Rasing a Toast: Lift to Loft
Founder & CEO
The Clock Tower is a Rock-Solid Gastropub and Charming local watering hole on Golf Course Road, Gurgaon. Specializing in Forward-Thinking Craft Brewing Techniques, Adventurous Mixology and Cuisine, The Clock Tower Strives to keep Glass-Clinking Camaraderie Alive and Well in The Neighbourhood.
Tribhuvan Yadav and his childhood pursuit of creating the ideal neighbourhood pub leads us to this interview talking about his second venture into India’s microbrewery world with
The Loft by the Clock Tower. Educated from Sherwood, Tribhuvan is a well-travelled businessman who believes in pushing boundaries towards greater success. For Tribhuvan Yadav, the essence of life is enhanced with value addition in terms of both work and play. Heir to Yadav Group of Companies a conglomerate that he helped take forward from its inception as a home-grown business, he has always made sure his work reflects the ethics that his family trade instilled in him. A man with many feathers in his cap, Mr. Yadav is also the owner of HT Hospitality with two exquisite properties under his name. The Clock Tower, and Loft, the newest offering in the pub and microbrewery arena are two of Gurgaon’s must visit places. From flour mills that cater to some of India’s biggest food related businesses, a Polymer business and microbreweries.
BW in conversation with Tribhuvan Yadav about the much-anticipated opening of Loft at 32 Milestone and what loyalists can expect.
What is the concept behind the Loft? How is it different from your first ven08ture (Clock Tower)?
The concept for Loft is derived from old fashioned meat packing & warehousing industries located in New York & Manhattan. Whereas at the Clock Tower, the venue is infused with elegant post-colonial influences drawn from the British Raj era, made evident in the heavy pine woodwork, large English style doors and windows, 24-foot-high ceiling and overall palette.
Spread over 12,000sq feet, each and every division of Loft i.e. – The Library Bar, Old Boy’s Corner, The Madhatter dance floor even the Portico are designed differently to carter to each crowd.
Another major difference between the two establishments is the type of beers we brew & serve. At the Clock Tower, our beers are true to style and reflect a very Scottish, Irish, Hungarian & South West Russia influenced beer portfolio. All the beers brewed at Loft, are also true to style but with a slightly modern twist to it, for example we brew a classical Belgium wheat beer, which has been infused with rose petals.
Talk to us about the interior & design of The Loft – Where did your inspiration come from and is the same reflected at the brewery?
Spread over 12,000 sq feet and seating around 300 customers, the attention to detail in every section, space, corner & even the ceiling has a lot of thought behind it. As mentioned the style at Loft depicts those old-fashioned warehouses & packaging units spotted in New York & Manhattan, the idea stemmed from a lot of traveling over the past 8-9 years. Located in sector 15, Gurgaon we aim at creating an experience for each customer walking in, regardless of age.
The Courtyard: As soon as you enter Loft, past the portico, we have a courtyard area, seating around 25 people. This area is designed to target the 30-50 age group. So, there’s no noise of the inside music, typical outdoor setting with a lot of green and minimalistic designed furniture. Taking our customer’s opinion into consideration, we also tied up with Blue Tokai to create a coffee corner for patrons. The same is also used for our brew – the Kappi Stout. Hence, the courtyard reflects a sort of open-air working space, where one can indulge in a coffee or a beer.
The Ground Floor: is kind of a tribute to Clock Tower. High strung wrought iron chandeliers filled with heavy wood tables & chairs. This portion of Loft plays only retro music & also caters to a private dinning space seating.
The First Floor: as true in a warehouse, one wall has been removed making the break way spaces visible to patrons – i.e. the terrace & the upper floor. Above the dance floor, we’ve tapped into our quirky senses, we’ve created a Madhatter ceiling, where we suspended hats of various colours & styles – to depict since you’re having such a great time, you throw your hat up in salute to the same.
It’s quite a view and was designed specifically to target the millennium crowd.
The Malt Bar: Above the dance floor, we have a 25-30ft high bar which looks over the brewery.
