SONBIR KUMAR YADAV
General Manager, Batli 29
Brewery and Pub
Setting up the brewery a year and a half ago was not easy. The investment was astronomical by the time it was ready for launch. With the best quality raw materials-malts from Weyermann (100% German malt), to begin with, the brewery did not need any investment in promotions. The quality spoke for itself and the clientele has grown steadily.”
In a very interesting twist, Batli 29, one of the best-known breweries in Gurgaon, was conceptualised one evening while the owners were having a drink on a breezy terrace in Gurgaon, .
The seed of the whole idea was to create a place and a brand that was better than the best! states Sonbir Kumar Yadav, the GM of the Batli 29 brewery and pub, “Our plan was that even if we open a place that serves water, it should be the best in town.” The idea was to create a destination for clients who are looking for their perception of perfection, thus everything about it should be at its finest! “We wanted a generic, quirky short name, so we called it Batli, slang for bottle. And 29 was the sector in Gurgaon that the location of the outlet would be, hence Batli 29” says Sonbir.
The promoters already had a presence in Gurgaon, by way of a very high-end gourmet food store brand called Le Marche and a high-end bakery called Sugar at the Spice in Gurgaon, where one can buy any imported food items. They also run The Pllazzio Hotel in Gurgaon.
Sonbir, a hotel management graduate from Rai University, went for further studies to London and attended the University of Wales. Though he loved being in London, with India growing every single second, in every way, he was inspired to come back and implement at home what he had learnt in the UK. Having worked with the Strand Palace Hotel for three years in London from 2005, as a bartender, and then as restaurant manager in a Spanish restaurant, Sonbir was ready to put his experience and education to good use back in India as well.
“Here in Gurgaon, people are still in an experimental mode. People want to try good taste, like in any metro city. This is especially in Bangalore, Gurgaon and Pune, and now it’s happening in even Patiala and Amritsar, which have traditionally been whisky drinking areas.
Over the last 5 years, people have adopted fresh brew with great enthusiasm, as a fun drink with class. Hence, we were very focused on creating the kind of brew which people would love to spend money on and have again and again,” he says.
They had good backup, but they would wait till their beer was accepted well in the market. Today, Batli 29 has been acknowledged as one of the best brew houses in Gurgaon, and enjoys the status of a safe and decent place. The clientele is very elite, and the positive vibes that guests have, are enough reward for the hard work that went into it.
Sharing his experience, he says “Setting up the brewery a year and a half ago was not easy. The investment was astronomical by the time it was ready for launch. With the best quality raw materials-malts from Weyermann (100% German malt), the brewery did not need any investment in promotions. The quality spoke for itself and the clientele has grown steadily”.
The equipment, at the time of setting up, was a bit of a challenge with some technical bends and turns which could potentially interfere with the quality of the beer. But the management got it back on track and with a world class consulting practice supporting the production now, the quality, is one of the best in Gurgaon.
“The place is designed in such a way that it releases negativity, and that we have some great food and good beer also helps,” he states.
The décor of the brewery is a blend of rusty and rugged interiors, fresh greenery, calming and peaceful. There are palm trees, bamboos and plants all around. The beer tastes available are also exactly as per the guest’s palates.”
Batli 29 caters to all tastes. It is very focused on the client’s palate. Pilsner and Wheat have been it’s big sellers. However, says Sonbir the last 6-7 months, I have seen a drastic diversion – palates have moved to semi dark or dark stout. More and more people love it. Today, dark beers are our top sellers, and they might replace Wheat, which has been the highest selling in the past, is not the top selling any more, for the last three months. Initially, Lager and Pilsner were the biggest hits and had almost more than 65% of the market here. That was because it was the simplest organic taste of beer. But after we introduced dark beers and more bitter beers, my guests love it. In the total beer we sell, almost 25%-30% of the business is dark beer today, which is very unusual.” The trend is, Sonbir observes, when there is a sampler on the table and when guests come to have a drink, they want to try something new and different. “Wheat beer is available everywhere, but dark beer is the new taste, he adds. “Even lady guests, he says, enjoy dark beers more today”. This also gives Batli 29 an edge over competition.
In addition, Batli has a unique offering – beer cocktails, The Batli Bomb and The Batli Banta. While these are alcoholic, they are a great hit with women. These are premium drinks, and that is because some market exclusivity was needed. With easily identifiable and highly appreciated flavours, the beer cocktails at Batli 29 are also a huge hit. A little spicy and tart, these cocktails essentially use vodka and brew, ginger ale, chat masala, lime – to name a few.
With the success of new flavours, Sonbir is encouraged to try newer things in Batli 29. “Over the last two years, people are in an experimental mode always asking for something new. With the new beer cocktail concept, we also plans to introduce new glasses for the new and specialised products.”
The future holds interesting things while Batli 29 is looking forward to expansion in multiple locations, for which work on that is on a very aggressive mode.
In addition to beer, the beer based foods and food pairings are also big on the cards for the Batli 29 team. There are offers about paring beer with malt based pizza.
The secret of Batli 29’s success is the personalised atmosphere that does not make it a drinks only place. It is the quality that is acknowledged everywhere, and Sonbir is convinced, that’s what sells. This is the USP of Batli 29. The team ensures there is care taken for the taste and requirement of each guest, “Our aim is to refresh our guests, and give them the pleasure of great beer, good food and calming décor. We have done just that at Batli 29,” Sonbir signs off.
The secret of Batli 29’s success is the personalised atmosphere that does not make it a drinks only place. It is the quality that is acknowledged everywhere, and Sonbir is convinced, that’s what sells. This is the USP of Batli 29.