Sitting in a Delhi bar he reflects:"My family didn't support me financially or morally when I started. I think my father is disappointed that neither my brother nor I went into the army and he was concerned that I was going against all odds because there was a recession and so many big beer brands in the market."
Up until that point, in 1989, he had followed a more conventional path, moving from India to study in England when he was 20. But, after qualifying as a chartered accountant with Ernst and Young and graduating in law, he went on a polo tour to India and returned to England with a consignment of polo sticks to sell. He quickly gained listings in exclusive sports shops and Harrods because of a ban on Argentinian sticks.
Bilimoria decided to take the plunge and started importing other goods from India. "I didn't need to start a business. I had £20,000 worth of student debts but I could have cleared them because I was about to start applying for jobs with merchant banks. I had nothing to lose no family to support, no mortgage or other commitments so I started the business," he recalls.
It was a chance meeting with Dr Cariapa, an Indian brewer with a PhD in the art from a Czech university, that inspired Bilimoria to follow his love of beer.
"Beer has always been my passion and it was a dream during my student days to brew a lager which would go with Indian food. The market was dominated by harsh, gassy, Euro fizz beers, all poor partners to spicy foods." Bilimoria persuaded Cariapa to help him produce an authentic Indian beer that he could sell in the UK. For six years it was made in Bangalore and imported to England where Bilimoria sold it to Indian restaurants from the boot of his car.
As the brand grew Bilimoria signed a licensing agreement with Charles Wells brewery, already the English home of foreign lagers Kirin and Red Stripe, to make the beer in Bedford according to the Indian recipe. Twelve years later he is well on his way to realising his ambition to build a global beer brand. The same Bedford-made brew is now making its first appearance on the Indian beer market, something Bilimoria has always wanted to achieve.
The opulence of Delhi's Maurya Sheraton hotel, where Bilimoria has gained listings for Cobra, puts the premium price the beer commands at four times the cost of a local brew into perspective.
Next year he intends to roll the brand out in America while setting up several brewing facilities throughout the world to cater for the growing local markets and minimise import taxes.
Back in England, Cobra has enjoyed unprecedented success. With a turnover of just under £50m and distribution in more than 5,000 Indian restaurants and in the major multiples, Bilimoria's company seems to be on a steep upward trajectory.
It earned a place in The Sunday Times' Virgin Atlantic Fast Track 100 of developing companies and has won two gold awards at the Monde Selection, the Oscars of the beer world.
Flotation is also in the pipeline, but Bilimoria, who currently has a 72% share of the company, is in no rush.
He adds: "The ownership is quite fragmented but we've never gone down the venture capitalist route I've always been a bit sceptical of it. Instead I've raised funds from every other possible area. We're not floating just to raise money. Flotation is all about timing and valuation and those things won't be right for another 18 months. One of the benefits for us would be the credibility of being a listed company, especially in foreign markets."
He is adamant that the floatation will not change the ethos of the business, which currently employs 60 people. He explains: "We're an entrepreneurial company, informal and passionate. I don't want to lose that spirit no matter how big we get."
As the business has grown, his family has offered support and stability and the Bilimoria name frequently pops up when he discusses the people working with him.
He is not ashamed to admit the family connections. "Two of my cousins work for the business in London and the financial director is also a first cousin. My other cousin, Perses Bilimoria, is the regional director in India, but it all happened by chance. The advantage with family is that there is an element of trust and, as long as people remain positive and enthusiastic, that's great."
He hopes that one of his three children will also inherit this enthusiasm. "It would be wonderful if one of my children decided to join the company it might even be my daughter."
His enthusiasm for the job has lead him to lecture on building businesses as well as join committees promoting Asian commerce. There have also been donations to charities.
Bilimoria says: "People ask if I ever get sick of it, but I genuinely love what I'm doing. Sir John Harvey-Jones was meant to have said you can only do two major things at one time' but, in our case, it seems to be 10 major things at one time. It's all just so exciting."