Making India's First Home-Grown Craft Beer Brand Made This 27-Year-Old Brewer Enter The Entrepreneur India's 35U35 List

With home-grown craft beer, Simba, this entrepreneur is carving an unparallel presence in the Indian craft beer market

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By Punita Sabharwal • Mar 6, 2019

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Blenders Pride Reserve Collection presents Entrepreneur's 35U35 list included some path-breaking names from the field of entrepreneurship and Prabhtej Singh Bhatia, Founder and CEO of SIMBA Craft Beverages, made it to the list owing to his indigenous craft beer brand SIMBA. Know his amazing story!

Alcoholic beverage companies in India have a thing for animals. Monkeys, rhinos and peacocks are often spotted parading as iconic mascots for popular brands in the Indian craft beer revolution. A new addition to the arsenal of home-grown breweries is the lion and it rules them all. Having given heavy competition to the popular Indian brand Bira, Simba Brewery is often referred to as the Monkey Killer by beer aficionados. With an animated lion sporting a bowtie and sunglasses as its fierce public image, the brand is roaring right now.

Founder and CEO Prabhtej Singh Bhatia set up a brewery in Durg, Chattisgarh when Bira was still importing its beer from Belgium and bottling it in India. In three short years, Simba established an unparalleled presence in the Indian market and distinguished itself by doing a number of things differently. Most craft beers are rarely bottled and sold outside its home state whereas Simba's two variants Wit, a Belgian wheat and Stout, a darker brew, are produced for sale across the country. Despite an encouraging market response, which led to rapid expansion, the new player stays true to craft beer production by making beer in small batches instead of producing it in bulk. This allows for better control over quality and an emphasis on uncompromising taste. "We have spent months creating experimental batches to perfect the flavor of our beers and throw out all conventional wisdom. By using hints of orange peel, roasted oats, coffee and dark chocolate, we curate exceptional beverage experiences." says Bhatia.

Simba Stout is India's first bottled stout and was a gamble when it was launched. Its favorable reception came as a surprise to the serial entrepreneur and CII Young Entrepreneur awardee. For him, this solidified the fact that the Indian consumer is ready for fresh experimental brews not familiar to the domestic taste palate. Having spent Rs 100 crore as initial investment to set up the brewery and run the business, Prabhtej gives R&D and procuring a new brewing unit top priority. "We want to be here for the long run and don't want to get into the cycle of timelines, evaluations and exits. In FMCG, one cannot scale up rapidly and burn out." he adds. The company is on its way to achieve a turnover of Rs 150 crore in the current financial year and is getting closer each day to render beer as sophisticated a beverage as wine.

(This article appears in the February 2019 issue of Entrepreneur Magazine. To subscribe, click here. You can buy our tablet version from To visit our Archives, click here.)

Punita Sabharwal

Deputy Editor, Entrepreneur India Magazine

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