How White Owl aims to grab a prime position in the craft beer market

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Updated: February 07, 2020 6:03 PM

The beer brand looks to be EBITDA positive with the sale 20,000 cases a month per region in a couple of years

White Owl Brewery, Craft Beer MarketAs per industry estimates, the market size of craft beer in India is between $140 million-$210 million.

White Owl Brewery – a Mumbai based brewery start-up which competes with the likes homemade beer brands such as Bira besides Gateway Brewing Company, Independence Brewing Company, among others is not here to play the pricing game, instead, it has positioned itself as one of the premium players in the category. “We have benchmarked our product in such a way that our cheapest product is in the range of Kingfisher Ultra and the costliest falls a little below Heineken,” Javed Murad, founder, White Owl Brewery, said. Due to the difference in state tax, the pricing of the brand varies from market to market. For example, in Delhi, a pint of beer costs anywhere between Rs 110 – Rs 130. As per industry estimates, the market size of craft beer in India is between $140 million-$210 million.

As part of its marketing strategy, the company has created two kinds of users. Bar or restaurant owners who fall under the first set of users are called ‘customers’ by the start-up; while buyers are called consumers. “As a company, we have always been very consumer focussed. We aim at educating consumers about our product as, ultimately, they are the ones who generate long term repeat demand. We believe this is more efficient as opposed to paying a channel to push forward our brand,” Murad added. He, however, refused to divulge details on marketing spend.

According to Murad, the brand’s marketing also involves competing for a shelf space primarily in bars. The brand uses visual branding which includes table cards awareness among consumers. Moreover, it claims to run an incentivised staff training program at the point of sale – essentially bars. For Murad, this allows the staff at the point of sale to describe the product range in detail. Further, White Owl partakes in events such as the Flea Market and Spoken Fest events which dabbles in music and comedy, across India. Moreover, the brand also collaborates with corporate activations besides hosting house parties. Murad claims that the aim behind the below-the-line (BTL) activations is to resonate and engage with the consumers.

As part of its expansion plans, the brewery plans to roll out its new variant Spike in Delhi in March, this year. The company had launched the variant in last December in Mumbai and Bengaluru. White Owl claims to sell close to five lakh bottles per month, “We will be EBITDA positive by the time we sell 20,000 cases a month per region, which will be in a couple of years,” Murad noted. As per the company, it has over 2,200 points of sale which include restaurants, bars and retail stores.

Currently present in Delhi, Mumbai, Goa, Bengaluru and Pune, it plans to expand to cities such as Mysore, Navi Mumbai, Nasik, among others. White Owl has two large breweries (contract partners), one in Bhopal and a newly opened one in Hassan, near Bengaluru. According to Murad, the Bhopal brewery manufactures 64,000 litre batches of beer, eight times a day, 25 days a month. Meanwhile, Bengaluru brewery has a capacity of 100,000 litre per batch of beer, six times a day, 25 days a month. At present, the company has four variants available in the market- Diablo, Spark, Ace and Spike.

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