Ankur Jain on Building a High Performance Culture at Bira 91
Over the last 6 years, Bira 91 has scaled the business across the country, expanded the portfolio to 7 beers, and opened its first Limited Release Taproom in Bangalore.
Covid-19, without a doubt, has been a defining moment in Ankur Jain’s professional journey. The lockdown and a complete halt of business was a much-needed (albeit forced) pitstop, which helped him recalibrate not just the speed of growth, but also adjust the direction. On the personal front, Ankur Jain and his wife had their first baby in the middle of the pandemic last July. “One of the first skills I had to develop was to learn how to change diapers! On a serious note, I took courses on R and refreshed my basics on statistical analysis,” shares Ankur Jain, CEO and Founder, Bira 91.
Bira 91 has a young team and was using a lot of technology for meetings prior to the pandemic. For them, the transition to working remotely came naturally. In fact, much before the pandemic hit, they had started using Microsoft Teams. Once the lockdown was announced, they transitioned everything to Teams and did not lose a single business day. “I did miss the office as I love meeting people, and now that we are back, am very excited about collaborating in person again,” adds Jain.
Talking about his management style, Jain mentions, “I like to think of myself as the true north for the company, constantly reminding people about our overall ambition, and nudging people to think equally about the next year, even as they focus largely on executing on the current quarter. I also like to go really deep on a few areas, especially product innovation and consumer marketing.”
The most important challenge that I am focused on is creating a deliberate culture of highperformance, ownership and passion to build – what we call the HOP values for our organization.”
The company has grown at an average CAGR of 150%+ between 2016-2021 including the pandemic years. They have tripled their market share and doubled the revenue in the last 18 months and now have annualized revenue of over INR 1000 Crores. Over 7 pints of Bira 91 are enjoyed every second of every day and night, and consumers will spend more than INR 2000 Crores on Bira 91 this year, which perhaps makes them the largest consumer brand to emerge out of India in the last decade. When asked about the challenge he is tackling in his current position, Jain says, “I am constantly reminding the team that it takes effort to keep our small-company culture alive, even as we grow larger.”