The pandemic has hit the sale of beer during summer months in Punjab. Liquor contractors lifted 60 per cent less than their allotted quota from distilleries during two month period — May and June — compared to the same period last year. Officials said the quota lifted by contractors largely translates into sales. While the procurement in June saw an upswing, but seen along with figures of May 2020, the two month period has been overall bad for beer sales.
The sale of Indian Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL) too has been impacted with liquor contractors lifting around 31 per cent less quota as compared to last year in May and June.
The sales of Punjab Made Liquor (PML) on the contrary have registered an increase of nearly 20 per cent in the corresponding period, official statistics accessed by The Indian Express revealed.
A government functionary said, “The drop in IMFL sales is due to massive drop in marriage functions taking place in the wake of Covid-19. The IMFL sales were largely centered around marriage functions during this period.”
An employee working at a senior position in liquor sale business, however, said the lesser sale of beer was attributed to closure of “colleges and educational institutions during the pandemic as students used to be one of the major consumers of beer during college time”.
He added, “Once the liquor vends opened, most people went in for hard drinks rather than beer to get a kick. Because of this too, the sale of beer came down.”
As per official statistics, liquor contractors lifted 63,000 cases of beer in May and 6.57 lakh cases of beer in June this year. Compared to this, in 2019, contractors lifted 3.62 lakh cases in May and 5.35 lakh in June. While there was an increase in June compared to last year, but if both months are taken into account the total dip in lifting of beer cases is 60 per cent. May alone registered a decline of 82 per cent than the corresponding month last year.
As far as IMFL is concerned, in June this year, contractors lifted 3.48 lakh cases as compared to 2.8 lakh cases in June last year, registering an increase of 24 per cent. But, this increase too fades when figures of May are taken into account. As compared to May last year, contractors lifted a quota of 2.44 lakh cases, this May they lifted only 1.07 lakh cases, clocking a decline of 55.8 per cent than last year in the corresponding month. The analysis of May and June figures reveal that 31 per cent less quota of IMFL was lifted in May and June this year as compared to corresponding months last year.
In sharp contrast, there was 43 per cent increase in lifting of PML quota in June this year as compared to June last year. 9.85 lakh cases of PML were lifted in June last year and this June 14.1 lakh cases were lifted. In May this year, PML quota lifted was 7.17 lakh cases as compared to 9.3 lakh cases in the same period last year, a decline of 23 per cent, but factoring in the figures of June month along with May this year, the total quota lifted of PML was 20 per cent higher than May and June last year.
A government functionary said the increase in PML sales was largely attributed to government crackdown on illicit liquor and smuggling of such liquor from other states.
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