Bengaluru: If beer was a sport then Bengaluru would have had the biggest and the most fanatic sports club on the map of Asia.
The community of beer geeks in the City is on such a high that the government charts show a 13 per cent increase in the sale and consumption of beer in the seven months; between April and November 30 this year in comparison with the sales in the last financial year.
Bengaluru tops the chart in beer consumption followed by Mangaluru and Udupi in Dakshin Kannada district.
“There’s a 12.99 per cent increase in the sale of beer in the State from April 1 to Nov. 30 this year as against last 2017-’18,” said Excise Commissioner V. Yashwanth. The Department had sold 265.77 lakh cases in the last FY; between April 2017 and March 31, 2018. This year
192.02 lakh cases have already been sold between April 1 and November 30. Alcohol sales will further peak during Christmas and New Year season, when beer consumption will go over the roof. One case contains nine litres of alcohol. “The number of microbreweries and retail vending of beer outlets have grown in the City in the last couple of years. This may have also contributed to the spurt in beer sale and consumption,” said the officer.
The number of pubs and bars and the increasing number of beer ‘districts’ - the microbreweries, which are now around 66 in the city explain the boom in beer sale and consumption. “The whole format of pubs and bars in old Bangalore of the late 80s and 90s has changed dramatically.
Bengalureans always loved their beer but those were the days of handful of small, cozy pubs and bars, where the owner knew his customers and would personally be there to greet them, most of who would only come during the weekends. The last order was taken at 9pm and the shutters would be down by 10pm. Today we need big spaces and a bouquet of beer flavours for our guests. The concept of weekend drinking is long gone. The tastes have also evolved from bottle and tap (draught) to craft beer," said Naren Beliappa of LEPL and the owner of fine dining and lounge bar 'Tao Terrace.'
Microbreweries need huge investments, said Ajay Gowda, the owner of 'Byg Brewsky Brewing Company Limited.' Gowda has set up Asia's biggest microbrewery in Bengaluru in Hennur and Sarjapur. The average monthly footfall at his microbrewery in Hennur, which is built to accommodate a crowd of 2,200 at any time ranges between 42,000 and 45,000. "Beer is an easy drink and is mostly loved by all; from the neo-initiates of people from 21 years and above to the elderly," he said.
The State government is also pandering to the taste of beer lovers and on October 6 has drafted rules to amend Karnataka Excise (Brewery) Rules, 1967 to introduce growlers for beer geeks - a Western concept in beer drinking countries - to allow customers to carry 1.5 litres to two litres of draught beer home from the breweries. Growlers are air tight containers made of ceramic, glass or stainless steel to carry home fresh draught beer from the brewery. Once notified by the government, the beer buddies will carry home, growlers with the chilled 'drink of moderation.' Online delivery will soon have to follow.