Friday, November 28, 2014

It's Beer Season

The brewhouse at Big Pitcher

Now that we are past the the annual brewery license renewal date (July), we have several new breweries in Bangalore with beer flowing (see the updated side bar). This brings the total number of brewpubs to 17! The reason for the sudden explosion is that the excise department (regulator of micro breweries) doesn't pro-rate the license fee and the 50% advance payment for excise duty on annual capacity. In other words, open a brewery in June and you will be required to pay a years worth of fees for one month of operation only to pay another years fee a month later in July. It's not really the right way to go about licensing new breweries but it is what it is. 

On a more optimistic note, representatives from all of Bangalore's craft breweries met with the excise department to voice our concerns over unfair and vague regulations. I'm happy to report that we met with some success. No longer will annual capacity be defined by the size of your brew kettle x 365 - none of Bangalore's craft brewers, brewed everyday anyway. It will now be the total volume of all fermentation tanks x 21 (half way between the number of days it takes to produce an ale and a lager). This makes much more sense and most brewers will benefit from the new approach. The exception will be breweries where fermentation capacity far exceeds sales. Moral of this story - build a brewpub in Karnataka, size it right. This should also curb the installation of tiny brewhouses where it takes multiple batches to fill a fermenter - which is just a silly and inefficient way to do things in a brewpub - and something the old definition promoted. From a regulatory point of view, this now makes Karnataka the best place in India to open a brewpub. Maharashtra allows for off premiss sales (something we have to work on in Karnataka) but the production cap is too low and the taxes are too high there.

Craftworks News
The roof-top beer garden is open! We will be serving three beers on-tap from a special keg-cooler that was flown in from the US. This keeps the beer lines short and beers tasting as they should. The food is all North Indian style (my favourite) buffet. Hopefully this extra capacity will make it a bit easier for folks to actually get in. Winterfest - our special holiday ale, is fermenting away and slated for release by December 5.

Craft Brewers Association of India News
Things have been moving slowly but surely. The group last met at Big Brewsky earlier this month. The association changed it's name to The Craft Brewers Association of India to avoid confusion with another group. Our non-profit status has been established with the state and all other requirements are well under way. Our logo has been finalized and the website is up.