BENGALURU: Take a tour of the brewery and watch the chemistry of the golden beverage as it gets blended for you. After the tour, sit down and enjoy some draught beer in the bar, located on the brewery premises, and carry back home the drink in a growler. Bengaluru is on the cusp of a dramatic change in its beer-drinking culture yet again.
Seven months after the state government amended the Excise Act Karnataka Excise (Brewery) Rules, 1967, to introduce growlers – a popular concept in the West – to allow customers to carry draught beer home in growlers of 1.5-2 litres capacity, the brewery, Geist, has come forward to start the ‘beer-in-growler’ culture in Bengaluru. Growlers are air-tight containers made of ceramic, glass or stainless steel to carry fresh draught beer from the brewery.
Narayan Manepally of Geist is busy setting up the first factory outlet in Karnataka around the 300-year-old banyan tree at his brewery in Nimbekaipura on the way to Hoskote for in-house and take-away craft beer experience.
“We have already started the work on the factory outlet, which would include a restaurant as well. The excise department will carry out the inspection and we will then apply for a licence for the outlet. Growlers is a new concept in India. We will be giving glass growlers at a refundable deposit of `500 per container,” said Narayan.
Draught beer in growler will be priced on par with the microbreweries in Bengaluru, he added. Commercial breweries alone can apply for a licence for factory outlet (for growlers) at an annual fee of Rs 2 lakh, said an excise officer.
The Excise (amendment) Act defines a factory outlet as a place, which is separated but is contiguous to the brewery. It is a licensed premises, where the licencee is permitted to showcase the process of brewing along with the products to sell for consumption of beer. Visitors can drink beer at the outlet or carry it with them. “We hope other breweries too will come forward for the licence. It will lead to a healthy competition among them,” the officer added.
For Bengalureans beer is a sport they would always love to cheer. 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. Government charts since last year have shown an increase in the sale and consumption of beer. Bengaluru tops the chart in consumption, followed by Mangaluru and Udupi in Dakshin Kannada district.
“The number of microbreweries and retail vending of beer outlets has grown in the city in the last couple of years. This may have also contributed to the spurt in beer sale and consumption,” Excise Commissioner V Yashwant said.