India. Bengaluru: City in a Beer Hug

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Move over whiskey, it’s beer and cocktail season. Ninety per cent of the city crowd is getting high on the brew or lemon-based cocktails.

Ankit Agarwal, manager at city pub Tipplers-On The Roof, says, “Nine out of 10 guests opt for beer. Tap beer is the most popular. Afternoon crowd at the pub has decreased by almost half, while our evening customers have doubled.”

Atit S (35), an entrepreneur, says, “Beer is not too much alcohol and it keeps you sufficiently sober. During summer, I tend to socialise more. Beer works best for that.”

Vinayak Malhotra (24), sales manager at a city firm, says, “I usually drink whiskey or rum, but I turn to beer in the summer. It refreshes me. I also love gin and tonic.”

Disha Gopal (23), a merchandiser, says, “There are frequent power cuts in my locality. So my friends and I often find ourselves ending up in pubs and bars to beat the heat. I love guava and mango-based cocktails. I save hard alcohol for the weekends. During the week, I always find myself reaching for a cold beer.”

Close in competition with beer are mocktails, especially mojitos. Vikram Baderya, the owner of Horn Ok Please, says, “Drinking has become a habit and people are not careless with their drinks anymore. The older generation of 40 and above have their particular, regular drinks that they always order but in the summers, they change to vodka-based cocktails, like mojitos, and beer. We offer 30+ pouring brands. But the 18-27 age groups still remain experimental and go in for hard liquor.”

Pratyash Ahuja, 27 and working as an outreach sales executive, says, “I usually prefer whiskey but during summers my drinking comes down and I like to switch to micro-breweries. I also love lemonades and mojitos.”

As the IPL season is going on, the pubs have various offers to lure customers. Kashish Mittal, owner of Loft 38, says, “During summers, footfalls increase by double. Our group parties also increase similarly. But the cricket fans are still hard to lure. We have introduced the special IPL offer of ‘buy 4 drinks and get 2 free’, to get in more groups. We also offer a wide range of ice-blend cocktails.”

Horn Ok Please also offers two attractive IPL offers: Rs 799 for unlimited Kingfisher Premier Beer with two vegetarian and two non-vegetarian starters and ‘buy two 260 ml drinks and get the third free’.

While most pubs observe the increased sales in beer, it is the other way round at Church Street Social. “We observe that our alcohol sales have decreased while our flavoured iced tea sales are on the rise. Seven out of ten customers go in for iced teas instead of alcohol,” says the management.