The Upper-Loft: also named the Library Bar, is an easy-going space filled with high backed leather chairs & long wooden tables. Seating around 60 patrons, this corner is stacked high with books, and has a very Speakeasy vibe.
The Terrace: seats around 30-40 people, at tables of 2’s & 3’s. Reserved for special seasonal BBQ’s, this area is also equipped with an Indian clay oven and a breakaway smoking zone.
Launched on February 7th, what is your strategy to engage with the urban youth? And with so many microbreweries in Gurgaon, how does the Loft aim to stand apart?
There are definitely a lot of breweries & allied establishments spread across Gurgaon, but Loft is a one-of-a-kind experience located in sector 15. We know that we can rely on The Clock Tower loyalists to also visit Loft. Apart from social media campaign & word-of-mouth promotions, we also created campaigns to attract various target age group patrons. For example, we’re organising a street-magician to target the corporate clients. A lot more campaigns are in progress as well, which I’m sure you’ll hear about soon!
What do you think are the challenges restricting the progress of microbreweries in the country?
The biggest challenge I believe restricting microbreweries is that there’s no set standard law, it’s in a constant state of ever-changing pieces of the puzzle. There isn’t any central governing body to dictate a general set of rules for the entire nation. Each state has its own policies & limitation, even the drinking age in the country varies from state-to-state. With beer being one of the lower alcoholic beverages amongst the rest, the price of taxes on that one brew is phenomenal as compared to hard liquor taxation.
India is currently witnessing the expansion of beer markets, what are your thoughts on the same?
It’s a highly fragmented industry. Within the beer realm, you have so many microbreweries, beer outlets, production breweries and now taprooms. It’s great to see how people find a loophole in the system to come up with these options. Bangalore & Delhi are mature markets in terms of beer, but eventually I believe the bigger players will start acquiring the smaller ones, very similar to what’s happening in the US, but we have a lot of time to get to that level.
A few areas we should to work on are – Pricing & procurement strategy, and vendor management transparency.
What advice would you give a beer-preneur intending to take your path?
The first decision you should make for yourself is why you want to get into this industry – passion or money? If you’re not in it for the long-run it just doesn’t make scenes. The economic module for a brewery has changed, along with-it monthly pay-outs has increased and will continue to increase. It’s not as economically fruitful as it should be because of various stipulations.
Speaking with brew master Sagar Powale, completing his degree in Biotechnology from Ruia college, Mumbai and his Masters in Brewing and Distilling from Heriot Watt University. Sagar Powale shares his enthusiasm for brewing at Loft. “When it comes to Loft by The Clock Tower, I can assure you there are surprising brews on tap waiting for you. At Loft I have planned and poured all my experience to make all my brews which Gurgaon has never witnessed before. Brews at Loft is fusion of Modern and Traditional brewing, where in we have infused all our beers with some special ingredients”.
Talk to us about the current portfolio of beers at the Loft?
Talk to us about the current portfolio of beers at the Loft?We’re going to start with 4 always-available brews, and of course one tap will be reserved for our seasonal brews. Our current portfolio includes –
Rose-Wheat American Lager: This beer is brewed to pay our tribute to ‘King of Flowers’. Rose Wheat ale is an innovative beer inspired by the classic Rose wine. With a touch of tannins and splash of little red corvette rose petals, this is light pink beer perfect for beer fans who don’t like much bitter beers. Since this beer does not feature high alcohol percentage it is a perfect beer that can be even enjoyed on a perfect Sunny day.
Country of Origin – USA
Alcohol by Volume – 4%
IBU – 15
Special Ingredients – Little Red
Vienna Lager: Named after the city in which it originated, a traditional Vienna Lager is brewed using a three-step decoction boiling process. At loft we have infused this beer with smoked oak chips which we have specially imported from USA. This beer pours brightly, with a beautiful amber orange hue and foamy white head. Toasted malt characters envelope the palate, giving this beer a slightly malty sweetness. Plus the infused smoked oak chips also leaves slightly smokiness after taste. Finishing crisp and clean, it will have you coming back for more. Vienna Lager: Named after the city in which it originated, a traditional Vienna Lager is brewed using a three-step decoction boiling process. At loft we have infused this beer with smoked oak chips which we have specially imported from USA. This beer pours brightly, with a beautiful amber orange hue and foamy white head. Toasted malt characters envelope the palate, giving this beer a slightly malty sweetness. Plus the infused smoked oak chips also leaves slightly smokiness after taste. Finishing crisp and clean, it will have you coming back for more.
