Demystifying The Craft Beer Transformation With Umesh Singla, Managing Director, Ministry Of Beer, Bhatinda

Demystifying The Craft Beer Transformation With Umesh Singla, Managing Director, Ministry Of Beer, Bhatinda

Umesh Singla began his journey with The BrewMaster, Bhatinda in 2017. Originally not from the F&B background, Umesh’s family belongs from the business background. Umesh is an ardent traveler and was always passionate about exploring various types of food.  He decided to give something to the city of Punjab in the form of something he would enjoy working for. That is when The BrewMaster, Bhatinda which is a part of the Humble Hospitality Pvt. Ltd came into existence and has now amalgamated with the Ministry Of Beer (MOB).  Umesh’s vision was to cater to a large network and make it experience one of the finest microbreweries in Punjab. 

In Conversation With Umesh Singla of Ministry Of Beer

In an exclusive conversation with The Restaurant Times, Umesh Singla talks of his journey in the industry, the story behind The Ministry Of Beer, the growth of craft beer in India, and a lot more.

A Little About Ministry Of Beer

The Ministry Of Beer is the first microbrewery brand in Punjab. It is the pioneer of breweries in Punjab. The Ministry Of Beer, Bhatinda is a place where one can relish freshly brewed beers and enjoy exclusive cuisines. The Ministry Of Beer was thoughtfully planned and designed, keeping in mind the Gen Z, the culture of the country and the changing customer preferences. The Ministry Of Beer offers a wide range of beers. It includes Amber Beer, Blonde’s Beer, Brunette Beer, IceBrew Beer, Banana Beer, Black Hawk, Porter Beer, Radler Beer and a lot more.

Many types of beers can be produced at microbreweries, including lagers, ales, stouts, and porters. Although the quantity varies by region, they are generally permitted to produce 5000 liters of beer a day. The beer is fresh from the tap with no preservatives or bottling involved.  

The USP of The Ministry Of Beer is that they render unique beer flavors which gives them an edge over other competitors. The place is a complete package of entertainment and quality food. The brewery speaks for itself- with a sound setup and adequate control over the operations, the loopholes are in check and rectified immediately!

Growth Of Craft Beer In India 

Beer drinking is now not just a youth-oriented indulgence but is being pegged as a family beverage. According to Singla, the beer market is growing exponentially in India. A huge market awaits in India for the beer producers. Exposure to the brewpub culture in cities like Pune, Mumbai, Bengaluru, and Delhi has made consumers more experimental. 

 “The India Beer Market Outlook 2023 report states that the Indian beer market is expected to grow at a CAGR of more than 6% during 2018-2023.”

The Indian craft beer narrative has certainly taken off. Singla believes that the country holds significant long-term growth potential as a beer-drinking culture which is only growing in momentum. A young and prosperous middle class with rising disposable incomes will lead to greater spending on alcoholic drinks, and in particular, beer. This is because it carries premium associations in India given that spirits are more economical and more widely available for the general population.

Operational Challenges While Running  A Microbrewery

  • Quality and Service Standards according to the demographics: Defining your target demographics can assist in avoiding one of the most common mistakes that restaurateurs usually make, which is trying to please everyone. Being fully aware of one’s target demographics is the key to improving the business as well as attracting and retaining customers. According to Singla, in Punjab, the quality and service standards based on the demographics are generally low which is a challenge for them.
  • Procuring Raw Materials: The craft beer business is big. Each brewery has its own unique set of flavors that it prefers to experiment with. The biggest challenge lies in procuring the most important of raw materials for the craft beer industry. A variety of raw materials are used in various beers. The procurement of these raw materials responds to changes in climate or severe weather and makes availability extremely difficult to plan for.
  • Challenge of Hiring Quality Service Staff and Training: The restaurant industry is one of the hardest to survive in even with large potential customers. When servers interact with customers, their approach defines the service they are providing. Customers will never return even if the food was good but the server was snobby. In the restaurant business, people are products too. It is crucial to hire the right kind of staff and give them proper training.

Role Of POS Software In a Microbrewery

In this tech-savvy age, organizations that fail to adopt innovative technologies are at a significant risk of falling behind their competitors, and no industry is exempt from this concept. Technology is the backbone of the restaurant industry.

With the agility and versatility of the POS software that runs at restaurants, the restaurateur can efficiently keep an eye on the various aspects of their business. Cloud-based POS generates reports that are much more detailed than before. The Ministry Of Beer, Bhatinda has been using POSist at their outlet. 

“The analytical data provided by POSist helps everything to function in sync. Important information like the revenue generated, profit shares, APC, turnover, ROI helps us to strategize for the future keeping in view the current reports. POSist helps us to think beyond the outlet and do more,” says Singla.

The market is evolving and so is the customer. The kind of data which POSist provides helps in analyzing customer demand. The Cockpit app helps in keeping a track of the hourly sales, the highest performing food item, the highest performing server, etc. All this information further helps in designing the menu and also, recognizing the work of the highest performing server. 

The Anti-Theft app which works with artificial intelligence helps track fraudulent activities going on in the brewery. Cases such as potential internal pilferage and the staff involved can easily be tracked. “At The Ministry Of Beer, Bhatinda, we were able to track ten void bills per month initially. With extensive use of the app, we were able to track the staff involved and question them. Currently, we have hardly any void bills at the outlet.” says Singla.

Important Strategic Learnings To Run A Successful Microbrewery

  • Never Compromise On Quality: Customers trust a brand that never compromises on the quality of the products they use and the services they provide. For a brand to move ahead, this is a vital step for them to take in order to build a solid brand name and a loyal client base. Successful dining experiences are all about trust between the restaurant and the diner, and nothing strengthens such trust more than a well-cooked meal.
  • Excellent Backend Operations: Restaurants should streamline their operations efficiently, creating processes and SOPs across the board. Bringing standardization and following SOPs helps in plugging loopholes and unnecessary wastages and rectifying them immediately.
  • Right Choice of People: Restaurateurs should never stop searching for the right talent.  There is always someone better and more skillful. Focus more on training procedures and organization culture. Happier the staff, finer the service. Singla feels lucky to have an amazing team.  It has the lowest attrition rate in the entire city!
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