Does anyone actually drink beer to quench their thirst and beat the summer heat?
Well, believe it or not, It is actually True…
This is not just my opinion.
“As the temperature rises, it’s a great opportunity to change what’s in your glass”.
Think of it like this…
Who can resist a mug of chilled, golden beer on a warm sunny day or sultry hot evening?
After all, beer is the third most popular drink in the world. The first most popular drink is water, while tea takes the second position.
Tempted to try a beer?
So, let us take a look at the Top 10 Indian origin beer brands that are extremely popular in this country.
Beers in India: Backgrounder
Beer is defined in dictionaries as a drink made by fermenting cereals.
Generally, beer is brewed from barley, wheat, maize, millet or corn or rice. In India, a drink called ‘soor’ or ‘sura’ finds mention in very ancient texts, which date as far back as 2500 BC to 1500BC.
Indian Beer Brands is credited as being a favorite brew consumed by various divine entities.
Ancient scriptures, the Vedas dating to around 1000BC also mention a form of drink made from fermenting cereals.
The ancient system of brewing a mildly intoxicating beverage from malty grains continues in India. It is known by different names in various communities of the country.
However, their availability is limited to indigenous populations, especially tribal people. Hence, it is seldom available commercially.
Most common beer commercially available in India is of European types. This means they are made in India using foreign processes such as Lager and Pilsner. A few rare varieties of Stout or black beer are also made in India.
Top 10 Best Beer Brands in India:
All prices shown are indicative and may depend according to taxes in your area. Some of the listed Topmost beer brands of India may not be available in your region.
Here we list some of the best beer brands in the country that trace their origins to India.
1. Kingfisher Beer (Rs.125 to Rs.200 depending on variant)
Commanding a formidable share of over 42 percent of the Indian market, Kingfisher is the most popular and widely sold beer brand in India.
A product of United Breweries Ltd (UBL), the brand was first made from UBL’s Bangalore brewery in 1978 when the company was owned by Vittal Mallya.
All Kingfisher brands are brewed with Lager process.It is one of the best beer in India
Kingfisher beer is available in myriad variants including beer names Kingfisher Premium, Kingfisher Strong, Kingfisher Ultra, Kingfisher Ultra Max and Kingfisher Storm and Kingfisher Buzz, among others.
The brand owes its popularity to Indian businessman, Vijay Mallya who took over the business from his father and expanded its production across India.
2. Haywards Beer ( Rs.125 onwards, depending on variant)
Hayward’s range of Lager beers brands was launched in India by the now-defunct Shaw Wallace & Co, a Kolkata based brewery opened in 1886 by Englishmen Robert Gordon Shaw and Charles William Wallace.
The brand was acquired by UBL and is now operated by the Indian operations of the global brewer, SAB Miller.
Haywards beer is available in various variants including Haywards (regular) Haywards 2000, Haywards 5000 and Haywards 10000, depending upon alcohol strengths.
The Haywards range of beers holds about 15 percent of the Indian indigenous beer brand share. In most markets, only Haywards 5000 is available.
3. Kalyani Black Label Beer (Rs. 100)
Kalyani Black Label beer brand in India is also a brand owned by UBL and holds nearly three percent of the Indian market.
The beer, fondly called KBL was owned by a Kolkata-based brewery which was acquired by UBL.
Though the beer had a market in every major city of India, it is now available only in West Bengal and certain north-eastern states.
UBL categorizes Kalyani Black Label, a strong Lager beer as its ‘Power Brand.’
4. Bira (craft beer) (Rs. 170 and upwards)
Bira is India’s first and only craft beer brand. It is available in four variants- Bira White, Bira Blonde, Bira Light and Bira Strong.
Additionally, the New Delhi-based company, B9 Beverages also manufactures Bira as India Pale Ale (IPA), the only ale available in the Indian market.
Bira has an interesting history. It entered India as a Belgian made beer as recently as 2015. It was imported by a startup launched by Ankur Jain, who believed that India’s market was ripe for a craft beer.
Following its runaway success, the company opened a brewery in Indore, Madhya Pradesh. Bira brand is Topmost among beer connoisseurs of India.
The brand was also served to delegates during a United Nations assembly in 2015 at the North Delegates Lobby. Bira has found a large market in India and the US.
5. Knock Out Beer (Rs.150)
Knock Out is a very popular brand of strong Lager beer in India. It holds over eight percent of the Indian beer market.
Knock Out is another brand from the SAB Miller range in India. It was originally launched by Bangalore-based brewer Mysore Breweries Ltd.
Knock Out is brewed at different locations across the country.
It ranks among the topmost beers preferred by the younger generation, due to its potent alcohol content and fairly affordable price that gives an edge over stronger spirits.
