India’s beer market is booming with the success and expansion of its homegrown beers like Bira91, Simba and White Rhino.
Simba beer which can be found on the shelves at Delhi, Mumbai, Goa, Bengaluru and the states of Chattisgarh actually started off in Durg, Chattisgarh when 27 year old Prabhtej Singh Bhatia decided to build a brewery in the state. Bhatia’s family has been in the liquor business since 1948.
Launched in the year 2016 with its first beer Simba Strong, the company later introduced Lager, Wit and Stout and successfully made a revenue of Rs.76 crore in 2017-2018 and Rs.125 crore in 2018-2019.
Simba is now all set to open its second brewery in the state of Arunachal pradesh as it plans to conquer the Northeastern market.
“Now we want to further strengthen our presence in these markets and not just grow geographically. By the end of the year, I hope to offer a portfolio of beer products to all of these cities we are currently in,” Bhatia told Business Insider India.
At present Simba faces fierce competition from Bira91 which which is also growing fast in numbers and geographically too.
“In the price range we are in, we are behind only Bira in terms of absolute volumes,” said Bhatia.
It was soon after his return from the UK where he had gone to pursue his graduation he realised the lack of a product level distinction of beer in the country.
“There was just a general notion that beer is to get you high. But now, more and more younger consumers are demanding it more for the taste of it and want a better product for a better experience of drinking it with friends,” said Bhatia.
Bhatia applied for his licence during his first year of graduation in 2009 and got it when he returned in 2012.
He soon finalised the land of his choice in Durg’s industrial area to set up the brewery. It took them 1.5 years to set up the brewery and even after that, they didn’t know how to make the right kind of beer.
“We tied up with SAB Miller for contract manufacturing of their beers. For two years, we only did their production to ensure we learn how to make a beer making facility efficient and also get the quality consistency right,” said Bhatia.
In May 2016, they launched the Simba Strong in Chhattisgarh and also focused on making the packaging strong enough to generate brand recall.
“In 2017, we doubled our capacity. In 2018 we ended the contract with SAB Miller and started making Simba alone,” he said.
Today, the capacity of the Durg brewery is 86.4 million bottles a year.