India. Beer shortage hits guzzlers in Andhra Pradesh

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Guzzlers, who try to beat the summer heat with a sip of chilled beer, are finding the going tough this time around. The brew ran out of stocks in the depots of Andhra Pradesh Beverages Corporation (APBC) in light of the soaring demand and fall in supply.

AP depends on Telangana and other neighbouring states for its supply of beer and other liquor in the absence of sufficient local production units.

The scenario turned worse after the state government declined the renewal of licence to Artos Breweries Limited at Ramachandrapuram in East Godavari district, which supplies beer under the Golden Eagle brand name. The only other unit in the state at Ranasthalam in Srikakulam district has also failed to produce up to its designed capacity of 60 lakh cases per year.

A beer dealer from West Godavari district told TOI that the Andhra Pradesh Beverages Corporation has rationed the allotments at the rate of five cases per retail outlet. “The sales demand is as high as 100 beer bottles per day in summer. The allotment of five cases, comprising 12 bottles each, is just insufficient,” he said.

A senior officer from one of the APBC depots said that the state registers sale of 15 lakh cases a month.

“But there is a 200 per cent rise in demand in the summer months due to rising temperatures,” he said.

Beer lovers are ready to spend any amount of money for a bottle of their choicest brand regardless of the maximum retail price (MRP) or the varied rates at which they are sold at various bars in the city.

While a particular leading brand of beer is not supposed to be sold beyond Rs 105 per 650 mililitres bottle in retail outlets, customers purchase paying Rs 20 more than the stipulated price without any qualms.

“I am sure, it will be up for grabs by beer lovers even at Rs 140 to 150 in the peak summer days”, said a customer from Tirupati, who came to visit his relatives in the city.

Shortfalls in supplies reportedly spur smuggling activity as the product finds its way into the retail market through illicit routes from Chennai, Bangalore and Hyderabad, causing a dent in the excise revenues.

President of Andhra Pradesh Wine Dealers’ Association Rayala Subbarayudu from Guntur said that a delegation from the association on Saturday met Mukesh Kumar Meena, commissioner of prohibition and excise department, with a request to take measures to increase the supply of beer.

He is believed to have told wine dealers that the government was taking efforts to deploy 10 lakh cases from several states such as Goa, Aurangabad and Pondicherry within a few days.