Cobbling Together a Brewery - Mumbai Edition


The area north of the Crawford Market is like one never ending flea market, the wide streets give way to narrow alleyways crammed with rows of vendors. To this day it serves as a wholesale market for traders, middlemen and business owners, think of a cross between a Costco and La Rambla. This is the heart of ethnic Mumbai known as The Native Town in colonial times, the area is as old as the city itself and dates back to the late 17th century. The narrow lanes of this predominantly Muslim area, hemmed in by laundry-draped chawls, are a seething mass of people who bring the local traffic to a standstill.
A word of caution though, it is quite easy to get lost here in all the chaos and just the sheer number of people so I would recommend keeping track of where you are with Google maps. The closest railway station on the Central Line is Masjid Bandar and on the Western Line is Charni Road or Marine Lines. If you are driving it's really convenient to park at the pay-n-park on the west side of Crawford Market.
It's almost easy to miss the line of shops behind the rows and rows of stalls on the sidewalk but this is where the best deals are. I miss the convenience of shopping on Amazon from the comfort of my chair but it was quite fun walking in and out of shops finding out prices instead of closing and opening tabs on a browser. There's still a glorious lack of technology and e-commerce in India and although that is changing fast, it'll be quite a while before it becomes pervasive.
Most of the stuff that we are interested in is located in the Kalbadevi, Bhuleshwar, Masjid Bandar, Crawford Market and Kumbharwada neighborhoods. Most streets are lined with shops that deal with similar kind of things so it makes 'shopping around' quite easy. Here is a rough guide on where to find what in the maze.


As a general FYI, all the shops carry Chinese goods as well so I would double check before purchasing. Nothing against Chinese products, especially as a budget conscious homebrewer it really goes a long way but as always, you get what you pay for. I've listed down the places where I ended up making purchases from but you are welcome to shop around, in fact I would even recommend it. It is always better to call ahead before dropping in just to make sure they are open because quite honestly it's really difficult to keep track of all the public holidays in India, speaking from experience here.

Kalbadevi Area
Brew Pots
The little strip of Kalbadevi Road just around the corner from the restaurant Surti Veg is lined with shops selling cookware, utensils and restaurant supplies, shown in blue on the map as Cookware, Utensils. Shop around for brew pots, strainers, brewing spoons, etc. here. I got my brewpot from a restaurant supply store called Amthalal Sankalchand. I purchased a heavy duty 26L stock pot with lid manufactured by Avon (link) which is all stainless steel. I was looking for a strong build quality like a Megapot, which is durable and induction compatible and the Avon stock pot is just as good. It comes in sizes ranging from 6L all the way upto 169L which gives you plenty of options to play around with. If you would like to personally inspect the build quality like I did, you should be able to find it along with the entire range of their products at their showroom in Versova listed on the website. I found the place I purchased it from had it marked down quite a bit from the prices listed in their product catalog at the time, but YMMV.
Amthalal Sankalchand
Shop no. 81, Kansara Chawl, Kalbadevi Road, Mumbai 400002
+91 22 22423819, +91 22 22427422
Pumps, Appliances
Pumps and other electrical appliances like induction plates and heat sticks (aka immersion heaters) can be found in the Lohar Chawl area, marked in yellow on the map. It might be a little tricky to navigate around here with the barrage of sidewalk vendors and it's quite easy to miss the shops behind them. In my experience, all the shopkeepers are pretty knowledgeable and if you don't know exactly what you are looking for, as long as you are able to translate your requirements to them, like rated temp, flow rate, etc. they are happy to help you. Although I ended up ordering a Chinese pump online, I did zero in on a particular self priming model which was food safe and rated for boiling wort temperatures.
Kheraj Pumps & Tools
93, Lohar Chawl, Chandabhai Building, Mumbai 400002
+91 22 22004786, +91 22 22086079
Bottle Caps and Capper
This place is in one of the lanes right opposite Crawford market and they carry all kinds of packaging material and supplies.  I ended up picking a bench top capper and bottle caps in bulk for a really reasonable rate.
M.M.M. Buxabhoy & Co.
141-A, Sarang Street, Near Crawford Market, 
Mumbai, Maharashtra 400003
Hardware, Tools, Fittings
Nagdevi St and Abdul Rehman St (marked in green) have you covered for pretty much everything when it comes to hardware. Here's a Google maps pin for easy reference since the street addresses aren't mapped yet. I got all my fittings (camlocks, ball valves, hose barbs, hose clamps, hose nipples, hoses, etc.) from Nagdevi St. Not everybody stocks camlocks and quick disconnect fittings but there are quite a few engineering supply shops that carry these, I got mine from Engineering Tools & Equipment. I cannot be grateful enough to Murtaza, he was extremely helpful in figuring out the hardware parts looking just at my amateurish hand drawn sketches and pictures. These guys literally are your one stop shop for everything.
For all your hoses, you can either go to Mahavir Mill Stores or A.M.A. Husain & Co. Both of them are pretty good and deal in industrial quality hoses. I found a slightly better price for silicon hoses at Husain's so I ended up going down that route.
There's a Stanley tools showroom on Nagdevi St as well and it would be a good idea to pick up an adjustable wrench, or two for the fittings. A simple hacksaw is also quite indispensable for quick DIY jobs around the house.
Engineering Tools & Equipment
68/70, Nagdevi St, Mumbai 400003
+91 22 23429006, +91 22 23432276
Mahavir Mill Stores
168, Nagdevi St, Mumbai 400003
+91 22 23426672, +91 22 23436811
A.M.A. Husain & Co.
29, Nagdevi St, Mumbai 400003
+91 22 23441991, +91 22 23425988
Other alternatives
Hamco Engineering Works
201, Nagdevi St, Ground Floor, Mumbai 400003
+91 22 23444804
Fairfield Engineering
204, Nagdevi St, Mumbai 400003
+91 22 23401568, +91 22 66336259
Lab Equipment, Chemicals
Princess St is hands down the best place for any lab equipment, reagents, chemicals, etc. Hindustan Trading Co. is where I get all my stuff for the home yeast lab.
Hindustan Trading Co.
Peerbhoy Bldg, 91, Princess St, Mumbai 400002
+91 22 22088209

