When it comes to alcohol, it seems Pune residents have chucked their pint of beer for something stronger. Statistics from the state excise department show that consumption of beer has gone down while sale of Indian Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL) has shown a healthy rise across the city. The dip in sale of beer is due to a steep price rise, hoteliers say.
The state excise department collates data about sales of country liquor, IMFL, beer and wine. Usually, Pune records sales of around 22-23 lakh bulk litres (lbl) of country liquor, 25-26 lbl of IMFL, 34-35 lbl of beer and 1.25-1.3lbl of wine a month. The district has mostly reported 2-5 per cent year-on-year growth in most categories. However, the January trends of 2018 show a dip in sales of two categories — country liquor and beer. Excise figures show that sale of country liquor has dropped by 0.45 per cent and sale of beer has dipped by 10.78 per cent.
Sale of IMFL and wine has gone up by 7.47 per cent and 0.18 per cent, respectively.
The over 10 per cent dip in sale of beer, Ganesh Shetty, the president of Pune Restaurant and Hoteliers Association, said was because of the steep excise duty the drink had attracted since last October. The duty on mild beer was increased to 25 per cent and for strong beer, it was raised to 35 per cent cent. Incidentally, it was the first time raised excise duty was after 2013. “The sale dip is a clear reflection of the price rise. The consumption pattern has changed,” Shetty said.
The rise in price has not gone unnoticed with many grumbling about it. Entrepreneur Neha Joshi (29), who describes herself as a social drinker, said the price has not affected her as her “spending capacity is more than my drinking capacity.” Joshi took a call to reduce the number of parties she used to throw. “Beer being my favourite, it also used to be cheaper than most other alcoholic drinks. But the price rise has forced me to cut down on it,” she said.
Gaurav Khandelwal (22), an intern with an Chartered Accountancy firm, rued about the price rise that has forced him to cut down on his drinking. Khandelwal who prefers to unwind with a peg of whiskey over the weekend felt the Happy Hours offered by restaurants was of no use as “drinking in the afternoon is not the same as that in the evening”.
(inputs by Shobit Arora)