Do you want to open a brewpub or microbrewery business? Find here a detailed guide on how to start a microbrewery in India.
Let us first understand what is exactly a microbrewery or brewpub. A microbrewery or craft brewery is a brewery that produces a small amount of beer.
Exact definitions may vary. However, the terms are typically applied to breweries that are much smaller than large-scale corporate breweries. Also, these breweries are independently owned. Such breweries are generally characterized by their emphasis on quality, flavor, and brewing technique.
The brewpub or microbrewery concept is gaining popularity these days. And several state Governments are allowing permissions for starting microbreweries.
These microbreweries are essentially restaurants where one can consume fresh-off-the-tap beer that has been brewed in-house. The concept is new and now trending in our country. With substantial capital investment and strategic planning, one can start and operate this business successfully.
Table of Contents
Steps to Start a Microbrewery Business in India
1. Market Research and Business Plan
Before diving into the brewing world, conduct thorough market research. Understand consumer preferences, demand for craft beer in your region, and competition. Create a detailed business plan outlining your brewery’s goals, budget, and strategies for growth.
2. Legal and Regulatory Requirements
You need to register your microbrewery as a legal entity. Also obtain licenses, and meet regulatory standards for alcohol production and distribution. This includes state-specific permits and adhering to the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) guidelines.
Some of the basic licenses and permissions needed are listed below:
- Commercial Electricity line
- FSSAI License
- Commercial water line- Municipality/underground bore water
- Land registration/ Lease sanction
- Company registration
- Wastewater disposal certificate from the pollution control board
- Fabricated equipment quality certificate from third-party inspection.
- Water quality testing certificate from quality control labs.
- Quality Control (QC) certificate of finished beer from govt. approved QC labs, on a random inspection basis.
- GST Registration
3. Select a Location
Choose an appropriate location for your microbrewery. Some of the major factors to consider include accessibility, water quality, and proximity to suppliers and markets. Ensure that the facility meets safety and zoning regulations.
4. Microbrewery Business Setup & Machinery Equipment
You can initiate a microbrewery business in two ways. First of all, you can start the brewpub with the bar and restaurant setup. However, if you already have a hotel or restaurant, you can add a microbrewery to the existing infrastructure. In that case, you must have space for it.
List of the most important microbrewery equipment:
- Mashing Tuns & Kettles
- Lauter Tuns
- PHEs (Physical Heat Exchangers)
- Refrigeration machine
- Electric Cabinet with all controls
- PLC touch-type process controller
- Beer Filters
- Distribution Tanks
- Serving System
It is important to purchase machinery from reliable suppliers. Ask for customer feedback before placing your final order. Additionally, ask for a detailed equipment list and technical specifications of materials and physical technical specifications. Additionally, if the water supply does not meet standards, you will need to have an RO system.
5. Brewing Process
Beer is a mildly alcoholic beverage. You can produce it from Barley malt, hops, yeast, water, and other adjuncts such as maize, rice, sugar, wheat, etc. First of all, weigh the barley malt. Mill it to get a powder form.
Then, mix the malt with other ground ingredients as per the specific recipe. Add the treated water. Then put the whole mixture for Mashing.
During mashing the enzymes of the malt degrade the starch and proteins as per specific demands of the recipe for the style of beer and bring the sugars, amino acids, and minerals into the solution. Here, you will get WORT.
Then separate the WORT from the waste solid matter through a process of filtration called lautering. After Lautering, transfer the “WORT” to the kettle for WORT Boiling. Finally, send the solution to a Whirlpool wherein the WORT is swirled to precipitate the suspended matter and make it clear.
Finally, chill the WORT in a Plate Heat Exchanger from 100 °C to about 10 °C in an hour. Add the yeast into the Fermenters. In the fermenters, the yeast converts the fermentable sugars in the WORT to alcohol and Carbon Dioxide and this takes place for about 5-7 days at about 10 °C.
Soon after the maturation, pass the beer through a Filter. Finally, send the clear beer to the beer tanks. The beer is now ready to be dispensed fresh to the customer.
6. Quality Control and Testing
Implement strict quality control measures to ensure consistent taste and safety. Regularly test batches for alcohol content, flavor, and purity. Invest in lab equipment and qualified staff for quality assurance.
7. Branding and Marketing
Develop a strong brand identity for your brewery. Create captivating labels and packaging. Establish an online presence through a website and social media. Host events, tastings, and brewery tours to engage with customers.
8. Distribution and Sales
Build relationships with distributors, restaurants, bars, and retail outlets. Consider offering your beer in kegs, bottles, or cans, depending on market demand. Develop a sales strategy to expand your reach.
Frequently Asked Questions
How much capital is typically required to start a microbrewery in India?
The capital required can vary widely depending on factors such as the brewery’s size, location, equipment, and branding. A small microbrewery might need an initial investment of around INR 1-2 crores, while larger operations could require more.
What licenses and permits are needed to operate a microbrewery in India?
You’ll need licenses and permits from various authorities, including state excise departments, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), local municipal bodies, and the Pollution Control Board. These requirements can vary by state.
Can I sell my craft beer directly to consumers from the microbrewery premises?
Yes, many microbreweries in India operate taprooms or brewpubs where customers can enjoy fresh beer on-site. However, the rules and regulations regarding on-premises sales may vary by state.
How do I source quality ingredients like hops and malt for brewing in India?
You can source ingredients from local suppliers, but for specialty ingredients like hops, you may need to import them. Building relationships with reliable suppliers is essential to ensure the quality of your brews.
What are some common challenges in the microbrewery business in India?
Challenges can include stiff competition, fluctuating ingredient costs, compliance with changing regulations, and maintaining consistent beer quality. Staying adaptable and focused on quality is crucial.
Are there any specific guidelines for labeling and packaging of craft beer in India?
Yes, beer labeling and packaging must adhere to guidelines set by the FSSAI and state excise departments. Ensure that your labels include all required information and comply with alcohol packaging standards.
How can I differentiate my craft beer in a competitive market?
Differentiation can come from unique brew recipes, branding, and marketing. Experiment with diverse beer styles and flavors, engage with customers through events and social media and create a memorable brand identity.
Can I distribute my craft beer outside my brewery’s immediate vicinity?
Yes, you can distribute your craft beer to other establishments such as bars, restaurants, and retail stores. Building a distribution network is essential for expanding your reach.
Are there any incentives or subsidies for microbreweries in India?
Some states offer incentives or subsidies to promote the growth of the craft beer industry. Check with your state’s industrial development authority or excise department for potential incentives.
How do I stay updated on brewing trends and techniques?
You can stay updated through brewing associations, workshops, and industry publications. Attending craft beer festivals and networking with fellow brewers can also provide valuable insights.
11. What is the typical timeline for setting up and launching a microbrewery in India?
– The timeline can vary depending on factors such as permitting, construction, and equipment procurement. It can take anywhere from several months to over a year to get a microbrewery up and running.