Gurgaon witnesses 114% increase in sale of imported liquor | gurgaon | Hindustan Times
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Gurgaon witnesses 114% increase in sale of imported liquor

The sale of imported liquor, wine and beer increased by 114%, 37,7% and 79.8%, respectively, shows excise department data

gurgaon Updated: Dec 30, 2017 00:03 IST
Leena Dhankhar
The staff at pubs and bars said people prefer wine and beer when dining out because they believe bottles of hard liquor are tampered with.
The staff at pubs and bars said people prefer wine and beer when dining out because they believe bottles of hard liquor are tampered with. (HT File Photo)

Data shared by the Gurgaon excise department reveals some interesting trends about what delights the city’s guzzlers, and that’s imported liquor.

Compared to last year, the sale of imported liquor increased by 114% with shoppers showing an inclination for the scotches and whiskies, show records of the Gurgaon excise department.

Though the department lost a lot of revenue because of the ban on sale of liquor along the highways, its new excise policy helped fill the coffers. The department earned ₹100 crores (till Dec 28) in revenue, including excise and VAT, from imported foreign liquor. In 2016, this figure stood at ₹30 crore, an increase of nearly 333% within a year’s time.

The rise in revenue is also attributed to the government giving a single licence for the sale of foreign liquor for ₹62.5 crore against its earlier policy of giving 10 licences to wholesalers for ₹1 crore. Better monitoring also helped us earn more revenue, officials said.

Another key change has swept the city—a hub of corporate houses and was once known for its love for hard alcohol—is people’s shift to wine and beer, changing the sales and revenue source pattern.

The sale of imported beer and wine increased by 79.85% and 37.7%, respectively, this year.

“People these days prefer beer and wine as these are considered better for the heart; NRIs prefer to stick to these choices. People also want to try new brands and explore, most people have traveled abroad and are aware of new brands and demand for them in the city. This has led to increase of the IMFL brands and foreign liquor in the city,” HC Dahiya deputy excise and taxation commissioner, Gurgaon (West), said.

However, the staff at pubs and bars said people prefer wine when dining out because there is a belief that whiskey and scotch bottles are tampered with.

Contrary to popular belief, the trend has added to hoteliers woes who now have to maintain stocks of a large variety of liquors.

“If we have to survive, we cannot say no (for any brand) else the person would not revisit the restaurant. Keeping all brands and keeping the visitor happy is not easy. There is tough competition and one needs to ensure that the best with the lowest margin is served to retain clients,” hotelier Sameer Puri said.

Despite the rise in revenue, the slew of policy changes—continued effects of demonetisation, the Supreme Court’s highway liquor sales ban and the implementation of the goods and services tax— kept restaurants serving liquor under the pump.

A large number of restaurants in DLF Cyber Hub and Sector 29 suffered huge losses as people moved to other joints. However, they hope for things to change as anti-encroachment drives and sealing of pubs, bars and restaurants in Delhi’s key party hubs are expected to push people towards Gurgaon again. In the meantime, city’s ahatas seem to have benefitted.

But pushing sales is not high on the Gurgaon excise department’s agenda.

With the end of 2017, the department has been analysing ways to improve monitoring and regulating law and order at establishments. The department fined nearly 300 restaurants, pubs, bars, vends and ahatas for serving liquor to underage customers, serving liquor beyond the permissible time and installing advertisement hoardings along highways.

“The year was challenging,” said the deputy excise and taxation commissioner (DETC), East Gurgaon, Sneh Lata Yadav.

With the year concluding, the excise department is busy forming teams who will be deployed across the city to ensure rules are followed.

“We have formed six teams headed by assistant excise and taxation officer, who will monitor the New Year’s celebration and special emphasis will be on checking underage drinking. Anyone found serving liquor to the underage person and serving beyond prescribed time will be penalized. We may also cancel their license,” Dahiya said.