Despite a slump following the shuttering of bars in 2014, beer sales witnessed a steep and alarming rise during 2015-16 courtesy the UDF government’s decision to allow more beer and wine parlours.
Beer sales had stood at 8.52 crore litres in 2013-14, and after the closure of bars, dropped by 84.30 lakh litres in 2014-15. However, with the government sanctioning 730 beer and wine parlours, sales shot up to 12.25 crore litres in 2015-16, an increase by 3.72 crore litres, showed a study by Alcohol and Drug Information Centre-India based on sales figures published by state-run liquor monopoly Kerala State Beverages Corporation Ltd (Bevco). IMFL (rum, brandy, whisky, vodka and gin) sales fell by 16.55 per cent, but beer and wine sales rose by 43.64 per cent and 143 per cent respectively. The spurt in beer and wine sales also saw a rise in the total volume (of rum, brandy, whisky, vodka, gin, beer and wine) of liquor sold by Bevco.
Overall sales went up by 24.37 lakh litres in the 2015-16 fiscal compared to 2013-14. Tipplers downed a little over 30.15 crore litres in 2013-14. In 2015-16, sales stood at a little over 30.4 crore litres. Wine sales in 2013-14 stood at 6.35 lakh litres. In 2015-16, it rose to 15.42 lakh litres. ‘’Nonetheless, the cumulative change in sales since the introduction of the new policy is encouraging. The cumulative dip in IMFL and wine and beer sales in 2014-15 and 2015-16 is to the tune of 2.45 crore litres, which comes to 22.11 per cent over the two years,’’ ADIC-India director Johnson J Edayaranmula said.
In February, WHO and World Alcohol Policy Alliance experts attending I-Con 2016, an international meet on alcohol policy organised by Excise Department’s Subodham Project in city, had specifically warned of the adverse impact of mushrooming beer and wine parlours.