India’s economic boom fuels booze bonanza

PUNE, August 31, 2011 (AFP) – It’s Friday night at a microbrewery pub in Pune, western India, and Swapnil Dakshindas and his friends don’t know which beer to choose. The barman pours four different brews, fermented in giant steel vats just next door, for them to try.

“It’s fresh, has no preservatives and I know what’s gone into it,” Dakshindas, a 33-year-old professional, told AFP as he decided on a wheat beer. “And you don’t get a hangover.”

The 1st Brewhouse, which was India’s first licenced brew-pub when it opened in 2009, serves Doolally beers and has become a magnet for the young, well-travelled and affluent seeking a different type of night out.

Doolally — British slang for going mad — sells nearly 4,000 litres (7,000 pints) of beer at the pub each month, tapping in to a growing thirst for new tastes and experiences.

In the past 18 months, Doolally has brewed 25 flavours, including beers made from jaggery (cane sugar), millet and even berries — a far cry from the India pale ales popularised during British colonial times.

The start-up turned a modest profit in 2010-11 after an initial outlay of 30 million rupees ($665,000).
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