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Why Delhi should have microbreweries

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Being the capital city with good connectivity and a variety of attractions, Delhi is the hub of tourist traffic – both domestic and international. A large portion of these tourists are outside the 5 star category and would thus benefit most from this proposal while boosting tourism.

It is time for Delhi too to stake its claim to harbour and nurture its own micro-breweries.
It is time for Delhi too to stake its claim to harbour and nurture its own micro-breweries.

With the changing lifestyle and social norms in society, the restaurant industry has also changed to keep up with the current consumer needs. New formats, cuisines and extension of operating timings are some examples.

Another popular change has been the setting up of microbreweries in / bars. This concept has been successfully implemented in states like Karnataka, Maharashtra, Punjab and neighbouring Haryana. It is time for Delhi too to stake its claim to harbour and nurture its own microbreweries.

What are microbreweries?
• Microbrewery or is defined as beer made to be consumed on site. This is not for home/domestic use.
• Unlike large sized commercial breweries which would fall under the industry segment, make specialized craft beers and use very little water and electricity.
• These are sealed units, without any adverse smell/waste/ discharge, and thus can be installed inside restaurants within 500 sq. ft. space.
• This beer is a fresh produce, and has a short shelf life. The quality aspect is covered, since it is subject to FSSAI control/laws.

Setting up the plant

Contrary to the belief, there is not much additional space needed. A 50 hectoliter capacity plant can be set up in a 500-600 square foot space. Unlike large size commercial beer breweries, which would fall under the industry segment – microbreweries make specialized craft beers and use very little water and electricity. 50 Hectoliters per month comes to 5,000 liters. Just as comparison, the water tank on the roof of most common households is a 1,000 to 2000 liter tank.

Benefits

Equipment for microbreweries consists of sealed units and has no adverse / hazardous waste discharge or smell. A small size microbrewery of 50 hectoliters per month saves on 16,000 bottle pints. On an annual basis, it is 2 lakh bottles, labels, and cartons etc. which are all a capital loss. These are just thrown in the dump adding to sheer wastage. Also, to keep the pint beers in chilled stage there is excess consumption of electricity as refrigerated chillers have to be kept running 24 hours.

Bottles are made of glass and are an insulator so requires more chilling and therefore adds to release of refrigeration gases in the atmosphere.

Permitting micro breweries in restaurants would substantially increase revenue generation for the government. This will be in the form of additional License Fee, Excise Fee and VAT.

In summary:
• The annual additional revenue from the smallest capacity plant of 50 hectolitre would be Rs. 60 Lakhs, and from a medium size plant of 100 hectolitre would be Rs. 1.2 Crore.
• With a spread of around 10-12 such microbreweries, there will be an additional revenue of Rs. 10 Crore to the state excise and tax department in the first year itself.

It is evident that microbreweries / brewpubs are not a ‘Hazardous Industry’ which cannot be allowed inside a city. All major cities the world over have brewpubs, which contribute to a vibrant urban culture, and attracts tourism. Delhi being the true gateway to our country should also offer the best of the world here. At present, the government is losing out on revenue, since customers have such facilities easily accessible in neighbouring Haryana.

The restaurant industry has been a significant contributor to the country’s overall economy in many ways – from employment to tax revenues, to being a buyer of goods and services from several other industries and sectors which are dependent on and are positively impacted by it.

Permitting microbreweries in the city will boost the growth of restaurant industry, and would be a step forward for the mutual benefit of all concerned – the customer gets the service within Delhi instead of going to Gurugram; the government for larger revenues; and the industry for better business.