India. Beer may be most popular drink for tourists

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If revenue receipts are to be considered, the sale of hard liquor is higher than beer (malt liquor) in Goa, but the excise department believes this alone can’t be taken as a true measure of consumption pattern of different types of alcohol sold in the state.

Only a research study of the consumption pattern will give a true picture even as generally domestic tourists visiting Goa prefer light spirits like beer rather than hard liquor which cost less than the latter.

In 2015-16, the sale of beer was 78.69 crore whereas 121.21 crore of Indian Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL) was sold for the same period.

Menino D’Souza, excise commissioner , said unless there is a proper study it cannot be said what type of liquor sold more. “Mere receipt can’t be a deciding factor at this stage,” he said. A bottle of hard liquor will cost more than a similar quantity of beer for higher content of alcohol. Also, hard liquor is taxed higher. Beer contains 8% (as volume by volume) alcohol content, whereas in IMFLs such as whisky, brandy, rum it is 42.8 % and in wines, it is 12%-14 %.

Higher the cost of the bottle and its alcohol content, it will attract a higher tax slab. D’Souza said tax on hard liquor bottles will vary from 20 to 3,400. There is a different tax slab for a bottle carrying alcohol content of 42-60 % (volume by volume).

Besides, IMFL and beer, the sale of foreign liquor and spirits and wines is also high. For 2015-16, the sale of wine was 3.15 lakh and 22.48 crore of foreign liquor and spirit.

The state has seen an upward swing in the sale of liquor since 2011-2012. On an average, 200 new licences are issued every year, said D’Souza. Total alcohol licences issued is 10,534.