New Delhi, Jan 3 (IANSlife) India was once primarily a light beer market, with all sales restricted to brands containing less than 5% alcohol. Golden Eagle was the first beer brand, created in 1855 by Dyer Meakin Breweries Ltd. (later Mohan Meakin Ltd.) in Solan, HP. United Breweries went on to open breweries in Bangalore and Kalyani, both in West Bengal, with regional labels Kingfisher and Kalyani Black Label.
Devans opened a tiny brewery in Jammu in 1967, but the rise of beer really took off in the early 1970s, when three new breweries, Punjab, Brigadier, and Rosy Pelican Brands, opened in Punjab and Haryana. The UB Group later acquired Punjab Breweries and Indo-Lowerbrauwer, allowing it to become the market leader in the North. Following that, Mohan Meakin established breweries in Unnao, Uttar Pradesh, and Bankerpur, Punjab. The UP brewery created India’s first strong beer, GURU, which quickly became a market hit. THUNDERBOLT (Mount Shivalik) and RAJDHANI followed GURU (Devans).
The Shaw Wallace Group, which had previously solely been in the liquor sector, ventured into the brewing industry with the debut of HAYWARD 5000, which became a sensation following the great success of its dart game advertisement on national television. The UB Group avoided the strong beer segment until 1978, when it eventually took the leap and, thanks to the all-India presence of its brands, captured the lion’s share of the strong beer market. In 1984, Devans released GODFATHER.
Foster arrived in India in the late 1990s, opening the market for Western beer brands. Fosters was followed by Carlsberg, Tuborg, and Miller, all of which are international beer brands. However, Strong Beer had a disproportionately large market share compared to Light Beer. Hunter was created by Som Breweries in the early 2000s. Following that, the MNCs debuted their Premium Strong Beers, including Carlsberg Elephant, Budweiser Magnum, and Kingfisher Ultra Max. Consumers were introduced to a whole new world of Premium Beers as a result of this. With the entry of multinationals, the quality of beer has greatly improved, with most breweries focusing on the finer components of beer production.
With the opening of a number of microbreweries in Gurgaon, Bangalore, and Mumbai, the customer was exposed to new varieties of beer, such as white beers, stout, pale ale, and so on. Bira was the first to join the market with their Belgium Style Wheat beer BIRAin draught, which was originally imported from Belgium; Simba, White Rhino, and Six Fields soon followed. The Kingfisher Ultra Witbier was also released. With White Owl, pub breweries have also joined the branded beer industry. Craft beers underwent a revolution as a result.
(Prem Dewan, MD of Devans Modern Breweries Ltd)