Growing with the flow

Growing with the flow

Sanky technical consulting is an established name in catering to cooling, dispensing and other technical requirements of Indian breweries. The company’s director Srihari Sriramaiah tells BW about diverse bouquet of their services.

HOW AND WHEN WAS SANKY CONSULTING SET UP?  

Sanky Tech Consulting was set up in 2000 (over a beer), with the aim to provide quality service to breweries.

My partner, Mr. Velu Prakash Viswanathan and I were classmates in RVCE, Bangalore. After graduation in ‘92, I got into the equipment imports industry and he joined Mohan Breweries, Chennai, as an Engineer.

My father was importing industrial components in India, so when Velu told me there was a huge gap in India for technical consultants for brewing equipment, we decided to fill it with our expertise. We already had the experience on commissioning and working on draft machines, so we felt we could pool our experiences and give it a shot. Also, we had the first mover advantage. At that time, there were largely only dealers and India did not really have commissioning engineers. So it was a new area and both of us were good in it. After over ten years of experience in our respective fields, we decided to bring quality service to the Indian brewing industry and set up Sanky Tech.

Many microbreweries were referred to Sanky Tech, and today that’s our USP – the last mile for cooling and dispensing draft beer and after sales service and maintenance. Almost 90% of microbreweries in India have our equipment today.

WHEN IT WAS INCORPORATED, WHAT WAS THE SITUATION OF THE INDIAN BREWING INDUSTRY? WHAT MADE YOU CHOOSE BREWING EQUIPMENT AS YOUR PRODUCT FOCUS?

The industry in general was in transition from old to new-age technology. Commissioning engineers from Germany and Europe would be invited to India and paid on hourly basis in foreign currency, for all engineering requirements. We decided to bridge this gap by having equally qualified local engineers to do the job and provide quality service. The reason for getting into brewing equipment was that there were not many companies doing it, and those that were, were only trading companies and not engineering companies providing end-to-end solutions.

DO YOU HAVE SOME SIGNIFICANT TECHNOLOGY TIE UPS TO AID YOUR SERVICE SUPPORT IN INDIA?

Before we started, there were agents who would sell German products, but they would need to have commissioning engineers to come down and install. That was time consuming and expensive, so our advantage was that we could support a breakdown or commissioning at a more reasonable cost. Also, since we are locally available, downtime was less, which is a big advantage for Indian business.

For Sanky, the technical expertise in after sales service is the biggest USP. Today we have 43 other service engineers working across the country, fully trained on these machines. We have partnered with SABMiller, and we are their channel partners for India.

In India, we are working with many imported brands:

  • Kieselmann GmbH – an equipment manufacturer for stainless steel valves, banks, tank top safety units, piping and flash pasteurisers.
  • Schaefer – they are one of the largest manufacturers of beer kegs in the world.
  • Lambrechts Group – that manufactures keg filling and washing machines.
  • Celli S.p.A, from Italy – leaders in draft beer chillers, special purpose towers, machines, etc. They specialize in the taps for bar counters.

We met and tied up with them in 2001, when we went on an exploratory trip to Munich. They were not represented in India at that point in time and over the years we have succeeded in doing substantial business with them.

In India, we have supplied all the equipment for chillers and taps in bars for Fosters, a SABMiller brand. We are proud to be associated with them as channel partners and now they have been acquired by AB InBev, and we continue to work with them as before.

We brought these Flash pasteurisers to India in April 2005, making a huge difference to the market. Today, 90% of the draught beer in the market is pasteurised.

Many microbreweries were referred to Sanky Tech and today that’s our USP – the last mile for cooling and dispensing draft beer and after sales service and maintenance. Almost 90% of all the micro breweries in India have our equipment today.

We get involved right from the design stage and ensure that stone counters are cut correctly for our towers and the pipelines channels. Once the preparatory structure is ready, then installation can
be done.


IN YOUR EXPERIENCE, WHICH IS THE MOST SUITABLE BEER EQUIPMENT FOR THE INDIAN MARKET?

I wouldn’t say there is anything special that is suitable for the Indian market as such, but we have imported new age equipment which the European market is using and brought it on line for the Indian breweries that we work with. Most of the international breweries setting shop in India have implemented their standards in their Indian breweries, and we have been fortunate to be associated with them, in importing and installing the world class equipment in the Indian breweries.

Beer equipment is an evolving technology. For example, draught beer was never pasteurised earlier so it had a keg life of maximum two to three days. Keiselman manufactures machines called Flash Pasteurisers, where draft beer could be pasteurised, extending its shelf life in a keg for 30 days. We brought these Flash pasteurisers to India in April 2005, making a huge difference to the market. In India only 30 or 50 litre kegs sell, and in smaller places no one can sell 30 or 50 litres within 3-4 days and keeping it after that was a waste. By extending the life to 30 days, we helped prevent this wastage cost that had to be earlier absorbed by the company. It also provided better hygiene, better quality and a longer shelf life. Today, 90% of the draught beer in the market is pasteurised.

DO YOU ALSO SUPPLY TO COMMERCIAL BREWERIES? WHO HAVE BEEN YOUR CLIENTS?

We supply to all the Breweries in India, such as United Breweries, Mohan Breweries, SABMiller and now AB InBev, Som breweries, Carlsberg and a few others.

WITH CRAFT BREWING BECOMING INCREASINGLY POPULAR, HAS THE PROFILE OF YOUR CUSTOMER CHANGED AT ALL?

Over the last two or three years, the micro brewing scenario in India has totally changed. We have more than 40-50 microbreweries as our customers right now. Since micro breweries are mushrooming in India today, we are involved in the last mile supplies of 80% of the craft breweries, especially for taps.

WHAT PLANS DO YOU HAVE OF EXPANSION IN GEOGRAPHIES, BRANDS OR IMPORTING COUNTRIES, WITH THE INDIAN BEER SCENARIO CHANGING FAST?

We have a presence all over India, with offices in Delhi, Gurgaon, Mumbai, Chandigarh, Pune, Nagpur, Hyderabad, Pondicherry, Chennai, Goa and head quartered in Bangalore of course. At the moment, the main OEMs we need are already here, and we represent the global majors. Schaefer has a worldwide contract with SABMiller and now AB InBev.

As Draft beer sales increase in India, and more microbreweries are being set up, our business is increasing too. With increasing consumption of draft beer, the breweries need to sanitise their draft taps once in two or three days, so there is no contamination. We have engineers all over India who offer regular scheduled visits, in our 2500 plus taps installed all over India. As more and more breweries set up shop in India, Sanky Tech’s share of the business will gradually increase, and we see this as a very positive sign.

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