Bira 91, India’s First Handcrafted Beer, Goes Off Shelves


Bira 91, India’s first bottled craft beer, has been hard to find for all the beer connoisseurs in the country. One of the more popular beers in Delhi and Bengaluru, which hit the shelves last year, has hit a huge roadblock due to lack of funding and the failure to gauge the beer’s demand correctly, according to Livemint. Apart from the funds, the arrangement with its bottler in Haryana has also fallen through. 

Supply vs. Demand – A Lesson

Founded by Ankur Jain and launched in February 2015, Bira 91 found a tremendous market for its craft brews – Bira White and Bira Blonde – among the beer drinkers of the country. Marketed as India’s first handcrafted beer, Bira 91 was flying off the shelves as fast as it came on. Due to the excessive demand for a different variety of beer as compared to regular bottled beers such as Kingfisher and international brands such as Budweiser, Heineken and Miller among others, Bira 91 stood a class apart in the beer market of the country. Now, the company is looking for more funds to build “an efficient back-end and logistics system” to ensure that the supply of the beer matches the demand. 


Lack Of Funding

Speaking to Livemint regarding the funding, Jain said, “We’ll close the round within the next 2-4 weeks with funds from existing investors and new ones.” The company raised $6 million in a Series A funding early this year from Sequoia Capital and individual investors such as Kunal Bahl and Rohit Bansal, co-founders of Snapdeal and Deepinder Goyal, co-founder of Zomato. But due to excessive demand for the beer and the lack of funding to focus on the logistics issues, Bira 91 has been off the shelves for quite some time. “Raising money in the current market is not easy. We are glad that investors are willing, and have faith in what we are doing,” added Jain. 



Bottled Troubles

Apart from the funding issue, the company has also faced troubles with its sole bottler in Haryana. According to Jain, Bira’s expansion plans into seven cities “was based on the arrangements with the Haryana bottler which did not work out. At that point, we did not have any other option but to import from Belgium. Simply put, our supply could not keep up with the demand in the market, primarily for Bira White,” added Jain.