Bira 91: IPA Pomelo—Creative Zest and Global Success

By Our Reporter
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Known as the grandfather of grapefruit, the pomelo is a sweet and zesty citrus species that is full of flavour. Legend originally identified an early colonial settler, Captain Shaddock as the man who brought seeds of the first ‘true’ citrus species from South East Asia to the Caribbean. Early attempts to plant these seeds in Barbados created a hybrid of pomelo and sweet orange—the grapefruit. While pomelo is now grown across the world, its production has remained largely confined to Asia. They hold a special place in many Asian cultures; they are used as altar fruit for ancestor worship and are widely considered to be a good luck charm.

Today, the pomelo flourishes in groves across North Eastern and Southern India. Given its history, cultural significance, and evolution, it is clear why award-winning craft beer company, Bira 91 has decided to make the pomelo the star of their new IPA.

Bold, playful, and refreshingly modern, Bira 91 has established a strong identity and is now one of India’s most popular craft beers. Founded in 2015 by entrepreneur, Ankur Jain, the brand was initially designed to appeal to urban millennials with its strong portfolio of flavourful beers, dynamic branding, and a hint of mischievous rebellion. The brand has experienced unprecedented success over the past five years. With its headquarters in New Delhi, the company now operates four breweries in India and has operations in nine countries across the world. There are eight different, delicious beers in its portfolio that reflect the high quality and distinct taste Bira is known for. Jain signed a five-year sponsorship deal with the International Cricket Council in November 2018, giving the company unprecedented exposure to a new, thirsty market. Recently, Bira 91 won five medals across a range of categories at the European Beer Challenge. Adjudicated by Europe’s Leading Beer Buyers, the Challenge gives brands a chance to compete against leading companies as well as sought-after global exposure.

Deepak Sinha of Bira’s Marketing Team explains that the triple blind tasting method used to determine the European Beer Challenge means that “the judges are not allowed any information about the samples they taste. They cannot see the bottle. They do not know what country it is from. They have no indication of price point. Plus, they do not discuss their thoughts together.” The medals are testament to Jain’s dedication and keen understanding of his market.

Jain has often discussed his passion for experimenting with flavours and giving consumers “something they’ve never tasted before”. Bira 91’s newest, limited offering is the aforementioned IPA Pomelo, a fresh and tropical ale infused with a zesty hint of citrus. This Indian Pale Ale is medium-bodied and dry with an ABV of 4.5%, making it a perfect sessional beer. Brewed with toasted caramel malts it has a subtle nutty flavour that balances the tropical hops and pomelo aromas. The IPA Pomelo also won a double gold medal in the 2020 European Beer Challenge, reflecting the market’s thirst for experimentation and flavour.

Bira 91’s IPA with pomelo is refreshing and easy-drinking. It also pairs beautifully with spicy food, making it a true all-rounder. Just as the pomelo has been nurtured to grow and evolve across the world, the company’s global reach is expanding by the day. As Ankur Kain succinctly puts it: Bira 91 is “Imagined in India, for the world.”


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