6. London Pilsner (Rs.130)
London Pilsner beer was launched in the 1960s from a brewery located on outskirts of Mumbai.
It is the first Indian beer brewed with the Pilsner process. In its earliest days, London Pilsner was available only as a pale pilsner and was available in Mumbai and regions surrounding the metropolis.
The pale pilsner beer found a quick market in India due to its unique taste and light appearance. London Pilsner nowadays is available only as strong beer.
The beer brand is now available in India and is owned by UBL.
7. Dansberg 16000 (Rs.130)
Very few people in India will have heard of Dansberg 16000 beer.
It is the strongest beer among the list of beer in India and has unmatched alcohol strength. It is marketed as Super Strong Beer by its makers Yuksom Breweries Ltd.
Dansberg 16000 owes its name to popular India movie star, Danny Denzongpa, founder of Yuksom Breweries Ltd- which is the only alcohol manufacturing unit in India’s north-eastern state, Sikkim.
Dansberg 16000 and other brands of Yukon Breweries Ltd are available only in select states of India.
This is because water from mountainous Sikkim state lends these beers a unique flavor that cannot be replicated in any other part of the country.
8. Cannon 10000 (Rs.120)
Cannon 10000 is a strong Lager beer in India. The brand traces its history to 1960s.
In those days, it was manufactured as Canon beer by a local brewery based in Arlem near Margao.
The Arlem Brewery, as it was then known was owned by Goa-based business Chowgule Group. Canon had markets in Mumbai and other parts of Maharashtra as well as Karnataka.
Canon 10000 is made by UBL and is available across India. It is the only surviving brand from the Canon range which included Canon 2000, Canon 3000 and Canon 5000 variants.
9. King’s Beer (Rs.110)
King’s Beer is a new entrant on India’s beer scene. It is a brand owned by Impala Distillery & Brewery Ltd of Assolda, Goa.
King’s Beer is very popular among foreign and Indian tourists visiting this tiny coastal state. In recent months, King’s Beer has found large followers in Maharashtra and Karnataka.
It is available at major wine shops in Mumbai and other cities. King’s is a pilsner type beer. It has the lesser beer price in India.
Currently, availability is limited since it is brewed in Goa only though the company plans to expand operations in Mumbai later this year.
10. Cobra Beer (Rs.175)
Cobra is a beer brand from the UK. It was launched there by two entrepreneurs of Indian origin.
Cobra beer is also available in India and is a brand of Molson-Coors.
Cobra beer is made from maize malts and is brewed using a traditional recipe. About 98 percent of Indian restaurants in the UK serve Cobra beer.
In India, it can be bought at top liquor stores or enjoyed at high-class restaurants.
Other Popular Brands
There are several other popular beer brands in India.
- Old Monk Super Strong (named after an eponymous brand of rum)
- UB Export
- Black Knight Super Strong
Foreign Beer Brands in India
Internationally acclaimed brands of beer are also manufactured under license in India.
- Heineken (The Netherlands)
- Budweiser (USA)
- Carlsberg (Denmark)
- Tuborg (Denmark)
- Tiger (Singapore)
- Foster (Australia)
Modern Beers in India
Beer brewed with European processes first arrived on shores of India in the early 1700s and was imported by British settlers of the Indian subcontinent.
However, this imported beer had to be modified to survive the long sea voyage from Europe to the subcontinent and was hence preserved using rudimentary techniques such as yeast and hops.
In 1830, the first Indian brand- Lion Beer- was made at a brewery in Kasauli in modern-day Himachal Pradesh.
This brewery, started by Englishman Edward Abraham Dyer was the first beer maker in India. It flourishes to date in Solan, Himachal Pradesh.
Lion Beer also holds the distinction as the first Indian brand that was exported. Its first foreign market was Sri Lanka, where the brand is available today, albeit made by a local brewery.
In 1860, another brewery opened on the Indian subcontinent- Murree Brewery. Located in Ghora Galli near the modern-day resort of Murree, the brewery is now in Pakistan.
It ranks among the first modern beer breweries of Asia.
The first strong beer in India was made in 1969 by Bhopal-based Lilasons Breweries Known as Khajuraho Strong, this beer held sway over strong beer market of India for several decades.
It was known for its distinct bitter taste and darker colour.
India consumes an estimated 25 million hectoliters (one hectoliter equals 100 litres) of beer annually.
Of all alcoholic beverage sold in India, the beer holds five to six percent of the market. Of this, strong beers command as high as 85 percent of beer sales in India.
In coming years, beer consumption in India is expected to rise as fountain-tap beers and draft beers become common across the country.