Friday, July 2, 2010

Doolally - An Interview

We visit India’s first microbrewery ‘Doolally!’Situated in the heart of Pune, and started by two IIM-B graduates Suketu and Prateek, this is a place to get one of the finest, freshly brewed beers in India. The name comes from a place called ‘Doelali’, near Nashik, where British soldiers spent time merry making waiting to be shipped back. Thus ‘Doelali’ became synonymous as Crazy Time. So today we have Suketu with us, who will tell us what made them leave their enterprising corporate careers and come and set a microbrewery in India.

Q. What is a Microbrewery and how is it different from a regular brewery?
A. As the name suggests, it is a miniature brewery. In terms of scaling, our one year’s production equals kingfishers half a day’s output!
Larger breweries are highly process driven, human intervention is lot and flavors are standard to cater to the masses. The character and taste of the beer are traded to make it cheap and in large quantities. In our microbrewery, beer is completely hand crafted, made using the best raw materials exported from Germany. Flavor, aroma are kept intact and one can find interesting notes of personal touch in it. Also, as the production is less, we get to experiment a lot with our beer. As we discuss, there is a mango flavored beer fermenting in one of the tanks! In our upcoming flavors, we have one made with wild berries as well.

Q. What was the genesis of the idea? Was setting it up a problem?
A. Prateek and I used to work for Proctor & Gamble in Singapore and used to visit a microbrewery called ‘Brewerkz‘ very often. That taste of fresh beer was so satisfying, that we thought of giving up our jobs, come to India and set up our own brewery! Prateek worked at Brewerkz for a couple of months before joining me here. Getting a licence for the brewery took us one year and raising funds for it another couple. We met out 'Brew Meister' Oliver, who helped setting up the brewery, and after about four years of toil, we finally opened it in October '09.
Q. ‘The Beer Meister’!
A. Yes. We met Oliver through mutual friends in Singapore and the whole idea clicked. He has been brewing since the age of 16! The whole brewery was setup by him personally. We have a special Oliver brew, which houses his special flavors.

Q. Tell us about the beers you brew.
A. We have brewed 14 different types of beer in last 7 months. 80% of our beers are ales. All the beers are 100% hand crafted. We have seasonal as well as special beers for festivals like the Christmas special had a touch of cinnamon. Oliver looks over the complete beer making process. Any time you walk in, we have 4-5 different beers served fresh from the tap.

Q. What are your future plans with the brewing industry?
A. We plan to open breweries in 5 different cities across India in next two years. After that we may opt for bottling of our beer.

Q. Tell us about the pub ‘Doolally’
A. Doolally is where we serve our brewed beer. It is run by the Corinthians management and we look at the brewery part of it. The pub is open all 7 days till late in nights, all special sporting events are aired and the pub closes only after the presentations end! We have live bands playing at times and encourage anyone who plays music to come and perform with us. We have ‘all you can eat and drink’ Sunday brunches which go on till 4 in the evening.

Q. Parents say drinking alcohol is unethical. As an owner of a brewery, how do you defend your stance?
A. The whole idea of unethical drinking has grown from irresponsible drinking. Consumption of alcohol has been going on since ages; having alcohol in moderate quantities have a lot of documented benefits. We strictly promote responsible drinking. Minors are strictly not allowed in the pub. ID checks are done. If anybody is found tipsy, we provide cab services for them.

Q. How do you plan to market your brew to the fairer sex?
doolally33.jpgA. We have a special Apple Cider for ladies and till date, any lady who has walked in and tasted it, has not left without appreciating it!

Q. Are any beer festivals planned by you?
A. Yes. We have a full fledged Oktberfest planned with authentic German beer, live bands from Germany and much more. The festival would go on for 2 continuous days non-stop!

Q. If Nashik is 'The Napa Valley of India', are you planning to make Pune 'The Bavaria of India?'
A. Sure. Beer awareness is spreading in India gradually. In next two to three years time, the beer culture would pick up and people here will appreciate it more.  

Q.What is your biggest reward of owning a brewery?
A. When someone walks to us and says that this is the best beer he has ever tasted, there is nothing more satisfying than this.

So all you folks now know where to head for want of some quality beer and a jolly good time.
The Corinthians Boutique Hotel
Nyati County, Nibm road,
Kondhwa, Pune

(Images taken from the internet)

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