Luxury Beer Gives Bengaluru Hip Crowd a New High

beer-heineken and Carlsberg
IT’S SUPER-PREMIUM Kingfisher joins club of brands like Carlsberg, Corona, Peroni and Heineken offering premium beer.

There is always something happening around beer in the city. If the beverage has been reinvented from time to time, from draught to craft, luxury is the latest beer buzzword. Bengaluru-born Kingfisher, India’s largest beer brand, recently launched its first luxury beer brand, Ultra Max, priced at `150 for 650 ml. Night clubs and gastropubs in the city already serve luxury beers of Carlsberg, Corona, Peroni and Heineken.“Super-premiumisation is the name of the game today ,“ said Samar Singh Sheikhawat, senior vice-president, marketing, United Breweries, owner of the Kingfisher brand. “In any industry -automobile or real estate -the premium C-class sedan or the `crore’ category is the fastestgrowing. Likewise, super-premium mild beers… are growing at 30% in t h e p a s t f ive years.“

Bengaluru’s beer legacy developed in the 1980s. “Beer had the status of water in Bengaluru. One could easily believe that beer was being served for free in the 1980s,“ said wine and beverage expert Aslam Gafoor. “Pubs like The Pub World and Downtown Pub served draught beer. One mug cost anywhere be tween `7 and `12 -a treat for the huge population of students.“beer-bangalore

Fashion designer Manoviraj Khosla, a beer drinker, recalls how Bengaluru got its `pub city’ tag.“This was the first city in India to have beer on tap,“ he said. “Thirty years ago pubs like The Pub, Guzzler’s Inn and Take 5 served only beer.“

Historians trace this legacy back to the era of British rule. Suresh Moona, who frequently writes on Bengaluru’s history , said, “In 1860, Bengaluru’s cantonment developed the club culture. MG Road had a watering hole called Funnels where Food World stands today . It had both the military and elite Bengalureans flocking to it. The Kingfisher and Khodays breweries opened, making beer easily available and cheap.“

Gafoor traced the drink’s various avatars in the city. “After draught, mild and strong branded beers took over. We saw a short trend of the potent Trappist beer from Belgium. Recently, the microbrewery phenomenon took over,“ he said.

Microbreweries are a cult today, with people flocking to places like Arbor Brewing Company , Windmill Craftworks and Big Brewsky . Even a restaurant like Punjabi By Nature has a small microbrewery. “Craft beer has pushed the envelope,“ said Vishal Nagpal, director, group operations, The Biere Club, the city’s first microbrewery. “We have six taps ranging from ale, lager, stouts, seasonal and more.“

Source : ET, July, 2015

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