Reailising this, the excise department of Delhi government is now said to be pushing a proposal, which, if accepted, would allow microbreweries (selling self-brewed beer) in city's pubs and restaurants.
At present, Haryana is the only state that allows setting up of a micro-brewery at an annual fee of R2.5 lakh. "Once pubs and restaurants in Delhi get a licence to set up a micro-brewery, it would encourage international companies and local suppliers in expanding their presence," said Ankur Jain, director, CRAFT Beverages.
Wolfgang Roth, founding partner and MD of Rolec, said: "The quality of beer production in India is rapidly catching up with the best worldwide. Being a supplier of brewing systems, our focus would be the craft beer segment in the Indian market and we would be using the German brewing technology with a focus on high quality."
United Breweries had rolled out Heineken beer across India this September, almost three years after the Dutch company picked up a 37.5% stake in UB. Jean-Franois van Boxmeer, CEO of $17-billion Heineken, had said then that India remained the last frontier in the global beer market.
However, a high tax regime on alcohol products remains the biggest hurdle for growth.
Globally, beer is taxed at 50% of hard liquor, whereas, in India, beer is actually taxed 60% more than hard liquor.
About 26 different alcohol-specific taxes constitute about 50% of the consumer price, which is the highest in the world. Imported foreign beer brands, which recently entered India, continue to operate at a lower base due to high customs duty, sources said.
At present the top five Indian beer brands are Kingfisher, Haywards , Royal Challenge, Kalyani Black Label and Kings. United Breweries, with a market share of 56%, leads the pack, followed by 26% of Sab Miller. The remaining 18% is shared between several players, including Carlsberg (5%) and others.