How this 27-year-old went on to set up a Rs 150 Cr beer brand in 1 year
Medusa Beverages is a craft beer brand started in 2017. The brand is present in Delhi, Punjab, UP, and Chhattisgarh, and is now looking to expand to other states as well.
Even if beer makes for a great accompaniment for many a conversation, there are many impediments to the growth of the beer industry in India. Heavy regulations, import duties across states, and ban on advertising and distribution in 28 states of India make up some challenges.
While distribution of beer is partially organised in some states, the government acts as a distributor in others and supplies it through its own channels. Thus, a lack of distribution channels is a major challenge in the beer industry.
It was while studying architecture that Avneet Singh realised that the field wasn’t his calling. So simultaneously, when he was 19, he started ‘Bella Peau’, a skincare product brand, by investing from his personal savings and taking a seed capital of Rs 2 lakh from his father. However, the product didn’t work and Avneet started a food and drinks café.
It was during this time that Avneet realised that there was a need for a beer brand in the market that catered to the needs of the younger crowd. So, in 2016, he managed to get a licence to start a liquor store in Delhi.
Avneet founded Medusa Beverages in April 2017 and began its operations in January 2018.
While the brand made a turnover of Rs 70 crore in 2018, it clocked Rs 150 crore in 2019 clearly showcasing that there was a huge demand for craft beer across the country.
After launching in Delhi, Medusa Beverages is now present in Punjab, UP, and Chhattisgarh. At 25, Avneet completed his B.Arch from Delhi University. However, he had started working in the field of multi-level-marketing from Class X.
“Personally, I am very passionate about beer. There is a big gap in the market. Beer consumption is increasing by the day in India. The idea of launching a premium strong beer in the market will help us in reaching out to the major chunk of the population,” says Avneet.
“In the first year, we sold three lakh cases in Delhi. No brand in the past 20 years has achieved this feat in Delhi, and we are now looking for a bigger number this year. Also, we have the second highest canned beer sales in Delhi market,” adds Avneet.
The team works on contract or lease manufacturing. Avneet says they have a unit on lease, and their brewery is based out of Punjab. “As of now, we are not planning to set up any brewery of our own. I believe it’s better to invest crores in brand development rather than investing in a brewery,” says Avneet.
The team has its own formula to make the beer. Avneet says they have their in-house team of brew masters who researched for almost a year and came up with the recipe.
“Our beer is a combination of the best barley malt and imported hops from Germany,” says Avneet. India’s brew industry accounts for two to three percent of the country’s lager showcase which is to a great extent skewed towards the more grounded form.
The inquisitiveness of the millennials has led to increase in production of lager. Raw materials account for 40 percent of the cost and the remaining goes in packaging and bottling. Medusa beer is priced between Rs 120 to Rs 150.
Speaking about the packaging, Avneet adds, “We are into selling beer in cans as well as in bottles to sustain in the market, but my team is promoting cans now. A can, though more expensive than a glass bottle, is more hygienic and classy. In India, the bottle industry controls 82 percent of the market, while cans occupy the remaining 18 percent market. Among Indian-Made-Foreign Liquor (IMFL), there are no aluminum cans, only bottles exist. There is one more packaging that we have introduced in UP. A tetra pack for IMFL- just like a Frooti, in 180 ML.”
The craft beer segment in the country is expected to reach $900.0 million by 2024, according to a report by Goldstein Research.
Medusa Beverages presently competes with Delhi-NCR based Bira and Mumbai-based White Owl, among others.
Currently, Medusa focuses on wheat and lager beer, but will soon look to enter other markets as well. “We are planning to expand to five cities this year and will aim at a pan-India presence. We are coming up with different variants of the product as well,” says Avneet.
(Edited by Javed Gaihlot)