Craft beer makes rapid inroads (Lifestyle Trend) (August 5 is International Beer Day)

Gurgaon/New Delhi, Aug 4 (IANS) If the “Made for each other blend set the filter trend” for a popular cigarette brand in the 1960s and after, beer, and specifically craft beer, has been increasingly setting the trend in the last few years, what with even hardened drinkers switching off from hard liquor.

“The beer market is the fastest growing alcohol segment in India by consumption and revenue change, especially with the entry of microbreweries about five years ago,” Debjeet Banerjee, who manages the Lagom Kitchen and Brewery in Gurgaon and the Hype nightclub in south Delhi, told IANS.

“Now, all that you need to do is get yourself to the nearest microbrewery for a couple of glasses of freshly crafted beer that is free of synthetic preservatives and, if made well, packed with flavour, at reasonable prices.

“We are also celebrating the International Beer Day (August 5) with a 1+1 offer on freshly curated beer,” Banerjee said.

With the revolution of the microbreweries in the Millennium City, more and more youngsters are opting for freshly-brewed craft beer, ditching the traditional bottles and cans. Also, with the rise in the number of global travellers and health conscious people, “more and more people are developing new tastes, habits and look forward to consuming unique and refreshing beer for a good, stress-free day,” Banerjee said.

Bottled versions of craft beer are also in the market and it is not surprising that the first one to hit the market two years ago is a huge hit.

“Bira has evoked a very positive response and the feedback from the people has been excellent. With its white ale and blonde craft lager versions, Bira has become a big hit among the country’s young pub-goers who are increasingly turning to international brews,” Banerjee said.

Craft beer “has brought a revolutionary change in beer drinking which gives a variety of flavours on offering and due to live manufacturing it makes beer drinking one good experience,” Sameer Saroha of Boombox Cafe in Gurgaon’s Sector 29 told IANS, adding that it had encouraged more and more women to patronise bars.

In coming days, a trend of cocktails like beer mojito “will bring a change in this sector”, Saroha said.

Microbreweries, according to Sunil Khera, General Manager of the Fortune Select Hotel in Gurgaon’s Sector 49 that operates The Brewhouse, “have come as a god-sent gift for the people who are getting more comfortable with this new culture”.

The new trend has enriched the typical drinking experience among beer zealots, who now understand their brew and ditch the extra calories that come with stored beverage.

“Fresh brew, as the name suggests, has no chemicals or preservatives, and can be very creatively crafted to cater to various tastes and flavours,” Khera said.

Changing lifestyles and longer periods of hot weather have had a positive impact on the performance of beer in both the on-trade and off-trade channels, Nimit Mahajan of World Art Dining in West Delhi’s Panjabi Bagh told IANS.

“With increased leisure expenditure, beer registered a rise in volume terms, which was equally pronounced in the on-trade channel,” Mahajan said.

(Vishnu Makhijani can be contacted at vishnu.makhijani@ians.in)

–IANS

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