Craft beer maker Cerana raises bridge round, in talks to raise $10M in Series A

Craft beer maker Cerana Beverages Pvt Ltd has closed its bridge round of funding from existing investors besides a new foreign investor ahead of a planned $10 million funding in its Series A round, the company said on Monday.

Although the firm did not share further details, a person familiar with the development told VCCircle, "The firm raised around $1 million in this bridge round and some of the existing investors along with a new foreign investor also participated in this pre-Series A."

Cerana Beverages had first raised an undisclosed amount in 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. It raised additional money from angel investor Apurva Salarpuria soon thereafter.

Salarpuria, one of the founding members of Calcutta Angels, is the first India-based investor for the company. He hails from the privately held Salarpuria Group, whose primary business interest is real estate development and is active in Bangalore, Pune, Kolkata and Hyderabad.

It is not clear which of the existing angel investors put in more in the new bridge round.

Cerana Beverages chief Ankur Jain declined to name the new investor but said the firm is now in talks to raise a larger Series A round.

"For the Series A round, we are in advance talks with multiple venture firms in the country and US and expect to close it by summer. The existing investor may or may not participate as it is not finalised yet," he said.

The company will be using the funding for expansion of its craft beer brand, Bira 91.

“We introduced the beer in Delhi NCR and the feedback has exceeded our own expectations by a wide margin. We have been able to sell 10 times the volumes that we expected during our launch phase. We are very pleased with the initial traction that we got and feel that we are now well positioned to create the first craft beer brand of scale in India," said Jain, founder and chief executive officer of Cerana.

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.

Cerana had recently launched its first indigenous product–Bira 91 White–a wheat beer in draft format in Delhi NCR.

It 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 Estrella Damm.

Cerana is also launching a new variant of the its own brand called Bira 91 Blonde this month in Mumbai, Bangalore and Kolkata. It is also planning to roll out its third beer style in March this year.

(Edited by Joby Puthuparampil Johnson)

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