Brightly lit interiors, trendy pop music and plenty of open space, the new avatar of Independence Brewing Company (IBC) in Pune’s Kalyani Nagar, looks more like a premium restaurant than a casual microbrewery. Having opened in its current location in March, the 14,000 sq feet space, unveiled its new look last weekend. The makeover aims to give a contemporary feel to the craft beer experience, while focusing on creating an inclusive space for women, elderly guests and pet parents.
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“We are trying to replicate the German Biergarten (an outdoor area where you are served beer and food), which gives a feeling of community and ensure women feel safe to spend time here,” says Siddhartha Singh, IBC’s director of sales and marketing.
The craft beer offering, which is the main attraction of any brewery, has been overhauled. “We have created lighter and sweeter beers to suit the Indian palate. These are easy to drink and you don’t feel heavy. The idea is for people to chat and have a good time, rather than get drunk,” says Singh.
While the selection of classic wits, ciders and ales remain untouched, as it comprises majority sales, the seasonal beers have eclectic flavours on offer. The California Fanboi, a cream lager, or the Oryza rice lager or even the Brazilian lager Feliz Limon are all light, refreshing and works great as day-time drinks. What stood out though was the chocolate stout, Ixacacao HD, served on nitro. The chocolatey bitterness of the beer is worth giving a shot at least once.
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The food, meanwhile, is a mix of multiple cuisines, that doesn’t overpower the flavourful beers; there is enough variety for vegetarians. The microbrewery has also expanded its brewery plant from its previous 2 lakh capacity to 5 lakh a year, Singh adds.
To ensure the space works for all age groups, three areas have been demarcated with each having a distinct vibe. The ‘C’ section that makes for the entrance of IBC is a semi-open air space designed for music gigs and events. The middle ‘B’ section has a lounge-bar vibe with plush sofas, pool table and adequate space for people to dance. And the rear ‘I’ section, closest to the kitchen, is another huge semi-open area that gives a relaxed, Sunday-brunch kind of feel. All three sections have their own independent music and beer dispensers, Singh explains.
While there are many microbreweries in Pune, few make a guest feel comfortable enough to bring along elderly family members to enjoy a glass of beer together. IBC may have hit that sweet spot by catering to the young at heart, irrespective of age or gender.
This reflects in the new logo of IBC. While the old logo was the head of a bull, the new one has four fists of hands, and an IBC spokesperson describes it as a call for revolution of togetherness.