A 27-year old has his own beer brand that is earning ₹125 crore just in its third year

Prabhtej Singh Bhatia, Co-Founder at SIMBA
  • In an interview with Business Insider, Prabhtej Singh Bhatia, co-founder of Simba beer, says the brand is for India’s millennials who wanted the real taste of beer.
  • In 2017-18, the company reported a revenue of ₹76 crore in 2017-18 and ₹125 crore in 2018-19.
  • The beer is available in the cities of Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Goa, Kolkata and the states of Chattisgarh and Assam
India’s homegrown beer market has gained popularity with the likes of Bira91, Simba, White Rhino among others, serving Indian millennials with tasteful beer in quirky bottles.

Simba beer which is now found on shelves at Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Goa, Kolkata and the states of Chattisgarh and Assam, actually started off in Durg, Chattisgarh. Born to a family that has been in the liquor business since 1948, 27-year old Prabhtej Singh Bhatia decided to build a brewery in the state where he grew up in.

And now, Simba is opening its second brewery in Arunachal Pradesh as it plans to conquer the North Eastern market.

The company officially launched its first beer Simba Strong in market in 2016, and followed it up with Lager, Wit and Stout. It reported revenue of ₹76 crore in 2017-18 and ₹125 crore in 2018-19.

“Now we want to further strengthen our presence in these markets and not just grow geographically. By the end of the year, I hope to offer a portfolio of beer products to all of these cities we are currently in,” Bhatia told Business Insider India.

But they have competition in the form of Bira91 which is also growing fast in numbers and geographically too.

“In the price range we are in, we are behind only Bira in terms of absolute volumes,” said Bhatia.

How he did it

In 2009, Bhatia went to the UK for his graduation and when he came home for summers, he realised the lack of a product level distinction of beer in India.

“There was just a general notion that beer is to get you high. But now, more and more younger consumers are demanding it more for the taste of it and want a better product for a better experience of drinking it with friends,” said Bhatia.

While in his first year of graduation, Bhatia applied for a license and finally got one when he came back in 2012. His first choice of land was in Durg, but he had to face resistance from locals who had a social taboo against brewing beer.

Finally, he set up a brewery in Durg’s industrial area. It took them 1.5 years to set up the brewery and even after that, they didn’t know how to make the right kind of beer.

“We tied up with SAB Miller for contract manufacturing of their beers. For two years, we only did their production to ensure we learn how to make a beer making facility efficient and also get the quality consistency right,” said Bhatia.

In May 2016, they launched the Simba Strong in Chhattisgarh and also focused on making the packaging strong enough to generate brand recall. “In 2017, we doubled our capacity. In 2018 we ended the contract with SAB Miller and started making Simba alone,” he said.

Today, the capacity of the Durg brewery is 86.4 million bottles a year.
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