|Independence Brewing Co. brand new 1,000L brewhouse|
in India can be conveniently summed up into an alliteration, though fortunately
there is more to it than that. I landed in Mumbai
on a Friday morning expecting to immediately experience the crazy India
everybody had been telling me about as soon as I walk out of customs. You know
the idea; I pictured hundreds of people waiting on other hundreds of passengers
walking out with me, being solicited by numerous taxi drivers or tourist touts,
etc. Instead, the brand new T2 International terminal opened about 6 months ago
was close to empty. My good friends Sangita and Richard came to pick me up at
the airport and we were off to Pune where they live, a fast growing business
and tech hub a few hours from Mumbai.
they asked me what I wanted to do and I quickly remembered reading up about the
craft beer revolution coming to India with a few different microbreweries and
brewpubs, one of which had recently opened in Pune, Independence Brewing Company. I particularly remembered the photos looked amazing and they feature
Greg Koch from Stone Brewing as a Chief Advisor and co-founder, and whether you
like Stone or not you can deny he’s a pretty big deal for beer geeks.
stunning in real life as in on the photos, really big bar and restaurant area,
large brewery section with a gleaming new 1,000L brewhouse and 9 fermentation
tanks imported from the US, impressive material!
interesting part: they have been open for over 6 months and haven’t brewed a
single drop of beer yet. They don’t have the license to brew alcohol yet,
they’ve apparently been stuck with administrative issues, and according to what
I’ve heard that may also mean someone is waiting for, or negotiating a baksheesh
– or as Darshan Jariwala’s character Vivek in Million Dollar Arm says “it’s not
a bribe, we just bypass the system” (I watched it on the plane over, cute
film). From a few other conversations I’ve had, this seems to be a regular
feature for anyone trying to build a new business venture in India, and the
same reasons Adi from the late Jungle Beer told me he opened in Singapore rather than India.
lovely evening, the food was delicious and we sampled some nice draft beer from
Gateway Brewery in Mumbai. According to what the guys said at IBC, they should
be ready to start brewing at the end of September, I wish them all the best!
I’m about to board my flight to India and I finally have a few minutes to write this, not sure I’ll have time to properly do it justice, I may add more later on.
I flew in to Singapore on the 3rd of September 2012, and started working at Saatchi & Saatchi on the 5th, exactly two years ago. Everything fell into place perfectly in my first few weeks in Singapore and it felt right; the first apartment I visited had everything I wanted in features, price, and in short walking distance from the office. I wasn’t too sure how much I would like Singapore though fortunately it all turned out great. I’ve had a fantastic experience, made great friends, started home brewing beer, had way too much food and craft beers and regained all the weight I’d lost while traveling before landing in the Lion City.
Thank you everyone who made this experience so special, my flight is boarding so it’s time to look ahead to new adventures!