Kudix Mug Holder of the MonthMeet the Three Musketeers of Toit—Mohan, Gautam and Santosh, our Kudix Mug Holders.

At Toit, our customers have always been our primary focus. They’re the ones who bring life to the place, create memories and end up giving the place its familiar, friendly vibe. And there are so many different kinds of people who come through our doors daily, that we wanted to get to know their stories.

The Kudix Mug Holder of the Month is our little way of celebrating our customers, and their unique stories.

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Put together a family inherited Industry owner, a retired oil field expert who has travelled from Syria to Iraq, and everything in between in his quest for oil, and a man who has been a part of one of the best hotels in the world, located in the city of ultimate opulence. Sounds like the plot for an action spy thriller? Actually they’re just our Mug Holders for the month. Hailing from wildly different backgrounds, but united by their almost patriotic love for beer, say hello to the men who are best described as the Three Musketeers of Toit—Mohan, Gautam and Santosh. One for all, all for beer!

Do you have any idea why all three of you made it to Mug Holder status?
For all the wrong reasons we think! But our wives are so impressed with us. At least they’re going to be seeing our photos somewhere.

So how do the three of you know each other?
Mohan: Gautam and I play tennis together. I met him a long, long time ago at a club in 1988. We’ve been drinking together ever since!

And Santosh is my younger brother, retired from hotel industry in Dubai. We’re all from Bangalore though.

From Dubai, but a regular at Toit?
Santosh: I am retired now, so I keep visiting. My wife and son are in Dubai. I used to manage a pub in Dubai as well. They know us here because we’re very regular, we visit almost two times a week.

Mohan: I stay pretty close, just about 100 metres from here, and he stays with me when he’s visiting. So this is like my backyard, I can walk in anytime I want.

Gautam: I stay in Ulsoor, so that’s close by as well.

How did Toit end up becoming a hangout spot for all three of you?
Santosh: This really is one of the best places in town. We come here really often, when I’m in town. Too often maybe!
We like the place, and the staff is very friendly.

We come here really often, when I’m in town. Too often maybe!

Gautam: Santosh is from Dubai, and recently retired from one of the oldest and best hotels there. He was working there for close to 30 years.  It’s a world class place, with the best of liquor and food. So he knows what world-class quality is all about. So for Santosh to like this place, it’s because the food and beer are good, along with a really nice ambience.

Do you go to a lot of brewpubs together?
Mohan: Yes. We go very often. But we tend to prefer this place for the beer and ambience. We usually sit in the ground floor, because the sense of openness there is fantastic. Plus the music isn’t too loud either. Lots of positives.

Gautam: Plus, because there are different levels, we can bring our families here as well. The different section cater to different age groups too.

Do you come here often with you families as well?
Mohan: Yes, we do! When I can’t get these guys to come, then I have to call my better half!

Have the three of you always been beer lovers?
Gautam: Yes, we have! That’s an interesting question because the concept of draught beer in India kind of started when we were in college. Earlier we used to just get bottled beer and have that. After that they started the pitcher concept, where they gave it fresh from the tap. It was something of a novelty and we used to really enjoy it. The first place to do that was somewhere in MG road. So for a couple of years we did that. And that concept went on, and is still there.

…the concept of draught beer in India kind of started when we were in college.

Mohan: When this place (Toit) started to come up, we used to walk by and be impressed by the fact that a brewpub was coming up here. We had been to brewpubs outside of the country, and for Bangalore it was something really good. It took a while for them to start brewing, but when they did, it was something great. Fresh beer to drink, close to your house—it was something very different.

Has it made a big difference to your collective drinking style?
Mohan: Oh yes! Absolutely! I have absolutely given up on bottled beer.

Gautam: Now when we go to another place, we see that there is no consistency in the beer they serve. But in a place like this, it’s always served chilled and nice, and we can expect a certain quality.
Especially after a good game of tennis, we enjoy coming here and having a nice, consistently chilled beer.
And we make sure we always ask for a cold glass! When they wash beer glasses, they do it with warm water. And if the glass isn’t a cold one, it ends up screwing up the beer. We make it a point to ask them to get our beer in a cold glass. Although the beer here is great, there is always scope for improvement.

Santosh, since you’ve been handling a similar industry in Dubai for so many years now, what would you say is the big difference between the drinking culture here and there?
Santosh: There is a big difference! Since we don’t have microbreweries there, all the beer is imported and the best of the best are readily available. And they maintain the quality very strictly there. The culture there is really good because the best of the best is available.

Gautam: Also, it is very disciplined there. Places are open till 3 am or longer, and it’s not like you can just go there, drink and misbehave. People are conscious about social norms there, so even though they drink, they know how to conduct themselves. And the staff in most places there ensure that you’re absolutely safe. They get you a cab and make sure you get to where you need to safely.

