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Posted on Wed, Apr 11, 2012 : 5:58 a.m.

India expansion: Arbor Brewing Co. owners push back opening of first international location

By Lizzy Alfs

Beer lovers in Bangalore, India, will have to wait a few more months to see the first international Arbor Brewing Co. location open, the owners say.

Owners Matt and Rene Greff, who also own Ypsilanti’s Corner Brewery, recently returned from a three-month trip to India, where they hoped to oversee the opening of the brewpub in February.


Matt Greff, Rene Greff, and Gaurav Sikka toast the birth of Arbor Brewing Co. India Ltd. in Bangalore in October 2009.

Photo courtesy of Matt Greff

But due to construction delays and issues related to importing the raw materials to make the beer, the opening of the brewpub is going to be a “multi-phased process,” Rene said.

The Greffs are opening the India location in a partnership with University of Michigan graduate Gaurav Sikka, who’s from Bangalore.

Under the deal with Sikka, the Greffs retain a 5 percent ownership stake in Arbor Brewing Co., India Ltd. They are also serving as consultants on the project.

Rene said they have hired a chef and have the first draft of the menu nailed down. The brewery equipment, which they designed, is about 90 percent completed.

Although Rene doesn’t have a timeline for the opening of India’s Arbor Brewing Co., she said they plan to return to Bangalore once the following conditions are met: construction is completed, a general manager is hired, and the brewery equipment and raw materials for the beer are on-site.

At that point, the Greffs will return with an engineer, who will oversee the installation of the brewery, and the head brewer from Ann Arbor’s Arbor Brewing Co. The goal would then be to open in six to eight weeks.

Rene said the Arbor Brewing Co. in India will be strikingly similar to the Ann Arbor location, with a comparable menu and feel.

The recipes will just be altered a little with different spices and locally available products. For instance, Arbor Brewing Co.’s “Strawberry Blonde” beer in Ann Arbor will be a “Mango Blonde” in India.

Although there are far fewer brewpubs in India when compared to the United States, Rene said the interest is quickly growing.

“Up until a couple years ago, microbreweries were not legal in India,” she said. “So basically, India is in the same place the U.S. was in the late '70s.”

She added: “The ones that have already opened are doing incredibly well and there has been this amazing explosion in the industry.”

Once the location opens, the Greffs will monitor the brewpub’s finances each month and make a trip back to India at least once a year to audit the operation and attend a board meeting.

Rene said Sikka’s plan is to open this location, and then eventually franchise the concept.

Lizzy Alfs is a business reporter for Reach her at 734-623-2584 or email her at Follow her on Twitter at


Wolf's Bane

Thu, Apr 12, 2012 : 12:16 a.m.

They, ABC, support Snyder and his Administration with massive campaign contributions.


Thu, Apr 12, 2012 : 6:17 p.m.

Awesome, another reason head in and shine up the bar with my elbows! Good to see people supporting people that want some changes in the way taxes are used in the state.


Wed, Apr 11, 2012 : 6:47 p.m.

Perhaps a $15k donation to local Indian officials might speed up their plans a bit. Maybe buy themselves a spot on the Liquor Control Advisory Rules Committee of Bangalore?

rusty shackelford

Wed, Apr 11, 2012 : 7:06 p.m.

Indeed, companies doing business in India have long known they need a larger than average budget in the "miscellaneous" column...


Wed, Apr 11, 2012 : 1:47 p.m.

Possible beer titles include Bangla Brown Ale Slumdog IPA Sacred Animal Coconut Porter Ypsi Gypsy Imperial IPA India Majic Farm Like Product etc


Wed, Apr 11, 2012 : 3:36 p.m.

How about "They took our JERBS IPA!!"?


Wed, Apr 11, 2012 : 3:22 p.m.

In case you did't hear, Sacred Cow IPA (USA) = Raging Elephant IPA (India).


Wed, Apr 11, 2012 : 11:42 a.m.

Will I have to go to India to get some Mango Blonde? Damn...

David Bardallis

Wed, Apr 11, 2012 : 2:53 p.m.

Matt and Rene told me they expect to have the Indian beers on tap here from time to time, too. They served some of them, including the Mango Blonde, at a "going away" event right before their trip.


Wed, Apr 11, 2012 : 12:57 p.m.

My thoughts exactly! I'm very intrigued by the mango blonde.