India: Fastest growing craft beer brand secures another $50m

Bira 91, one of the fastest growing craft beer brands out of India, has just received its third round of funding of $50M led by Belgian investment firm Sofina. This brings the company to over $100M in funding to date. This latest round will be deployed to expand the India business five-fold over the next three years and establish a leadership position in the Indian premium beer market. It will also further accelerate Bira 91's global footprint with expansion in the US market, as well as Asia Pacific, including Singapore, Thailand, Hong Kong and Vietnam.

Two years ago, Sequoia Capital India marked its first-ever investment in a local alcoholic beverage brand by adding Bira 91 to its portfolio of tech investments, signifying a new era in the craft beer market. This new round of investment also sees a follow on participation from Sequoia Capital India.

With the global craft beer market projected to reach over $502B by 2025, and the market expected to witness substantial growth over the forecast period due to the rising demand for craft beers- Bira 91's growth comes at an opportune time to corner a rising market and reach emerging consumers.

Speaking of the new investment, Founder and CEO, Ankur Jain said, "Bira 91 aspires to drive the global shift in beer towards more flavor and color. The new capital allows us to think long term and establish a leadership position in premium beer in India. We also expect to create a meaningful international business in South East Asia and the United States. We truly believe that Bira 91 is at the ground floor of a massive global opportunity. We are excited to bring on board a fund like Sofina, with origins in Belgian family capital and with a truly long term horizon as we passionately execute towards our dream of creating a global leader in the space. The consistent and rock solid support by Sequoia India and Abhay Pandey, over the last two years has been exemplary and we draw a lot of confidence from their belief in our team a third time too!"

Bira 91 grew five times in the last fiscal year (ending March 31, 2018) and has scaled to be comparable to the top 10 craft breweries in the US in terms of volume in only three years. The company expects to use the new funds to expand its production footprint by more than five-fold to 2,000,000 barrels from the current capacity of 350,000 barrels per annum.

Maxence Tombeur, Head of Asia at Sofina, speaks of the investment, "Sofina accumulated a long experience investing in consumer goods and brands over the last decades, with investments including Danone, Richemont, Bowers & Wilkins and M. Chapoutier. Sofina is now looking forward to partnering with Bira 91 on a journey to scale their footprint in India and beyond. With our Belgian roots, we believe there is a great chemistry between our organizations and are proud to back Bira 91 as they are building a leading brand in the underserved premium beer segment. We have been impressed by Ankur and the passion driving Bira 91's management team. This investment is part of our strategy of being a long-term supporter of talented entrepreneurs and like-minded investors in growth markets."

 

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