Masjid Bandar Area
Glassware, Carboys
The neighborhood just to the east of Mohammad Ali Road has a bunch of vendors dealing in glass ware. I was able to find 10L jars, gallon jars, mason jars, pint jars, glassware, carboys, and pretty much every other thing that you can think of here. Ocean is a leading brand of glassware in India and they make some pretty good glassware for serving beer like pilsner glasses, english pint glasses, goblets, etc.

Bhuleshwar Area
Pipes, Metals, Sheets
Gulal Wadi in the Bhuleshwar neighborhood is a bit of a walk further north from the Kalbadevi area and is filled with shops dealing in metal pipes, sheets, joints, etc. Sonal Metal is right in the big intersection, at the Gulal Wadi Circle roundabout and I found the best deals for copper pipes here. I'm planning to build a counter flow chiller so I ended up buying almost 50' of 3/8" copper pipe along with a couple of copper tees.
Sonal Metal
7, Kikabhoy Mansion, 8/Kika St, Ground Floor, Gulal Wadi, Null Bazar Junction, Mumbai 400004
+91 22 23463132, +91 22 66362284
Kumbharwada
The final stop on this list is 6th Kumbharwada, which is lined with fabrications shops. The beauty of this place is that if ever there's a custom part or a fitting that you want then it is quite reasonably priced to get it machined here. I was struggling with connecting the hose to my kitchen faucet because of non-standard thread pitch on the faucet so I had to get a nut machined with matching threads. There's also welders and machinists here so if you're making any modifications to the brew pot then this is the place.
A little trivia, the area around Kumbharwada is called Kamathipura which is Mumbai's oldest and Asia's second largest red-light district.

This list is a work in progress and I'll update it with new sources as and when I find them. Sourcing parts is really one big treasure hunt and it's quite fun and rewarding at the end of it. Be sure to grab a meal (thali) at the Shree Thaker Bhojanalaya if you're in the area!




4 comments:

  1. Very detailed post and super helpful! Thanks for sharing.
    "Sourcing Brewing Equipment for Dummies" :-)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Very helpful post indeed, will surely drop in there whenever I am in Mumbai.

    ReplyDelete
  3. This is pretty awesome. Need to do this in Bangalore or find someone who has!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are welcome to write a Bangalore version of this :)

      Delete

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