The government has decided to allow restaurants to open microbreweries and sell fresh been in their premises. The 216th meeting of Industrial Promotion Board held under the chairmanship of Minister for Industry Mahesh Basnet on Friday approved the proposal to license microbreweries despite strong opposition from the private sector. The meeting has also approved a set of standards that microbreweries must follow.
These microbreweries can produce beer containing a maximum of 7 percent alcohol. Restaurants with a minimum of 20 seats will be allowed to install microbrewery plant in their premises after conducting Initial Environment Examination (IEE). They will be allowed to sell beer in their premises only. Similarly, they are allowed to brew a maximum of 2.5 million liters. Microbreweries are also required to install computerized billing system. Maheshwor Neupane, director general of Department of Industry (DoI), said the decision to open microbreweries might help bring more tourists to the country as foreigners prefer freshly brewed beer over bottled one.
Though the proposal to license microbreweries was tabled at the board about a year ago, the board had not been able to take any decision due to differences among board members on taxation modality and environmental concerns.” “The taxation modality will be finalized by Inland Revenue Department (IRD). Similarly, we have made microbreweries responsible for treatment and proper management of solid and liquid waste produced by the”,” Neupane said, adding that they would issue ‘brewpub licenses’ to restaurants interested to run microbreweries.
Microbreweries produce beer in small quantity, using less space for fermenting the grain and avoiding use of preservatives. Food technologists also claim that craft beer has more health benefits than bottled beer. The standards finalized by the board states that microbrewery production should be monitored by food technologists. They aren’t allowed to bottle beer and send it to market. The government has also barred foreign direct investment in microbreweries.
DoI sources told Republica that representatives from Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industries (FNCCI) and Confederation of Nepalese Industries (CNI) had strongly opposed the proposal to open licensing of microbreweries. Microbreweries can be opened with an investment of Rs 15 to Rs 20 million in a space of around 1,000 sq ft.