One of Bengaluru’s popular breweries ‘Toit’ is everyone’s favourite. We got chatty with their co-founder Arun George and figured out a lot of things about the place including the right pronunciation of ‘Toit’.
If you live in Bengaluru or have ever visited the city, one of the best ‘tourist destinations’ to visit other than Vidhana Soudha and Lal Bagh is Toit. Located on 100 feet road in Indiranagar, this popular brewery was established 8 years ago when a few friends came up with the idea of starting a brewery in their hometown.
Toit is hands down our favourite hangout because of its friendly vibe, top notch beer and mouth-watering food menu. No matter what time of the day it is, the place is bustling with people and good 90’s music.
So, what makes this place every localite’s top preference? We got chatty with Arun George who is one of the co-founders and unravelled the Toit story.
Everyone wants to know the correct pronunciation of “Toit” and what it means. Can you please tell us how you came up with this name?
It’s always been just ‘Toit’, a play on the word ‘Tight’. Being ‘Tight’ is a very South Indian way of conveying that someone is inebriated. The extent of inebriation can be further detailed..’Full Tight’ is when someone has probably had one too many! This term became wildly popular during our school/college days, especially after its usage in an Austin Powers movie.
So, we would use the word ‘Toit’ to describe anything that was awesome or cool, and we felt it would work well as the name for our beer & brewpub. Luckily, it stuck! I’m still very amused when people insist that it is pronounced ‘Twa’, which means ‘roof’ in French. I can understand the confusion, but can assure you that it was never anything as fancy. I found out what ‘Twa’ meant only after hearing our place being called this by other people!
How did you come up with the idea of starting a brewery?
My colleagues, Sibi and Mukesh, always had this idea of opening up a themed restaurant of sorts in Bangalore. This morphed into the brewery idea during my studying days in Singapore when Sibi and I would visit microbreweries there. I was not very happy in the corporate world and wanted to do something different. It started off with just a thought – ‘why the hell don’t we get good beer in Bangalore? Why can’t we do this there?’. The journey, for me at least, started from there.
Do you come from a business background in terms of family? What encouraged you to take this step?
Not really. My dad was part of a family business, and had a couple of small businesses of his own, but for me, it was the general lack of any real direction or purpose in the corporate set up that drove me to take the plunge into starting something totally different.
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Toit is a partnership, right? How did you convince your other partners to get on board with your idea?
As mentioned before, I wouldn’t say this was my idea alone. It’s almost like we were all gravitating towards this and the right circumstances at the right time brought us together. In hindsight, even roping in Glen, who is our fourth partner, and who came in with a wealth of experience in the food industry, seemed like a no-brainer and something that just happened very organically.
Can you tell us how you managed to come up with the capital to start Toit?
It was a struggle to start with. I borrowed from multiple sources as did my colleagues. Investments came in from friends & family as well. Probably not the ideal way to start a business, but am sure glad I’m here 8 years hence answering interview questions!
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Toit is one of our favourite places to hang out, yet sometimes, it’s really hard to get a table there. Tell us what makes Toit such a local favourite for Bangaloreans?
I guess it’s a combination of factors. We are all from Bangalore, so that definitely strikes a chord. Apart from the product and the space, there is a ‘vibe’ to the space that a lot of people relate to. A positive energy of sorts.
Given its popularity, do you plan on opening other branches in the city?
It’s taken us a while, but we’ve now been in Mumbai for just about a year, and we’re opening in Pune very soon.
Since Toit started, there have been a bunch of other breweries in the city, but none come close to what you guys have to offer in terms of beverage. There’s something special about the beer at Toit. No wonder people keep coming back. Tell us how you invented this secret formula!?
No secret formula as such. Just a very clear passion and direction in terms of doing whatever it takes to serve the best beer we possibly can. Whether it is our brewers, ingredients, equipment, there’s no compromises whatsoever there, and I guess this shows in the final product.
You’ve made some smart financial moves in your life. Starting Toit is proof. What financial advice would you give our readers from your experience?
I know this is for a blog on BankBazaar, and you would like some nifty financial advice from me, but I really do not consider myself qualified to give anyone financial advice. I took a chance, a big one, and with hard work and a bit of luck, it worked out alright!
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Do you have any learnings from your experience in terms of starting a business? Would you care to share that with our readers? Would you like to talk about any challenges you faced during this time?
Doing business in India is not easy and comes with its own set of unique challenges. Be aware of what you are getting into and what it takes to make things work. It can be hugely satisfying and hugely frustrating all at once. Be prepared to grind it out and stick with it. It is not going to be easy, but it will surely be one helluva ride!
What would Arun George be doing today if it weren’t for Toit? (Do you have any alternate career aspirations?)
No alternate career aspirations as such. But I love sports and I love nature and the outdoors, so I guess if I had to do something else tomorrow, I would probably try to do something there, not quite sure what though! But with our current expansion plans and exciting projects underway, all focus is on Toit for now!
It was such a pleasure talking to you, Arun. We wish you and your partners great success in your upcoming ventures. Until we meet again, Cheers!
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