Hic, hic, hurray: Delhi to soon have its first microbrewery in CP
NEW DELHI: The drive to Gurgaon for the distinctive sip of freshly brewed beer will end for Delhiites, with the first microbrewery readying to open in the heart of the city. After the technical hurdle holding up the opening of microbreweries in Delhi was cleared by the lieutenant governor in December, a restobar in Connaught Place may soon start plying house-brewed beer to customers.
The CP restaurant’s application to begin microbrewery operations has cleared the scrutiny hurdles at the excise department, though the Delhi Pollution Control Committee is likely to carry out an assessment next week to determine if such a set-up contributes to pollution. Three applications were received by the excise department, but only Ministry of Beer is going ahead, with the other two having removed their installations as uncertainty prevailed over the government’s policy on microbreweries.
Those who understand the science of beer making say there is a big difference between bottled beer and fresh brew. For one, the bottled variety comes sealed with preservatives and chemicals, while on-tap beer is purer. Also, each outlet can experiment with the malts and flavours it can offer, giving customers a wider choice. An owner of a restobar who preferred anonymity added, “You not only get freshly brewed beer with no additives, but a pitcher of it costs less than a bottle too.”
Delhi excise commissioner Amjad Tak told TOI, “When one brewery opens, others too will come forward. There is a huge demand for freshly brewed beer and currently people have to go to Gurgaon for this.” The closest availability to such libation till now was Haryana, which has 45 microbreweries, most of them in Gurgaon.
Delhi government sees microbreweries as a good source of revenue. Establishments will be levied according to daily installed capacity. Ministry of Beer has a capacity to produce 200 litres a day. Excise data shows that beer is in big demand in summer, with restaurants often facing a shortage of the sought-after beer brands. Realising the revenue potential, Delhi government changed policy to allow microbreweries in the capital, but only in December did the LG approve of it after such installations were moved out of the “prohibited” category of Delhi Development Authority’s Master Plan 2021.
National Restaurant Association of India estimates the market in India for in-house brews at Rs 10,000 crore. However, investors will be careful, given that installing a brewery is expensive and requires around 1,000 square metres of space.