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Bira 91 Raises $10 Mn Funding From Japan’s MUFG Bank

B9 Beverages, which owns the Indian craft beer brand Bira 91, has raised $10 million from Japan’s largest bank MUFG Bank. The development comes months after the craft beer brand secured $70 million in a Series-D funding round, which was led by Japanese beer company Kirin Holdings Co.

As per the firm, the raised funds will be used to ramp up its production, bolster the supply chain and enhance innovation capabilities.

Bira 91 | Craft Beer Brand

Founded by Ankur Jain, Bira 91 has built a diverse portfolio of beers and aims to drive the global shift in beer towards more colour and flavour. The firm also offers branded merchandise across categories, such as glassware, apparel and gifts.

Speaking about the development, Ankur Jain, founder and CEO of B9 Beverages, said,

“When I look at this particular investment, I think the idea for us was to really get the most important and credible financial institution based out of Japan. One of the things that we’re trying to build is a network of financial institutions across the world who can help us as we institutionalize our company and get to our next corporate milestone—of potentially going public.”

Ankur Jain, founder and CEO of B9 Beverages

As per Ankur, the focus for the beer brand is to scale up the business over the next 12 to 24 months and ensure the brewer is at a scale where an IPO “becomes meaningful.” The firm is also backed by Sequoia Capital India, Sofina of Belgium, and Kirin Holdings of Japan. Institutional financial investors hold up to a 30% stake in B9 Beverages.

Recently, in October, B9 Beverages entered the cafe-chain market after it acquired The Beer Cafe in an all-stock deal. The deal was aimed at strengthening its play in the pubs and taprooms market and building a large-scale direct-to-consumer platform focused on beer and innovation.

Ankur stated that the two companies are “early stages of integration” and the chain will add another 10 outlets this quarter. He added,

“We’re already ahead of our pre-covid numbers in terms of the cafe’s revenues. We are expanding the store network from the current 30 to nearly 60 to 65 before the end of fiscal 2024.”

Bira 91, which holds a market share of 5% across key markets in India, has five manufacturing facilities in the country and is available across 550 towns and 18 countries worldwide. As per Ankur, their product will be available in 25 markets overseas before the end of this calendar year.

Commenting on the development, Yasuhide Hayashi, executive officer of MUFG Bank, stated that the Indian beer market is booming, due to factors such as changing lifestyle of consumers, a growing preference for the alcoholic beverage, and rising brand consciousness regarding imported and premium beers.

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