Happy days are ahead for those who complain that booze is not freely available. In an attempt to increase the sale of low-alcohol beverages, the state government is planning to increase the availability of wine and mild beer.
“It is a policy of the government to encourage sale of low-alcohol beverages than spirits which have high alcohol content,” said Principal Secretary (Excise) GS Gill. In the pipeline is a decision to allow sale of alcohol and mild beer in a secluded area in supermarkets and shopping malls, out of bounds for minors.
The department has also decided to allow wineries to open more wine boutiques. Under the existing excise policy, wineries are allowed to open only one outlet to sell their products exclusively.
With the proposed changes in the rules, wineries would be able to open one wine boutique for every 10 lakh people. This means, Sula can open 10 such outlets in a city like Mumbai.
Gill refused to comment on when the new policies would come into effect. He said the sale of wine was being promoted by the state government as it was an agro-based product.
About three years ago, the government adopted a new policy to promote wine, under which tax sops are allowed to wineries. Currently, vineyards are located at Junnar and Narayangaon in Pune and in rural parts of Nashik district.