Is India the World’s Unknown Beer Destination?

Around 20 miles (32km) southwest of New Delhi is Gurgaon. In just a couple of decades it’s gone from dusty land to a city of high-rises, shopping malls, and offices for half of the world’s Fortune 500 companies. You’d be forgiven for not having heard of this place before. You’d also be forgiven for not knowing that Gurgaon has over 20 brewpubs. Almost all make the Indian standard beer line-up of Wheat beer, Pale Lager, and Dark Lager, and some back these up with other brews, though don’t expect to find too many IPAs, as bitterness doesn’t work well for many Indian drinkers. Photos of the venues—I’ve never

Is India the World’s Unknown Beer Destination? Photo Gallery

been—make them all look like smart hotel bars, which is indicative of the way the city is developing.

Gurgaon fascinates me because there aren’t many cities in the world with 20 brewpubs. Certainly not outside America. And who has ever heard of Gurgaon’s beer scene? I hadn’t until I started looking into India’s beer scene. And yet this isn’t the only Indian city with 20-plus brewpubs because Bangalore is another. This is the center of India’s high-tech industry, the capital of the southern state of Karnataka, and the original Beer City in India. Bombay and the relatively nearby Pune add even more brewpubs to the ever-growing list and could be where the next big surge of beers comes from.

A decade ago there were two brewpubs in India. Now there are over 100. With a growing middle-class, a developing taste for drinking alcohol in bars, especially in the Western-leaning bigger cities, and the drive of entrepreneurs opening brewpubs, I think India is a fascinating place to watch out for.

A barman pours a jug of beer in the Mint Lounge, just one of the 20 brewpubs in Gurgaon.

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