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Published on: Oct. 19, 2020, 10:54 a.m.
Medusa, the pocket-friendly beer
  • Brewing a beer

By Yeshi Seli. Assistant Editor, Business India

Beer is the most consumed beverage after tea and coffee globally, which is probably why a brand like Medusa – launched just two years back (2018) – has become increasingly popular. It has reported a combined turnover of Rs150 crore within the first two years of its launch.

“The country’s beer market has improved considerably due to high disposable income and social acceptance,” says Avneet Singh, 27, founder & CEO, Medusa Beverages Pvt Ltd. “We entered this space after I researched on manufacturing for nearly two years”. Singh hails from a business family, which owns aluminium rolling mills, but he has always been keen to do something of his own.

“I have been dabbling in different kinds of businesses ever since I was in school,” affirms Singh. “I was around 16 when I got involved in multi-level-marketing for a small company and managed to make Rs10,000 per month – which was great for a guy of my age. However, in 11th grade I had to concentrate on academics and my interest in businesses took a backseat”.

He then began to study architecture, but left college a year before he finished his degree, when he realised that he didn’t want to make buildings. Amongst the first businesses he attempted was a café in Delhi – which folded up, as it didn’t make money. His interest in food and beverages got him to meet Sunny Marwah, who has since been the co-founder of Medusa.

“It was in 2015; I was 22 then, when I set up a retail outlet to sell various brands of alcohol in East Delhi,” Singh reminisces. (By the way, he happens to be a tea-totaller!) “This gave me experience in retail and distribution. I got interested in the brewery business and began to research on manufacturing and production. It was around then that I decided to launch my own beer brand. The name Medusa came naturally to me, as I was always intrigued by this Greek mythological character called Medusa.” Medusa Beverages has two more partners – Arpan Sood and Nitish Malhotra.

The beer is being produced via contract manufacturing in Adie Broswan Brewery Pvt Ltd, in Gurdsapur, Punjab on a rental and commission bases. Its production began with an initial investment of Rs12 crore, which came through internal accruals from the promoter and partners.

“Ours is a debt-free company,” informs Singh. “In fact, I think we are the only Indian company in this segment, which is not only debt-free, but also has no foreign investors. We are distributing in Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Chandigarh and Haryana. In 2018-19, we sold 300,000 cases,” says Singh. In 2019-20, the tally went up to nearly 500,000 cases. The number of cans/bottles in a case varies, depending on their size and capacity. For instance, there are 24 cans of 500 ml each in a case, while there are 12 bottles of 650 ml each in a case of the same size.

``Medusa Beverages has been functioning efficiently and professionally,” compliments Jasdeep Kaur, Managing Director, Adie Broswon Group. “The manner in which the company has worked on its brand is worth appreciating and it is for this reason that we decided to partner their team to create a unique legacy for beer”.
 
Repeat orders

“The beer we make has 5.9 per cent alcohol and is considered mildly strong or premium,” Singh adds. “It’s become a favourite of many youngsters, as it gives a slight kick. We are a pocket-friendly beer (in Delhi, a 500 ml can comes for Rs100 and a 650 ml bottle for Rs145, while one pint of 330 ml costs Rs75)”. The turquoise and red can with a print of Medusa was designed by NIFT designers.

Delhi has the highest per capita consumption of alcohol in North India. As far as the market share is concerned, in Delhi, Medusa is in the second position in the cans segment while, in Punjab, its market share is 40 per cent in the premium beer segment.

“We have been getting repeat orders from our customers ever since we started serving Medusa,” says Priyank Sukhija of First Fiddle F&B Pvt Ltd. “It is a great favourite amongst the youth”. Medusa beer is available across 6,000 stores in the five states they are currently selling in.

The company’s plans to expand its presence to other states got postponed due to Covid-19 pandemic, though, despite the pandemic, the stocks have been getting sold, as soon as the lock-down was lifted. Now, despite Covid-19, Singh expects the turnover (2020-21) of the company to be at least on a par with the last year’s R80 crore. In the first year of its operations, the company made a turnover of Rs70 crore (2018-19), while the next year (2019-20), it went up to Rs80 crore.

Beer sales are likely to bounce back in 2021 due to pent up demand, says a report in Euromonitor International. This is good news for the beer manufacturing sector.

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