What’s your choice of poison? Maharashtra says beer!

Published on Aug 13, 2022 08:25 PM IST

Between April and July-end, Maharashtra saw the sale of beer rise by a massive 118.24% as compared to April-July in 2021, compared to 78.05% for wine, 42.05% for CL and 33.09% for IMFL

The trend has been replicated in Mumbai too, with beer sales rising by 110.35% in Mumbai city and 77.15% in the suburbs, compared to 81.24% and 66.47% for CL, 42.95% and 36.01% for wine and 23.56% and 13.54% for IMFL (HT File)
The trend has been replicated in Mumbai too, with beer sales rising by 110.35% in Mumbai city and 77.15% in the suburbs, compared to 81.24% and 66.47% for CL, 42.95% and 36.01% for wine and 23.56% and 13.54% for IMFL (HT File)

Mumbai Tipplers in Maharashtra seem to be loving beer more than other types of booze. The sales of beer have seen the healthiest growth in this financial year, compared to other categories of liquor like wine, Indian Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL) and country liquor (CL) same time last year.

Between April and July-end, Maharashtra saw the sale of beer rise by a massive 118.24% as compared to April-July in 2021, compared to 78.05% for wine, 42.05% for CL and 33.09% for IMFL.

The trend has been replicated in Mumbai too, with beer sales rising by 110.35% in Mumbai city and 77.15% in the suburbs, compared to 81.24% and 66.47% for CL, 42.95% and 36.01% for wine and 23.56% and 13.54% for IMFL.

Officials from the department of state excise and industry sources attributed this to a gradual uptick in the economy, the extended summer heat which led to a boost in beer sales and the gradual resumption of tourist activity.

In Maharashtra, beer consumption stands at 1,271.47 lakh bulk litres (LBL) up from just 582.60 LBL, which translates into a rise of 118.24 per cent. This is followed by wine, sales of which have risen by 78.05% to 33.65 LBL between April and July versus 18.90 LBL for the corresponding period the previous year. CL, whose sales have grown by 42.05% to 1,312.99 LBL from 924.31 LBL and IMFL, consumption of which is at 877.36 LBL against 659.21 LBL, which means a rise of 33.09%.

In the Mumbai city and suburban districts, beer sales were 58.50 LBL and 180.76 LBL against 27.81 LBL and 102.03 LBL, which translates into a growth of 110.35% and 77.15% respectively. This is followed by an 81.24% and 66.47% growth in CL sales (31.31 LBL and 84.46 LBL against 17.28 LBL and 50.73 LBL).

For wine, the rise is 42.95% and 36.01% for Mumbai city (2.04 LBL against 1.43 LBL) and the suburbs (6.07 LBL versus 4.47 LBL). This is followed by IMFL, whose sales have risen from 42.56 LBL in Mumbai city by July-end against 34.45 LBL last year (23.56%) and 104.77 LBL versus 92.28 LBL (13.54%) in the suburban district.

“Usually, beer sales go up in the summers. Last year, due to the lockdown and an overall slump in the economy, consumption had fallen automatically. However, it is yet to touch pre-Covid levels,” said Dilip Gianani, chairman, Maharashtra Wine Merchants Association (MWMA). He complained that the high excise duty regime on alcohol was affecting sales and consequently, the state government’s revenues.

Gianani pointed out that a bottle of a popular brand of beer cost around 150, which was higher than the rates in neighbouring states like Goa, Madhya Pradesh, and Karnataka. This was also pushing people to consume hard liquor as it gave them a ‘kick’ or sense of a high at a lower price. Rationalising the rates of excise duty on liquor as a whole would do away with consumption of spurious, duplicate and duty-evaded or smuggled liquor.

Shivanand Shetty, President, Indian Hotel and Restaurant Association (AHAR) said: “The sales of beer and liquor at large have risen after the lockdown. The months from April to June mark peak summers and hence, beer consumption has grown. Once the rains begin, people shift to hard liquor. This is an annual trend. However, this year has seen a higher growth in beer sales as people had cut down on its consumption for two years due to reasons like the lockdown and financial constraints.”

In 2021-22, the consumption of IMFL ended at 2,358.60 LBL, up by 17.97 per cent from 1,999.25 lakh bulk litres (LBL) in 2020-21. In comparison, beer sales grew by a lower 14.95 per cent from 2,011.93 LBL to 2,312.81 LBL, and country liquor, which is consumed by the working and toiling classes, rose from 3,208.06 LBL to 3,483.08 LBL (8.57 per cent).

Wine sales grew by a massive 21.75 per cent from 70.76 LBL in 2020-21 to 86.15 LBL in 2021-22 though wine consumption is negligible in terms of volumes compared to the other categories of liquor.

Maharashtra follows a policy of discouraging liquor consumption through high prices and low sales and has one of the highest excise duty regimes in India. After Goods and Services Tax (GST) and stamp duty and registration, state excise revenues are the third highest contributors to the state government’s kitty.

The revenues of the state excise department rose to 17,228.84 crore in 2021-22, which is 13.84 per cent more than the 15,089.24 crore in the previous financial year. By June, the department had mopped up 6,169.31 crore. It has a target of 22,767 crore for 2022-23.

BOX:

SALES OF LIQUOR IN MAHARASHTRA

TYPE OF LIQUOR—SALES IN 2022-23— SALES IN 2021-22—% growth

CL—1312.99—924.31—42.05%

IMFL—877.36—659.21—33.09%

BEER—1,271—582.60—118.24%

WINE—33.65—18.90—78.05%

(ALL FIGURES IN LAKH BULK LITERS-LBL)

SALES OF LIQUOR IN MUMBAI

TYPE OF LIQUOR—SALES IN 2022-23 IN MUMBAI CITY AND THE SUBURBS— SALES IN 2021-22 IN MUMBAI CITY AND THE SUBURBS—% growth

CL— 31.31 and 84.46—17.28 and 50.73—81.24% and 66.47%

IMFL—42.56 and 104.77—34.45 and 92.28—23.56% and 13.54%

BEER—58.50 and 180.76—27.81 and 102.03—110.35% and 77.15%

WINE—2.04 and 6.07—1.43 and 4.47—42.95% and 36.01%

(ALL FIGURES IN LAKH BULK LITERS-LBL)

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