Amritanshu Agrawal has been pegged as a fine example of inspired entrepreneurship in recent times. For the uninformed, Amritanshu was the brain behind Hops-n-Grains, a microbrewery based out of Panchkula. At the time, Hops-n-Grains enjoyed the privilege of being the first microbrewery in the region and the fifth in India. Amritanshu Agrawal happens to be a first generation entrepreneur who pursued a postgraduate degree in business administration in Australia before setting up Peitho Foods Pvt Ltd with his wife Priyanka. On multiple occasions, Amritanshu has been known to draw inspiration from the European microbrewery format, and he maintains that the craze for freshly brewed beer is building up in towns such as Chandigarh, Panchkula and Mohali.
File Photo: Amritanshu enjoys his favorite beverage
Interview with Amritanshu Agrawal
On the occasion of the launch of his next microbrewery The Great Bear at Chandigarh, AlphaDigest was fortunate enough to secure an exclusive interview with Amritanshu Agrawal, and we’ve tried to understand the man’s passion for beer and breweries, as much as a conversation permits.
1AlphaDigest: How old were you when you had your first sip of beer and how was the experience back then?
Amritanshu Agrawal: I was merely 20 years old when I had my first sip of Heineken. Though I hated the taste and threw it after my first sip, the sheer happiness of tasting my first beer, was exhilarating to say the least.
2AlphaDigest: What brands of beer do you generally enjoy (other than your own brews)?
3AlphaDigest: When did you first start brewing your own beer? Who/What inspired you to do so?
Amritanshu Agrawal: It was 5 years back when I opened my first microbrewery ‘Hops n Grains’, that I started brewing. Our master-brewer Dr Cariapa inspired me to brew on my own, and after the first few batches that I brewed, I realized that this is something I really wanted to learn and turn into an industry because I loved doing it.
4AlphaDigest: To your knowledge/In your opinion, how beneficial is beer, compared to other consumable forms of alcohol?
Amritanshu Agrawal: Beer, with its low alcohol content is quite different from regular alcoholic drinks. Drinking freshly brewed beer reduces one’s overall consumption of alcohol, as it has a lot of macro and micro bi-nutrients. This phenomenon has contributed to the christening of freshly brewed beer as liquid-bread.
5AlphaDigest: What’s the biggest challenge that you’ve faced while setting up a Microbrewery?
Amritanshu Agrawal: Both the liquor and hospitality industries involve a lot of licensing work, so the first and most definitely the biggest hurdle that I faced while setting up a Microbrewery, was to get the required licenses which impact the viability of a good place.
Additionally, internal challenges such as training brewers right from scratch, and maintaining a functional overview of the plant without additional support was another challenge that I had to face. Suddenly, I knew I had to be on top of the technical know-how of breweries, the inherent machinery, the kitchen layout, as well as chilling plants on my own.
6AlphaDigest: Do you have any word of advice for aspiring brewers out there? (Market behavior/ Entrepreneurial advice/Tips and tricks)
Amritanshu Agrawal: Brewing is an art and a science put together; it isn’t about what you might’ve learnt at school. Brewing is an all-out activity, involving tons of passion. If you’re passionate, go for it. That being said, venturing into your own enterprise comes with its own set of preset challenges. Patience eventually turns into a tool, rather than an instinct. Things will almost never work out the way you want them to, but that’s okay. And challenges are nothing but giant pieces of the puzzle that you need to sort out. Stay calm and keep working toward your goals. Lastly, always underestimate your revenue model and plan for higher expenses.