If the world doesn’t end this December, beer lovers will have two reasons to rejoice in 2013. In the first quarter of next year, the international concept, Belgian Beer Café (BBC), will come to India for the first time.
The pilot Indian outlet of the Anheuser-Busch InBev Group initiative, which was founded in 1998, will be launched at the Inter-Continental hotel in Noida. Following this, BBC will come to Mumbai and then, Bengaluru. “Work is in progress on the first BBC in Noida. We are already working with local franchisers and different people who might be interested in picking up the concept; whether they’re bringing their existing assets into play or a getting a new property,” says Kartikeya Sharma, marketing head, AB InBev India.
He adds, “Once we get the first one out of the way (in Noida), we want to see the consumer response, what we need to change or tailor, because as much as possible, the BBC concept stays very pure. At no point, like food chains, do we get into localised strategies. It’s a global concept.”
Around the world, BBCs are known for their consistency, which is why even though they have set up shop in over 60 locations globally, their effort is to maintain their quality. “It is an initiative that has been carried out in association with Belgian consulates all over the world. The idea is to further the cause of driving that culture, which means bringing not just Belgian beer, but also Belgian food to India. And of course, then bringing together the marriage of the food and the beer,” says Sharma, who feels India, as a market, is finally embracing beer. “It is becoming really popular, not just with youngsters, but also older folk, who’ve never engaged with beer and are now discovering it.”