He was once a technology expert, designing microchips in the US. Ajay Nagarajan then discovered the joys of brewing and it is now his magnificent obsession.
From microchips to saying cheers
For 15 years Ajay Nagarajan was in Texas in the US, a technology expert working with microchips. Along the way, he’d taken to home-brewing, a fairly popular pastime over there and something he'd come to enjoy. Over time, Ajay became increasingly captivated by the art and the science of taking a few ingredients and turning them into the most fabulous brews. "What started off as a hobby became a serious pursuit,” says Ajay. He then went on to work in micro-breweries and realised it was more than a passing interest for him. “I knew even then that I would take up brewing someday,” he says.
Ajay then signed up for various courses in the making of beer, as he became increasingly more passionate about the process. “It was about following a dream. You could even say it became an obsession,” he says. Chasing the dream, he returned to India in 2011, determined to start his own brewery. His move was also propelled by the fact that licences to start microbreweries were beginning to be issued at that time.
A place for a passion
“That’s also when I connected with Kamal Sagar of the Total Environment Group who was looking to create a space for music performances,” Ajay says. They joined hands to create Windmills Craftworks in Whitefield. More swish than your average brewpub, it is a stylish music venue, microbrewery and houses two restaurants.
While his return to India and his change of career was driven purely by a passion for brewing, Ajay now finds himself playing a hands-on role in running Windmills. “I spend a lot of time managing the business and handling day-to-day operations,” says Ajay, the brewer-turned restaurateur.
Even though running the business demands a great deal of his time and energy, Ajay says he never forgets why he’s doing what he’s doing. Underpinning everything is his love of brewing, the art and the science of it.
Turning a passion into a paycheck
Balancing his passion for brewing with the demands of the restaurant business, Ajay is happy with the way his venture has shaped up. “We’re into our third year of operations and looking to expand to other regions, anywhere where microbrewery licences are easily available, like Maharashtra, Haryana and Telengana,” he says. Early on, Ajay may have had questions about leaving a high-paying job to dive into untested waters. ‘But,” he says, “I was following a dream and nothing else mattered. There are sacrifices to make when you become an entrepreneur, but that’s the only way to do it.”
Chasing the dream
For Ajay, it all comes down to having a dream and having the ability to chase it. “It’s always worth taking the leap and following that dream,” he says. “Even in the unlikely event that the end results aren’t favourable, the journey will always be rewarding.”
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Image Credits: windmillscraftworks.com
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