As a beer connoisseur do you want to break into new ground, away from the monotony of off the shelf, bottled beer? Help may be on hand, with the state getting proposals to set up micro and restaurant breweries, most of which are proposed to be in Mumbai.
While the microbreweries will be able to produce and distribute the beer to other establishments, the restaurant breweries will brew and sell it to patrons. Unlike those brands manufactured off the shelf, this beer will be served fresh and its taste can be modified to suit the palates of consumers and their demands.
The state excise department has received eight proposals for the set up of such breweries, of which five are in the Mumbai and three in Pune, state excise commissioner Dr Sanjay Mukherjee told dna. Of these, two proposals (one for a microbrewery in the Kalyan-Dombivli belt, which will manufacture beer for off consumption and one for a restaurant brewery in Mumbai) have already been approved. Presently, the sole brew pub in Maharashtra is located in Pune.
"This is an urban phenomena. The demand (for micro and restaurant breweries) is in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR) and Pune and not in rural and semi-urban areas," explained Mukherjee, pointing to how all proposals were from in the Mumbai-Pune belt.
After country liquor, beer—which is seen as an aspirational drink--is a close second in terms of alcohol consumed in Maharashtra, followed by Indian Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL) and wine. In 2012-13, 31.70 crore liters of beer was consumed as compared to 15 crore liters IMFL and 33.83 crore liters of country liquor. However, in 2013-14, the sales of beer fell by about 5% due to an increase in the price as compared to a 5.08% fall for country liquor and a 10.84% hike for foreign liquor and 9.71% for wine.
The state excise department had amended the Manufacture of Beer and Wine rules 1966, to ease the set up of microbreweries and restaurant breweries and marketing of the beer produced by them. This new microbreweries policy meant that even restaurants and permit rooms would be able to brew and sell their own variants of beer.
The policy also separated large scale breweries from microbreweries and brew pubs. Establishments like permit rooms, temporary club licenses for sale of imported and IMFL and beer bars will be able to avail of the microbrewery and restaurant brewery licenses.
Maharashtra has issued 17 licenses for manufacturing of bottled beer, of which 10 are functioning. Aurangabad accounts for the largest number of these breweries at six.