Consumer Retail Startup50

In Startup50 2016: In September 2015, when we featured Bira 91’s founder Ankur Jain, the article was headlined ‘Unapologetically Indian’. Jain founded BIRA 91 with a grand vision to be at the helm of a craft beer revolution in India. In spite of inventory related challenges, the Jury picked the company for building a strong brand and penetrating its brand into a hyper-competitive market. 

Founder: Ankur Jain 

When Ankur Jain worked in New York City, his office was a few blocks down from Brooklyn Brewery. He spent many a Friday evenings there and that is when he discovered his love for craft beer. Spotting an opportunity in his home country he moved back in 2009 to setup Cerana Beverages, the parent company behind Bira 91. But that’s not how he got started; He found his foot in the industry by importing craft beer from the US and Germany and then launched his own brand in 2013.

Spotting an opportunity

Bira 91 made it to the Startup50 List for a very interesting reason. One of the Jury members observed that the biggest challenge for the brand was unavailability, especially in the Bangalore market. While this may be perceived as a negative, the fact that Jain had managed to crank so much demand for his Bira White and Bira Blonde beers was appreciated. Global majors from the likes of Peroni and Hoegaarden, which by the way is 571 years old, haven’t managed to witness such traction. 

Convincing the VC world

The venture world, especially in India, has largely avoided the alcoholic-beverage segment.  Yet, Jain managed to convince Sequoia Capital to invest over Rs. 40 crore (series-A) in his venture in early 2016. Bira also roped in Snapdeal’s Kunal Bahl, Rohit Bansal and Zomato’s Deepiner Goyal as investors.

Rs. 40 crore

Series-A from Sequoia and others

50,000 cases

No. sold every month (until it had capacity issues)


The 91 in Bira, comes from India’s telephone code

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