Cerana Beverages raises seed funding from a group of private investors

Craft Beer firm Cerana Beverages Private Limited has raised a seed round of funding from a group of investors, including angel investors and executives from top private equity and technology firms from the US, Europe and Singapore, to fund its expansion plans in India, according to a statement.

The company did not disclose the name of the investors or the investment amount. This is the first external funding for the firm and also the first deal in the craft beer space in India.

The company will use the money to roll out its proprietary draft beer dispense network in 200 outlets in Delhi and Mumbai this fiscal and also to launch Biru – the first Indian packaged craft beer brand in August this year in the top cities of the country.

The company has also appointed Tanmoy Mukherjee, former marketing head of Lavazza Coffee as its chief marketing officer and Anuj Krishan, former director with UBS Investment Bank, London and an alumnus of IIT Bombay, as COO, as part of the expansion plans. The duo will join Ankur Jain, founder and CEO and Anshul Agarwal, VP-operations in the leadership team.

“With Biru, we aim to fulfil the gap in the market for a trendy, unorthodox, fun and smart brand of beer. The world today is full of individuals who are tired of the insipid mass market formula adopted by large domestic and international brands. Biru creates an alternative brand which is edgy and fun, and above all creates a product which is delicious,” Jain said in the statement.

Also, the company is planning to launch Craft Beer Hive, which is India’s first branded independent draft beer dispense network, which can help Cerana gain controlling market share in the segment.

Currently, beer is one of the largest consumer beverage categories in India with a market size of $5 billion compared with $300 million for branded café/coffee market.

Cerana Beverages has a portfolio covering major beer styles and more than 20 brands, including Belgian Blonde Ale of Duvel, Fruit Beers of Liefmans, Trappist Beers of Chimay, and one of the largest Spanish beer brands of Estrella Damm.

It has exclusive import and marketing rights in the subcontinent from seven breweries and has an established presence in India and the South Asian sub-continent, with sales, marketing and distribution network in the all major urban centres in India.

(Edited by Joby Puthuparampil Johnson)

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