Mohan: You get all kinds of people there, but I think somewhere at the back of their minds they know that they cannot misbehave. Which I think is good!

Santosh: Actually out there, and I think in a lot of Western countries too, there is a rule that allows the bartender to stop serving someone if he or she is too drunk. It’s a good practice. I don’t think that will work here though. There will definitely be name dropping and anger.

Do the three of you travel a lot together?
Yes, we do. Quite often.

Any particular beer you tasted and liked on those travels?
Mohan: I recently tried the German Paulaner beer. And I really liked it. And immediately I started comparing it with the Toit Weiss.

…recently tried the German Paulaner beer…immediately compared it with the Toit Weiss.

So, back to the start. Have you been coming to Toit since it opened?
Oh yes! We would come and drink the bottled beer, and keep asking everyone when the brewery would start. For one year, we kept asking the same question.

Since you’ve been coming here for a while now, there must be some memorable memories!
Mohan: Yeah! When Gautam broke the glass!

Details, please!
Gautam: That was the first time ever! We come so regularly and that has never happened before! You see, the table was a really shaky one. That’s the story we’ve agreed to go with anyway!

What about during your travels?
Santosh: Abroad, I think there have been many. Especially on days when I started drinking at 2pm and stopped only at 10pm. And I’m pretty sure they were all memorable, if only I could remember!

Gautam: Afternoon till night? That’s ok. Sometimes he only finishes the next morning.

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Do you remember the first beer you all tasted here?
It was the Weiss. I think we tasted the Dark Knight, and also had the Tintin for a while, but the Weiss has always been our favourite. It’s got a unique taste of it’s own.

Gautam: I’ve tried a whole bunch of beers, and some really good ones in Germany, and I would say that the Weiss is great! For India to get a beer like this coming out of here, is really good.

Do you guys have favourites here?
Yes! The Weiss is our absolute favourite. And in foods, we’ve pretty much gone through the entire menu. But whenever we walk in we definitely order some garlic bread. The burgers and salads are especially great, and pizzas too, if you’re a big group.

I was working in Iraq in an oil field for a British company.

You’re like the Three Musketeers of Beer Drinking. Do you make these plans often?
Mohan: Oh yeah! Just the other day, we went to watch American Sniper, went to another pub, had a beer there, and then ended up at Toit to finish our day. The problem is we all have retired and we don’t have a job!

Gautam: Hey! I still have a job!

Mohan, since you mentioned retiring, what did you do?
Mohan: Actually I’ve just come back from Iraq. I was working in Iraq in an oil field for a British company. I’ve always been in the oil industry. Before this, I had also worked in Libya and Syria.

Syria was for 14 years, and I never had any problems when it came to my drinking. Might have even been over-drinking there, come to think about it. Beer was available all the time!
Iraq was a completely different story. Liquor isn’t allowed there. It used to be for a while, but not anymore. It was good in a way. But I used to always look forward to taking a flight from Basra, landing in Dubai and having a cold pint of beer. I wouldn’t even talk to anyone! I’d go straight for the beer!

So, any adventures while you were there?
Mohan: Actually, the first time I went to Iraq, I was picked up from the airport and was taken to an American camp.
I was staying in the British Embassy. They gave us accommodation within the camp, because in those days we couldn’t stay anywhere else.
This was about three years ago.
Anyway, the camp was surrounded by really thick walls, about one metre in thickness, and on the inside, there were comfortable bunkers.

Apparently a shoulder-held rocket was fired at the camp.

These walls could handle any attack, and while I was staying there, that was tested. I remember waking up one morning, and someone asked me whether I heard a sound earlier that night. And I hadn’t. Apparently a shoulder-held rocket was fired at the camp. It didn’t hit the Embassy, but it hit the wall outside. This happened a couple of times!

That must have been a stressful time.
Mohan: Oh! I never get stressed! I would have probably stayed back if I was younger, but I wanted to enjoy my beer. And my money!

In the thirty odd years you’ve been drinking beer together, have you seen a shift in the drinking culture?
Earlier, they used to have only these small bars. The good thing now, is that you find more women at bars.
It has become a lot more relaxed and the attitude has become more inclusive, which is a good thing.

In a place like Toit, women can come, have drinks, chill out, do whatever they want and no one would give a second glance. It wasn’t like this a few decades ago. And I think this is good exposure for men also. It’s good that they’re seeing more and more women in places like these, and so it’s not a shocking thing anymore. Which it really shouldn’t be.

People are more aware now, even in terms of beer drinking, and have developed a refined taste thanks to all the variety available now!