How Ministry of Beer opened Delhi’s first microbrewery

Last month, post an amendment in excise rules, Ministry of Beer opened Delhi’s first restaurant-native microbrewery

The Ministry of Beer, Connaught Place, is the first to start brewing beer in the Capital. The amendments in excise rules now makes this possible. Pratekk Chturvedi, 41, The Ministry of Beer Managing Director, tells us about his journey, from opening India’s first microbrewery in Pune to Delhi’s first.

How did you develop an interest in the microbrewery industry?

On a visit to one of the microbreweries in Singapore I went up to the owner and said I want to do this in India. I asked if he would teach me. He said, ‘If you’re serious, resign and come, then I’ll teach you.’ The next day I resigned and went to him. He asked me to start serving, which was quite surprising for me. I worked as a waiter for one and a half months, and after he was convinced of my dedication, he taught me to brew. I worked with them for 6 months.

Tell us about your journey of opening India’s first microbrewery in Pune?

I flew down to Mumbai in 2008 and met the then Excise Minister for Maharashtra and expressed my desire of opening a microbrewery in Pune. I took the initiative of procuring the framework of the policy in Singapore to speed up the process. In six months flat, the microbrewery policy was rolled out in Maharashtra in October 2008, making it India’s first State to pass such an order and I became the first licensee of a microbrewery in India for a company called Doolally.

How is Delhi’s policy different from other states?

Delhi has one of the strictest policies for breweries, and we understand that this is the government’s way of ensuring that nothing goes wrong. A brewery and restaurant together need a 6,500 sq feet footprint. A chemist has to be on board every day to certify that the beer is drinkable and that certificate is displayed every day.

Have you implemented your learnings from Gurugram to kickstart the Delhi brewery?

We made sure we’re doing beers that we knew Delhiites would love — we have already made more than 27 beers. We also have seasonal flavours like aam-sutra and we are planning on jaggery beer as well. The idea is to keep our beer fresh and our menu fresher.

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