BW Beerpreneur: “Bad Monkey Is Here To Provide Good Beer Indulgence”
The beer market in India is growing like there is no tomorrow even though the per capita beer consumption in the country is low as compared to other countries. But, since the recent years, the market has evolved from manufacturing the regular beers to flavourful beers by adapting trends and technologies. Young people increasingly turning to beer in place of hard liquor is one of the major factors contributing to the growth of the industry. India now has more than 140 commercial beer brands which are loved by the consumers. Adding to the list is Bad Monkey, launched in 2018. A strong beer brand based out of Delhi, founded by Rohan Khare.
The brand sold over a million cases in 2020 with a revenue of Rs. 150 crore. The Bad Monkey beers are available in Delhi, UP, Uttarakhand, Chhattisgarh, Australia and New Zealand. Brewer World spoke to the young founder Rohan Khare for the series BW Beerpreneur. Below are the excerpts…
Tell us about Bad Monkey
Bad Monkey was established in July 2018. It is an Indian beer brand manufactured by Sinq Beverages Pvt Ltd. Bad Monkey has an ABV of 8% along with a great finish and aftertaste that aims to turn all the low times into happy ones and the happy moments into memorable ones.
What is with the name?
The name Bad Monkey has an interesting story. I was just strolling outside my office which is in a location where there are a lot of monkeys. These monkeys always create a ruckus and a neighbour once shouted out a phrase, “Bad Monkey”. This phrase stuck in my head when I was looking to name my beer brand, I couldn’t think of anything else. Now you know what’s with the name!.
How different is Bad Monkey from the other players?
These days, the Market is flooded with too many Indian and Foreign players who claim to be producing super strong beer. But, for the real brew-snobs who want to experience true beer indulgence with a super strong and lavish beer, Bad Monkey is the one. Generally, the beers will be just sweet, sour, bitter or fatty, but Bad Monkey is crafted so carefully that it gives away all these flavours in the right balance. Its aroma is the cherry on the cake.
When did you realise that you wanted to start a Beer brand?
I used to work with Rock & Storm Distilleries as a product head/business development. During that time, I realised that Strong beer in India was not associated with quality and consistency, and there was a gap in the strong beer industry. With all the insights I had from being in the industry I knew I wanted to fill that gap. Along with the passion I had for beer, combined with the strong urge to give consumers a better experience in a strong beer, I launched Bad Monkey.
How did you start?
Like I have already mentioned, I wanted to fill the gap in the market and provide the consumers with a good strong beer. That is exactly what my team focused on. Starting with some own funds and seed capital from an extended family member I dived into the beer market. Special tasting sessions were arranged for the channel and trade partners, to give them the experience, in the process of gaining their confidence for the brand. A part of the experience was our regular interactions and feedback from consumers through online and offline channels/campaigns which in turn helped us improve and fulfil our motive to provide the best experience to the consumer.
Your branding is quite cool. How did you come with the same?
We got it designed keeping in mind the brand’s unique name.
How important is branding for a beer brand?
After all the marketing activities, campaigns and programs, ultimately the brand design resides in the mind and heart of the consumer. What makes it possible is successful branding. Branding allows the customer to expect what they will receive from the brand. It helps in building a strong relationship with the brand. It is also a way of differentiating yourself from your competitors.
How is the brand priced? What were the thoughts behind it?
In the beer industry, manufacturers have very less command on pricing, due to the regulatory structure of the Indian government over beer brewing business. Bad monkey wanted consumers to have a premium experience at a regular price range.
Your target audience?
Strong beer consumers are our target audience. The brand does not target any specific age group, but focuses more on enhancing the existing consumer experience of a strong beer. In short, Bad Monkey’s target market is strong beer consumers (85% of beer consumers in India), keeping in mind, responsible drinking.
How much beer do you brew per year?
At our brewery we have the production capacity of 7 million litres of beer annually, with a vision to reach consumer palates and satisfy their experiential needs. The plan is to expand our annual capacity to around 35 million litres to reach our target of INR 1000 crores worth of brand sales in the next couple of years. We have added armed forces stores and overseas markets to our domestic retail availability.
Where do you brew the beer?
Bad Monkey brewery is located in Punjab, the land of five waters close to the Himalayas.
What were the challenges you faced while setting up this brand?
Manufacturing and trading beer in the Indian market is not a simple endeavour. The market is mostly regulated and governed by the state governments to have better control over the consumption and pricing patterns. This leads to an increase in liquor taxes, especially excise duties. This is the only challenge, I guess.
Tell us about the varieties of beer you brew?
At Bad Monkey, we brew a super-strong beer with 8% ABV. We are coming up with premium mild beer for millennial party goers and a superior strong beer.
Where do you get the raw materials from?
We source the best available barley and hops from Europe and North America. Water is sourced from the Himalayas.
Could you throw some light on the expansion plans?
With the current beer market Bad Monkey aims to have a significant share of the growing beer industry pan India. Future product expansion includes a premium mild beer and an ultra-premium strong variant. The beers will be very soon available in Chandigarh and Punjab. I am also also looking for channel partners to expand in the overseas market.
In terms of marketing: what’s worked and what hasn’t?
Past two or three years have been very difficult because of the Pandemic. We pushed ourselves to interact with consumers totally through the digital medium as the store sales were off. The offline events, offline campaigns, tasting sessions etc were all replaced by online interactions, contests, and feedback. Digital platforms have helped us reach a wider audience, specially to people who may not have seen us at all. Every difficult situation comes with challenges and every challenge comes with an opportunity. Bad monkey has seized the opportunity and came up with better marketing strategies to ensure presence on every single media offline and online.
Tell us about yourself.
I am an individual passionate about beverages (ranging from spirits, beer as well as coffee) with a management degree from Delhi University followed by WSET (Wine and amp; Spirit Education Trust, London) Level 3 qualification, which exposed me to the global liquor brands and industry. Gained in-depth knowledge of the industry while heading the product and innovation department at the Rock and Storm Distilleries. Nothing more than this, to be precise.
This interview is a part of BW Beerpreneur, a continuing series of interviews with the Beer Entrepreneurs, owners of the beer brands from across the world. Brewer World will share business and personal insights to help build the industry network and consumers to understand their beer well.