Grin and Beer it
Forbes India|February 26, 2021
How fledgling beer brand Simba survived a torrid pandemic and summer last year by focusing on South India
Rajiv Singh

Prabhtej Singh Bhatia was blighted with 80/20 eyesight. You can’t blame him though. When the alcoholic beverage segment in India is intoxicated with heady phrases like ‘make it large’ and ‘big is better’ one usually tends to look at the bigger picture, oops the bottle. The focus invariably is on 80, not 20. The legendary Italian economist, sociologist, and philosopher— Vilfredo Federico Damaso Pareto— however, thought otherwise. The 80/20 rule propounded by him states that 80 percent of outcomes or outputs come from 20 percent of causes or inputs. But that was way back in the 19th century.

Cut to 2020. Last April, when the four-year-old craft beer business of Bhatia got hammered by the pandemic, the 29-year-old understood the essence of Pareto’s Principle in more than one way. 80/20 was playing in front of the eyes of the co-founder of Simba.

Let’s start with the first one. Over 80 percent of the revenues of Simba came from three states—Chhattisgarh, Delhi and Assam. What this means is that most of the sales happen during summer. Unfortunately, last year, post lockdown, it was a summer of discontent for Bhatia. For Simba, the top three states were a disaster. Business hit rock bottom. The harsh summer season also taught another 80/20 lesson. Simba had failed to expand to South India or outside North India over its four-year journey. Geographical concentration meant huge trouble. Bhatia learnt it the hard way.

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