Meenakshi and Arvind are siblings who run the microbrewery brand ‘Bière Club’ in the city of Bangalore, India. The idea of the Bière Club was born in the year 2006 when they were 26 and 24 years old respectively. At this time Meenakshi was working for a corporate and Arvind had completed his masters in hospitality management. They decided to team up and start something very novel, thus doing research and chalking out plans. They brought with them the rich knowledge and ideas that each had gained during their travels.
There were people trying to discourage them pointing to the huge risks they were taking. Even the then government did not encourage the idea at the first go. They had a long and protracted struggle every step of the way due to the red tape in the local government. After many years from the actual conception of the idea it was a change in the local government that helped them secure the approval on the third attempt. This time around the people in the government were ready to listen, paid keen attention and even encouraged the idea. After a lot of legal rambling and hassles a new rule for microbreweries was created. This not only helped them start the business but also paved the way for other entrepreneurs to follow suit.
After fighting many uphill battles the Bière club opened to public on 20th May 2011. Meenakshi and Arvind have had to cope with various operational issues too with many of the raw materials required like malt, hops, yeast, etc. being imported from various parts of the world including Germany. Importing comes with its own set of problems like haggling with the customs and excise departments, a lot of paperwork, middlemen and extremely cumbersome processes. Also, brewing is a very sensitive business and is strictly licensed and controlled in India. Business owners are constantly under the scanner to make sure they follow every rule in the book.
For them motivation comes from family and the constant endeavor to innovate and grow the business. So that being said they conceptualized a very unique proposition revolving around the Bière club brand. Set up in March 2014, ‘Bière Street’ opened its doors in Whitefield, Bangalore. This place is very unique because it has European themed retail spaces setup along cobblestone streets, boasting of its Alfresco dining experience, and includes a Bière Club serving its own brews.
They reckon the way forward is to grow the business by partnering and opening franchise outlets in other cities under the Bière Club umbrella.
Asked to rate their success, a very modest 7 on 10 (10 being the highest) is what they replied, giving them scope for improvement and room to innovate factoring in the growing competition. Competition, Meenakshi says is getting fiercer by the day keeping them on their toes. Being the pioneers in setting up microbreweries in Bangalore they have restored what Bangalore was famous for – Great Pubs.
This is a part of the “Mission 365+1” project.