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More beer mugs will jam! Bira 91 secures $ 50 million from Sofina

Bira is all set to spread its wings! Crafts beer brand — 9 Beverages, maker of the Bira 91 beer label, has raised almost Rs 335 crore (USD 50 million) from Belgian investment firm Sofina. With fresh capital infusion, the Sequoia Capital backed company’s valuation is expected to range between Rs 1,300 – Rs, 1400 crore.

Existing investor Sequoia Capital which held a majority of stake in Bira, too participated in the current round of funding. Post the funding round Sequoia’s stake is expected to fall below 50 per cent due to dilution, reports Economic Times.

Besides, founder and CEO Ankur Jain and the promoter group of B9 Beverages will own 30 per cent of the company post this round while Sofina will be provided 28 per cent stake.

With this fresh round of development, Bira 91 has raised USD100 million since its inception. Bira 91’s exponential growth in three years is a testimonial of the huge potential that the craft beer space in India holds.

According to a Times of India report, B9 will mainly use the fresh funds to spread its footprint outside India. The company is eyeing global markets such as the US, Thailand, Hong Kong and Singapore.

The latest round of funding will establish a leadership position in the Indian premium beer market.

Bira 91, which has been operational in overseas, has raised more than USD 100 million since its inception. Currently, it sells five variants of its beer across seven states covering fifteen cities including Bengaluru and Delhi.

Launched in February 2015 by Jain, Bira 91 started producing locally in 2016 when it opened its Indore facility. The beer brand currently has two units in Indore and Nagpur with a bottling capacity of about 4.2 million cases a year.

“Bira91 is building a leading brand on the underserved premium beer segment by offering a range of high quality and flavorful recipes. With our Belgian roots and experience in investing in consumer businesses, we believe there is a great chemistry between our organisations and are proud to back Ankur Jain and his team,” Maxence Tombeur, Head of Asia at Sofina was quoted as saying.

The company claimed to have sold 2.7 million cases of beer in the previous fiscal and it aims to ramp up production capacity five-fold over the next 18 months. The company clocked sales of Rs 165 crore in the previous fiscal and expected to operationally profitable in the current financial year.

In December, last year, Bira 91 had raised Rs 25 crore by issuing debentures to Anicut Capital. Prior to that, it raised around USD 8 million from Sequoia.

During its initial days, Bira 91 had also received investments from Kunal Bahl and Rohit Bansal, co-founders of Snapdeal, Zomato’s founder Deepinder Goyal, including several other investors.

The global craft beer market is expected to reach over $502 billion by 2025, and the market is expected to witness substantial growth over the forecast period due to the rising demand for low alcohol by volume and flavoured beer. However, the concept of craft beer is relatively new in India.

According to an All India Breweries Association report, the market is growing at 20 percent.

Sofina, a family-controlled investment fund based out of Belgium, is known for making selective and long-term investments globally. Sofina’s investments in India include Byju, Flipkart and, prior to Bira 91, Hector Beverages etc.

Headquartered in New Delhi, Bira 91 has scaled significantly since inception and the company claims to have sold three million cases over 2016-17. Last fiscal, the company has reportedly generated revenues of over USD 100 million in its third year of operations.


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