Taking the Plunge
Beer has been an integral part of my life ever since I had my first sip as a teenager. The love of Craft Beer was forged during my days spent at the University of Arizona, Tucson.
I had the good fortune of meeting several Europeans who introduced me to quality brews and this was also the time when microbreweries had started to pop up in the Tucson area. I vividly remember trying Stone Brewing’s Arrogant Bastard Ale in 1998 and thinking — “WOW what on earth is this and look at that label”. Besides all the German Beers I loved drinking like Erdinger and Paulaner, I also tried Samuel Adams, Sierra Nevada & New Belgium.
After my stint in the US, I headed back to Qatar, where I grew up and then home to Bangalore, India. The city has been a pub capital for decades — one of the first cities in the country to have offered draft beer on tap and one where pubs can be found dotted all over. In a country that has been lager dominated, finding imported beers was a challenge in 2003. I had to settle for Indian made lager and slowly witnessed brands such as Fosters, Castle, Carlsberg, Tuborg, Heineken, Budweiser, Miller and Peroni make their way into the Indian market towards the mid-latter part of the decade. All of these brands set up their own breweries or went into partnership with local breweries.
I moved to Canada in 2009 and stayed there till 2014, learning how to fly airplanes. In my spare time, I served on the consumer panel for Molson Coors — taking part in focus groups, testing products yet to go to market, feedback on product design and advertising campaigns. Sampling Craft Beer from several countries was my weekend ritual as well as attending brewery tours and educating myself about Beer.
I left Canada in the spring of 2014 and returned to Bangalore in India and this was perfect timing! In 2009, independent brewpubs started appearing in North India and in 2010 Bangalore saw two brewpubs open their doors — Toit and The Biere Club. Fast forward to today and you have 19, yes nineteen brewpubs operating in the city with many more scheduled to start brewing in the next 24 months.
There are several bloggers and food aficionados in this city but hardly anyone writes about Beer. Online reviews for brewpubs tend to focus on the food and most patrons stick to what their palate knows best — sweet lagers, lighter bodied ales and a style that is the favorite at almost all the brewpubs in town — Hefeweizens and Belgian Wits.
I launched Tales Of Froth in Feb 2015 after doing almost a year of research — visiting brewpubs, sampling and networking with owners, brew masters and patrons. Initially I worked full time as an project management consultant then as territory manager but I quickly found that these activities prevented me from doing what I love the most — following the Beer Trail and being a Beer evangelist. Since the launch, I have run two successful Beer workshops and helped with Craft Beer events and visited breweries in other cities here, as well.
Quitting a full time job to follow your passion is not something new to me. I quit a well to do job in 2009 to become a pilot and I achieved my childhood dream. Unfortunately jobs in the industry are painfully hard to come by.
This time around though, I left an organization where people lacked vision and a lack of cohesion between departments resulted in a flawed marketing plan leading to unsatisfactory revenues. There was nothing but jealousy and calous remarks about my interest in Beer quickly soured my interest in the organization and I quit/got fired/whatever the heck you want to call it. One can only hope that someday these people get a life.
Taking the Plunge into Craft Beer & all things Beer has been a richly rewarding experience and as we approach 2016, I am confident that the best is yet to come and Hoppier Times await as Tales Of Froth grows its subscription base nationally and internationally.
Cheers to all my supporters, followers, mentors and soon to be fans! Always remember the pursuit of hoppiness is a road filled with adventures!
JJ The Keg | December 2015