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[Funding Alert] Beer Brand Bira 91 Brews Up $20 Mln In Fresh Capital The Delhi-headquartered company said the new capital will be utilized to expand the India business, widen its footprint and consolidate its leadership position in the premium beer market in India.

By Debroop Roy

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Bira 91

Bira 91, the Indian beer brand, has raised $20 million as part of a bridge round led by existing investors Sequoia India and Belgium's Sofina Capital. Consumer-focused Sixth Sense Ventures, Korean private equity firm Neoplux and some family offices also participated in the round.

This concludes a larger $30 million round for the company.

Established by Ankur Jain in 2015, who first started with a beer distribution company, Bira 91 now has presence in the United States as well as the Asia Pacific.

The Delhi-headquartered company said the new capital will be utilized to expand the India business, widen its footprint and consolidate its leadership position in the premium beer market in India.

Raising Funds During Crisis

This round of investment comes at a time when the sale of liquor – deemed non-essential by the Indian Home Ministry – has stopped almost completely as the Coronavirus outbreak has forced governments to enforce lockdowns and people to stay home.

Jain told Entrepreneur India that it was "a message of strength" and the company had plans in place for business to resume as soon as things get better on the outside.

"The lockdown is expected to be lifted over the next few weeks. We've mapped our business restart plan specific to every brewery and district, including social distancing norms and compliance of guidelines issued by the government for COVID-19," he said.

Growth

Last year, the company commissioned two new breweries, one each in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka, and quadrupled its production capacity. With the launch of its new product Boom in several markets, it also doubled its national market share in fiscal 2020 to a little less than 3 per cent of the overall market.

Bira 91 also expanded its presence to more than 400 cities in the last fiscal year, up from 50 from a year earlier.

"Our market shares in several markets are now higher than 5 per cent of overall beer, and more than 20 per cent share of premium beer," Jain said in a statement, adding that 2020 is a key inflection point for the company where they expect to reach double digit market share in a number of states.

Debroop Roy

Former Correspondent

Covering the start-up ecosystem in and around Bangalore. Formerly an energy reporter at Reuters. A film, cricket buff who also writes fiction on weekends.
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