality beer products, breweries and industry players must adapt to remain competitive. By offering a variety of craft beer styles, breweries can cater to the consumers’ evolving tastes and tap into the growing demand for premium beer products.

Overall, the changing trends in India’s beer market present challenges and opportunities for breweries and industry players. By staying attuned to the consumers’ evolving tastes and preferences, beer businesses can position themselves for success in this dynamic and rapidly changing industry. “Stakeholders in India’s craft beer segment must continue to prioritise education and consumer engagement to ensure continued growth and vibrancy,” Teja says.

Technological Leaps

Elaborating on how technological advancements have contributed to the economies and scale of the industry, Teja opines that they have significantly impacted the microbreweries’ growth and financial viability in India. One of the most notable improvements is that of integrating automated brewing systems that provide precise control over the brewing process, resulting in consistent quality and increased efficiency. As a result, microbreweries in the country can now produce larger volumes of beer while reducing labour costs and minimising the likelihood of human error. Another significant innovation is adopting sustainable brewing practices. This includes water recycling and energy-efficient equipment.

Such initiatives reduce the microbreweries’ environmental impact and contribute to long-term cost savings. By prioritising sustainability, microbreweries can appeal to environmentally conscious consumers and differentiate themselves in the market. Additionally, advancements in packaging technology, such as canning and bottling lines, have enabled microbreweries to expand their distribution channels beyond taprooms. By offering their fresh beers in convenient and portable formats, microbreweries can tap into new markets and increase revenue streams, aligning with preferences for on-the-go consumption and premium craft beer experiences.

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