Trends #8.1: Craft Beer in India with Pranav Mehra, Co-Founder of Brew Whale

In this episode we speak to Pranav Mehra, Co-Founder of Brew Whale – a craft beer brewing company based out of Bombay.

Craft Alcohol Newsletter
Pranav Mehra
Brew Whale Website

The Birth of Craft Beer in India

I'm a big fan of good beer and could not resist doing a few episodes about the changing environment in the beer and alcohol industry in India. Craft beer has become a huge industry in the US in Europe - when you go to grocery store there you will see a number of bears from small breweries. With the advent of microbreweries in Maharashtra in the early 2010’s, with Doolaly at the forefront of this change, the entire beer industry in India has seen a radical shift. Young people like me have many more options drink a casual beer then just Kingfisher. However the biggest hurdle holding back the shift in the alcohol industry in India is regulation. Government regulations hold back this industry at every turn whether it is manufacturing, distribution or marketing.  

Building a Beer Brand & the Challenges

In this episode with Pranav, we explore the how he first conceptualize the idea of building a beer brand in such a tightly regulated market, how he executed it and what he thinks is the future for this market. There were a few things that really shocked me through this conversation - number one, you have to build your entire brewery before you can apply for manufacturing license. Building the brewery is not cheap it can be as much as 1 crore. Number 2, Distribution is also a big hurdle where you have to apply for license for every restaurant with whom you want to partner.

Alcohol Regulations in India & The Future of the Space

Personally I think regulations are both good and bad for the entrepreneurs that work in that industry. They’re bad because they make your everyday life so much harder. however it's good because it dissuades people like me from even thinking of entering tightly regulated business like this. however the laws are changing and the winds are shifting - the alcohol space in India is going to look very different 10 years from now.