Big Idea

Fresh brew

This young beer brand is on its way to disrupt the lager beer market in Delhi

Vishal Koul

Founder of Medusa Beer, 26-year-old Avneet Singh, gets excited when quizzed about the brand name. “Medusa is a winged human female with living venomous snakes instead of hair. Those who gaze upon her face would turn to stone. Our beer also helps you get stoned,” quips Singh.

If you are a beer lover and live in Delhi, you have definitely heard of the brand. Just a year old, it claims to have already sold three lakh cases in the capital making around Rs.700 million in revenue.

But, is it one more craft beer such as Bira 91, Simba, and white Rhino? “No,” says Singh. “My beer is a commercial lager beer. With different flavours, beer was losing its originality. I wanted to revive that with Medusa,” he says.

But the lager market is filled up to the brim with Kingfishers of the world, leaving little space for new players. Singh claims he is targetting a new segment. “Either you have very strong beers or very mild. Medusa’s taste is mild, but highness is akin to a strong beer” Singh explains the positioning. With a beer priced at lower than Rs.100, Medusa is giving tough competition to Carlsberg Elephant (Rs.120 in Delhi) and Budweiser Magnum (Rs.140) in this segment. Singh plans to keep prices at that point for a few years to gain market share.

But how did this millennial end up here? “While my family is into aluminium business, I set up retail and distribution channel of liquor in Delhi in 2014,” shares Singh. Today, he has 12 outlets in Delhi and a distribution channel for several known brands. “The channel trained me for something bigger — to launch our own alcohol brand. But my own channel contributes less than 3% of our sales,” claims Singh.

Singh invested around Rs.120 million to start the business and took the help of expert brewers to get the taste right initially. “Ingredients are same in all the beers, the process is the differentiator. We worked really hard, created several test batches, experimented with taste to get it right,” he says.