Bira 91 is looking to expand beyond its core beer business. The company is all set to foray into the non-alcoholic beverages segment with carbonated drinks, juices, energy and sports drinks and sparkling water.
Bira 91’s board has passed a special resolution to alter the main object clause of the company to accommodate the sales, manufacture and export of non-alcoholic beverages, show company regulatory filings. The company is also expected to sell soda, tea and coffee.
Bira 91’s move into the non-alcoholic beverages segment is a departure from the company’s earlier plans to launch 40-50 different limited release beers.
This comes at a time when the Covid-19 pandemic has impacted the beer business severely. Every year, beer manufacturers and retailing entities expect up to 60% of their business during summer, which couldn’t take place this year.
Nationwide lockdown and a restriction on non-essential businesses during the beginning of the pandemic had crippled a major chunk of business in the ongoing fiscal for all who are involved in the beer trade. Since bars, pubs and alcohol shops were closed for two to three months (depending on states), the industry had seen no revenue during their peak period (April to June).
According to Entrackr sources, the company would start rolling out products in the non-alcoholic beverage segment sometime in early 2021. “The company has been hit hard due to the pandemic. Apart from its core offerings, it has to figure out new ways to scale and raise funds,” said one of the sources on condition of anonymity. “Bira has built a decent brand in the beer segment and the company thinks the brand recall would work in pushing new offerings.”
Entrackr queries sent to Bira91’s co-founder and chief executive Ankur Jain on Tuesday didn’t elicit any response. We will update the story in case Jain responds.
It’s worth noting that Bira 91 had rolled out a range of merchandising products such as growlers, glasses, mugs, ice-bucket and apparel in late 2018. Soon after opening a new line of business, Bira 91 announced plans to churn over 3% of its revenues from the segment in FY20.
While the company has not filed its annual financial statement for FY20, it had registered a mild growth of 15.4% in revenue to Rs 183 crore in FY19 as compared to Rs 158.6 crore in FY18. During the period, its losses jumped 2X to Rs 202.2 crore.
The company last raised a bridge round of $20 million from existing backers Sequoia Capital and Sofina in April.