Sequoia, Sofina lead bridge round in craft beer brand Bira 91

B9 Beverages Pvt. Ltd, which makes craft beer under the brand Bira 91, has raised $20 million (Rs 152 crore at current exchange rates) in a bridge round of funding from a clutch of existing and new investors.

Existing investors Sequoia India and Belgium-based investment firm Sofina have led the round, Bira 91 said in a statement. Another existing backer Sixth Sense Venture, a consumer-focused venture capital fund, also contributed in this round.

Neoplux, a Korean private equity firm and several family offices came on board as new investors this time. 

The company claims to have concluded fundraising of $20 million in this bridge round. The newly infused capital will be primarily used for the expansion of its domestic footprint.

“2020 is a key inflection point for the company where we expect to reach double-digit market shares in several states through the year,” Ankur Jain, founder at B9 Beverages, said.

The company had last year commissioned two new breweries, one each in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka, and said to have quadrupled its production capacity. 

B9 Beverages, which was launched in February 2015, has a presence in ten countries and over 400 cities. It has over 500 employees.

The company had posted net sales of Rs 178 crore during 2018-19 as compared to Rs 158 crore a year before. It is yet to achieve operational breakeven, as per VCCEdge, the data research arm of Mosaic Digital.

In May 2019, Bira raised Rs 30 crore in funding from consumer-focussed venture capital firm Sixth Sense Ventures. In 2018, it secured Rs 335 crore in a funding round led by Sofina.

In January 2016, it raised Rs 40 crore in a Series A round of funding from a group of investors led by global venture capital firm Sequoia Capital.

Other alco-beverage deals

The segment has recorded several deals in the past few years.

Last week, a Chinese private investment firm has invested in United Breweries Ltd as it sought to take advantage of a sharp fall in the share price of the company that makes India’s largest-selling Kingfisher beer.

In October last year, White Owl Brewery Pvt. Ltd, a Mumbai-based craft beer maker, raised Rs 40 crore in a fresh round of funding led by IIFL Asset Management Ltd.

In May last year, British Brewing Company received an initial commitment of Rs 100 crore from investors including NeoMile Capital in its first external equity fundraise.

In January 2019, United Spirits Ltd sold its Bengaluru-based wine subsidiary Four Seasons Wines Ltd for Rs 31.86 crore to Grover Zampa Vineyards Ltd and its investor Quintela Assets Ltd.

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