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HindustanTimes Thu,30 Oct 2014

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Smartphone app taps Kerala's love affair with liquor
Arathi M, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, January 18, 2014
First Published: 18:00 IST(18/1/2014)
Last Updated: 18:11 IST(18/1/2014)

“I drink only twice during the year – when it rains and when it doesn’t.”  This dialogue from a Malayalam movie sums up a Malayalee’s stereotypical love affair with liquor.

So, it is no surprise that a smartphone app to find the price of foreign liquor in Kerala State Beverages Corporation Outlet (Bevco) has been created by Malayalees.

The creators of the app named Kuppi (meaning bottle in Malayalam), a firm called Leo Softwares, have gone a step ahead and included options such as how much liquor you can get with the money you have in your wallet at any given point in time, maps to the nearest liquor shop, dry days and even some liquor-related proverbs.

On Google Play Store, the app's description begins thus: "This app is in Malayalam. Non-Malayalees please don’t install."

According to the Google play market page of the app, Kuppi has been installed by more than 100,000 users and given a 4.5 star rating (5 is the highest) by 1,243 people.

Comments on the app range from people asking the developers to arrange the brand names in alphabetic order to others asking for the nearest outlets to be included using the users current location.

"Its really a good application. I think the price list are not latest. hope that you will make synchronisation in the forthcoming versions (sic),"  said TA Shyhas, one of the users.

Sajesh Karunattukara, a journalist with a leading Malayalam daily, was pleasantly surprised when he came to know of Kuppi. “It is wonderful that we can know of the prices in advance. There have been occasions when I have reached bars and and Bevco outlets without realising I do not have enough money. I have returned heartbroken,” he said.

The makers of Kuppi have clarified they do not support alcohol consumption, which is injurious to health. 

Kerala has the highest per capita alcohol consumption in India. It is estimated that one in 10 men in the state is addicted to liquor. According to the Economic Survey of 2012, liquor sales touched an all-time high of Rs. 8,086 crore in 2012-2013 fiscal. In 2011-12 fiscal, it was Rs. 7,860 crore.

Onam, the harvest festival of Malayalees, is incomplete without liquor sales setting new records every year. In 2013, liquor sales during Onam totalled Rs. 70 crore.


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