The century’s worst floods recorded in Kerala last year caused untold economic losses for the state, but it did little to stem the soaring revenue from liquor sales, figures from the state beverage corporation show.
In the 2018-19 fiscal year, alcohol sales from outlets run by the Kerala State Beverages Corporation (BEVCO) and Consumerfed touched a record Rs 14,508 crores, propelled largely by the liberal liquor policy of the current LDF regime and re-opening of outlets that had been shut down as part of a prohibition policy of the previous UDF government. The rise in sales of nearly Rs 1570 crores over the 2017-18 FY confirms a pattern of continued positive growth of liquor sales in the state since 1984-85. The gross liquor sales value in 1984-85 was Rs 55.46 crores.
In the last fiscal, Rs 12,424 crores from liquor sales fell into the state coffers, nearly 85 per cent of the total revenue. A total of 216.34 lakh cases of IMFL and an additional 121.12 lakh cases of beer were sold across the state. While brandy was the clear favourite among the tipplers followed by rum and vodka, McDowell’s Number 1 was the most sold brand.
Incidentally, the highest gross sales value of BEVCO was reported in August last year, the month when the state was hit by devastating floods. Liquor sales touched Rs 1264.69 crores that month, which BEVCO officials attribute to the festival of Onam. Every month in the last FY has recorded an average sale of Rs 1200 crores.
The state government operates 306 outlets of BEVCO and Consumerfed alongside 480 bars.