Country of Origin – Austria
Alcohol By volume – 5.5 %
IBU – 22
Special Ingredients – Smoked Oak Chips
Kaapi Stout: Wake up your taste buds with a jolt of ﬂavour from this Dark coffee stout. A smooth chocolate stout base combines with a custom coﬀee blend from South Indian coﬀee beans to create perfect beer for a crisp Autumn evening. The warming, almost fruity, chocolaty and bitterness that the coﬀee beans imparts help round out the toasty notes from the beer’s malt bill. Perfectly recommend for people who can’t live without – Coﬀee and beer. Kaapi Stout: Wake up your taste buds with a jolt of ﬂavour from this Dark coffee stout. A smooth chocolate stout base combines with a custom coﬀee blend from South Indian coﬀee beans to create perfect beer for a crisp Autumn evening. The warming, almost fruity, chocolaty and bitterness that the coﬀee beans imparts help round out the toasty notes from the beer’s malt bill. Perfectly recommend for people who can’t live without – Coﬀee and beer.
Country of Origin-Ireland
Alcohol by volume-8%
Special Ingredients – Custom coﬀee Blend
5 SPICED SAISON: The word “saison” means season in French and speaks to its intimate connection to the seasons. At loft we have infused our Saison with 5 different spices found across different parts of India. This beer has light to non-existent malt character, instead nose will be dominated by fruity esters. We have used special variety of Saison yeast in this beer which we have specially imported from Belgium, giving our peppery phenolic and spicy after taste. This beer is low on hops thus making perfect for beer lovers who wants to try something new and spice up their day.5 SPICED SAISON: The word “saison” means season in French and speaks to its intimate connection to the seasons. At loft we have infused our Saison with 5 different spices found across different parts of India. This beer has light to non-existent malt character, instead nose will be dominated by fruity esters. We have used special variety of Saison yeast in this beer which we have specially imported from Belgium, giving our peppery phenolic and spicy after taste. This beer is low on hops thus making perfect for beer lovers who wants to try something new and spice up their day.
Country of Origin-Belgium
Alcohol by volume-6.5%
Special Ingredients-Cloves, Chillies, Cardamom, Coriander and Anise
What are your thoughts on Gurgaon’s consumer tasteS and preferenceS?
As I currently brew in different cities throughout the country, like Gurgaon, Chandigarh, Kolkata, Pune and Mumbai, I noticed there definitely are similarities with tastes, there is more openness and progressiveness to try stronger flavours, more hoppy beers, varieties and variations in the South market. People in North India have sweeter palates as compared to people from South of India. Majority of the beers brewed in the north are wheat beers as its sweet and generally infused with something citrusy, versus a Pilsner or IPA.
In one of my breweries, The Clock Tower, we serve an ‘IPA’ and ‘Scottish Ale’ which is rarely seen in Gurgaon but is getting popular around town and receives good response.
What would you say are challenges that affect the production of good beers in India?
Since the craft beer market is still a virgin market in India, brewers face lots of issues in order to make a good beer. Sourcing of raw materials, to even specific beer glass cleaners can be a task. No doubt, you have Indian suppliers who import international brands and products but it’s still a very limited choice. Another important criterion is the machinery or brewery plant. Living in the era of cutting-edge technology, there are so many options – German or European plant, metal or stainless steel. All these factors contribute to producing a good mug of beer. Another major area of concern would – Quality Vs Quantity, this is one of the most common questions a brewpub faces.
Opening their doors on the 7th of February 2019, add the Loft to your beer bucket list of places to visit!