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Geist Does It Again: Launches Crowlers To Meet Off-Premise Consumption Surge

Last August, Bengaluru-based Geist – one of the Beer Capital’s first and most cherished craft beer brands, emerged from a long and hard lockdown with all-new, super swanky growlers, allowing thirsty craft beer lovers to take a piece of Geist to-go.

The brand then became the first brewery in South India to permanently introduce growlers filled with fresh craft beer for takeaway from the Geist Brewing Factory – Restaurant & Beer Garden.

Now, seven months later, the brand has begun rolling out exclusive 500 ml Geist Crowlers to boost off-premise sales. What’s more, the beer available in Geist’s crowlers is exactly the same, fresh and unpasteurised craft beer that is available on tap at the Geist Beer Garden, at their partner locations and in their Growlers! Read further to find out how Geist pulled it off!

What Are Crowlers?

Crowlers are can versions of growlers (can + growler = crowler). They’re meant for easy transportation and designed to keep beer fresh until you drink it.

New crowlers launched by Geist Brewing Co., now available for purchase at select retail stores in Bengaluru

In many parts of the world, the Crowler has rapidly gained more mainstream consumer recognition, not just because of its convenient size format – but also because of its ability to keep beer fresh. Given that Beer doesn’t get along with things like UV rays, extreme heat and permeating oxygen, crowlers – usually aluminium-based (like cans) – offer protection from both!

However, in wake of the pandemic, crowlers have proved to offer tremendous future growth potential for not just breweries but also bars and consumer retail shops (in states where to-go draft beer is legal) well beyond shutdown – and are increasingly recognised as an essential lifeline for some businesses.

Geist COO Mohan Alapat (left) and CEO Narayan Manepally take a moment to show off Geist’s all-new crowlers!

Adversity: An Opportunity In Disguise  

Interestingly, going the crowler route featured nowhere on the Geist’s agenda and only cropped up in the midst of a lockdown crisis.

“Like for any other organisation, the lockdown was a very difficult time for the entire team and our business, so honestly, last year at this point, a concept like crowlers weren’t even on the cards for us” says Geetanjali, Head of Brand & Communications at Geist.

During this time, Geist’s CEO Narayan Manepally noticed a drastic shift in craft beer consumption all across the world. “There are lots of people who are comfortable going out but there’s also an entire section that wants to stay at home and do things at home,” explains Geetanjali. “It was a call that Narayan and the rest of us decided to take because we wanted to explore this packaging format as soon as possible. We started with our 2-liter growlers first. We were already thinking ahead at that point before we even launched them because we knew that while our Geist Growlers are great for small groups, some craft beer lovers may just want to pick up smaller, single servings. We felt that this is a good step in that direction for the brand to be able to reach people in their homes. The idea is – and you will see this with the company as we move forward – to have multiple packaging sizes & formats of our beer so that anyone can step into the Geist Universe whenever they want with whatever format they are comfortable with.”

Keeping It Cool, All The Way

Going the extra mile has always been the hallmark of distinction at Geist. This time too, Geist deserves an applause for being the first brewery in the country to work with Karnataka State Beverages Corporation Ltd. (KSBCL) depots to introduce Geist refrigeration exclusively for their crowlers.

“One of the biggest concerns for all of us at Geist was how we can retain the integrity of our product, no matter where it is available. To ensure this, the leadership at Geist has worked extensively with the State Excise Department to introduce exclusive refrigeration for our crowlers,” elaborates Geetanjali. “So when the beer leaves our factory, it travels in our refrigerated trucks. It is then stored in Geist-controlled refrigerators at the KSBCL depots before it is transferred, once again, in refrigerated trucks from the depot to the retailer who, in turn, stores it in their refrigerators.

Geist’s brewer Vidya Kuber (left) with Geetanjali Chitnis, Head of Brand & Communications

When a customer takes this beer home for later consumption, we encourage them to keep it refrigerated too. In this way, we have ensured that the cold storage integrity is maintained throughout the life cycle of this beer so our consumers can enjoy the true Geist experience, at home, just as they would at our beer garden or at our partner locations.”

The team has made a lot of effort to think through & execute this cold-chain storage & transportation. Careful planning has gone into making sure that customers have an ideal beer drinking experience and Geist has invested a lot of time in making sure that the beer travels in the way that it’s meant to travel so that the impact of heat, sunlight and other factors that contribute to product quality degradation is as minimal as possible. The idea is to make sure that people have an enjoyable Geist consumption experience at the end of it.

From left to right: Geist team members Siddhant Vinod, Akhil Nair and Sannath Sagar

What’s Available & Where

Geist’s crowlers are available in 5 variants right now – the Geist Witty Wit,  Geist Uncle Dunkel, Geist Kamacitra, Geist James Blond and an India Pale Lager called the Geist Silly Pint – which so far has only been available at the Geist Beer Garden and not anywhere else.

Geist beer variants, now available in crowlers

“We’re looking at constantly innovating because we retain control over almost all aspects of the manufacturing & supply channel – designing the recipes, producing the beer, packaging it, transporting it and finally delivering the packaged beer to restaurants & retailers,” says Geetanjali. “So we will be able to take a call at any point about what we want to retain in our portfolio, what we want to phase out and what we want to introduce in terms of packaged beers.”

Geist beer variants: James Blond, Uncle Dunkel, Silly Pint, Kamacitra and Witty Wit

According to the brand, Geist Crowlers have a shelf of 6 months, provided they are refrigerated at all times. Geist also recommends that customers pour the beer out of the crowler into a glass to get the best experience.

In addition to the single-serving crowlers, targeted at those who have never had a Geist beer before and are open to trying something new, Geist has also introduced a convenient four-pack packaging format for existing fans who want multiple crowlers of their favourite variant. Right now, Geist Crowlers are available at Dewars on St. Marks Road and La Cave in Indiranagar. As the next few weeks go by, they will be adding more stores and the list will be available on Geist’s social media platforms and website. Follow @drinkgeist to stay on top of which store near you is carrying crowlers of your favourite Geist beer!

The crew at Geist celebrating the launch of their crowlers

Brewer World Exclusive