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Case
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Reference no. 399-160-1
Authors: Robert Brown
Published by: Cranfield School of Management
Published in: 1999
Length: 14 pages
Data source: Field research

Abstract

This is the third of a three-case series (399-158-1, 399-159-1 and 399-160-1) which describes the start up and early growth problems of the Cobra Beer Company based in London, UK. Part (A) details the origin of the business from the experiences of the founder/entrepreneur Karan Bilimoria, whilst studying in the UK in the late 1980s and dabbling in import/export items from India. Financed solely by bank overdraft and small business loans, Karan succeeded in developing a market niche for his specially brewed non-fizzy beer in Indian restaurants, so much so that by 1994 he was presented with the opportunity to sell his brand to another entrepreneur, well known and proven in imported premium beer brand distribution. Part (B) details the continued growth of Cobra Beer and focuses on the issues as to whether the beer should now be brewed and bottled in the UK, rather than in India, and whether this decision might affect its niche position in Indian restaurants. Part (C) concludes with the issue as to how Karan Bilimoria should confront a potentially catastrophic public relations (PR) crisis that affects Cobra in early 1998, as an unfortunate article in his PR magazine ''Tandoori'' enrages Indian restaurant waiters across the UK, threatening the main distribution channel of the fast growing Cobra brand. The data for the case has been obtained from collaboration and counselling assignments with the entrepreneur and from presentations he had made to business study classes. The teaching objectives include: (1) helping students to recognise opportunities and to understand the problems in starting a new business; and (2) to understand typical problems and how to overcome them in growing a small business (finance, marketing). A background note ''399-158-5'' is available to accompany this case series.
Location:
Industry:
Size:
30 employees, GBP2.5 million turnover
Other setting(s):
1989-1998

About

Abstract

This is the third of a three-case series (399-158-1, 399-159-1 and 399-160-1) which describes the start up and early growth problems of the Cobra Beer Company based in London, UK. Part (A) details the origin of the business from the experiences of the founder/entrepreneur Karan Bilimoria, whilst studying in the UK in the late 1980s and dabbling in import/export items from India. Financed solely by bank overdraft and small business loans, Karan succeeded in developing a market niche for his specially brewed non-fizzy beer in Indian restaurants, so much so that by 1994 he was presented with the opportunity to sell his brand to another entrepreneur, well known and proven in imported premium beer brand distribution. Part (B) details the continued growth of Cobra Beer and focuses on the issues as to whether the beer should now be brewed and bottled in the UK, rather than in India, and whether this decision might affect its niche position in Indian restaurants. Part (C) concludes with the issue as to how Karan Bilimoria should confront a potentially catastrophic public relations (PR) crisis that affects Cobra in early 1998, as an unfortunate article in his PR magazine ''Tandoori'' enrages Indian restaurant waiters across the UK, threatening the main distribution channel of the fast growing Cobra brand. The data for the case has been obtained from collaboration and counselling assignments with the entrepreneur and from presentations he had made to business study classes. The teaching objectives include: (1) helping students to recognise opportunities and to understand the problems in starting a new business; and (2) to understand typical problems and how to overcome them in growing a small business (finance, marketing). A background note ''399-158-5'' is available to accompany this case series.

Settings

Location:
Industry:
Size:
30 employees, GBP2.5 million turnover
Other setting(s):
1989-1998

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