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Tuesday, June 28, 2022
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Liquor prohibition not the solution as it rarely works: ISWAI CEO Nita Kapoor

HIGHLIGHTS
Says ISWAI welcomes new policy shift of Andhra Pradesh govt from ‘prohibition’ to ‘restriction’

International Spirits and Wines Association of India (ISWAI), an industry body promoted by the multinational alcoholic beverage companies, having investments and business operations in India, highlights the industry’s perspective on government policies and promotes best practices as well as responsible use of beverage alcohol products. “The trends and patterns of alcohol consumption are changing in the country.

With an increasing acceptance of women consuming alcohol, growing popularity of wine, and high demand for expensive quality liquor, the market scenario seems to be very progressive in the near future,” Nita Kapoor, Chief Executive Officer, ISWAI, tells Bizz Buzz in an exclusive interaction.

What is your take on the new liquor policy announced by the Andhra Pradesh government? How will it impact the liquor sector?

ISWAI (International Spirits & Wines Association of India) welcomes the new policy by the Andhra Pradesh government from ‘prohibition’ to ‘restriction’ (nishedham to niyantran). A more long-term solution is awareness and responsible drinking to address irresponsible consumption / abuse of alcohol. A balanced, pragmatic and transparent approach of doing Alcobev (alcohol beverage) business in the State is the way forward to build an economic opportunity for the State.

As we are aware, the Andhra Pradesh State Beverages Corporation Limited (APSBCL) under the State Excise Department, runs the retail sale of alcohol in the State. The State government has decided to open new liquor outlets in entities such as ports, industries, and special economic zones (SEZs). It will have a positive impact on the liquor sector as it will attract tourists.

The new outlets will be opened either as tourism outlets or directly under the management of APSBCL like other existing retail liquor outlets. This will help meet demand for liquor from tourists and bring revenue to the exchequer and will promote development of the tourism ecosystem which will impact state revenues positively.

Is the investment environment in Andhra Pradesh conducive for liquor manufacturers?

The proposed new shops are earmarked for tourist destinations that already have the AP Tourism Hotels & Resorts, where responsible consumption can be implemented and practiced. To succeed in this initiative, it is imperative to ensure the right and national brands are made available.

Promotion

Then, domestic tourists would have access to brands of their choice from the States they come from. It is imperative all national popular brands are made available to cater to consumers’ preferences. A phased and responsible alcohol consumption policy is the key driver to promote tourism.

How is the Alcobev industry doing in India now? What kind of growth the sector will log in this financial year?

During the Covid period, like any other sector, Alcobev had an impact. The decline between the Covid wave 1 and 2 is around 5-7 per cent overall because of the pandemic as bars, restaurants, and outlets were shut. The government in some States did enable home delivery of liquors to avoid Covid problems on ground.

How does your association plan to promote responsible drinking in India?

Prohibition will lead to illegal liquor stocks from neighbouring States and also incidence of smuggling. However, policy of restriction needs to go hand in hand with a regular and long term awareness and education campaign on responsible drinking. ISWAI has launched a State-wise citizen’s survey in AP to seek their views and inputs and we will be sharing the outcomes with AP Chief Minister shortly. Together with CII State, ISWAI plans to launch the Southern Round-Table Conference starting with AP that will include doing business in AP and building economic opportunities. CII-CeSRAC will also be sharing its plans on building a culture of responsible drinking.

The main focus of the campaign is empowering and educating consumers on safe and responsible drinking. The Pahle India Foundation is also coming forward to seek out the voice of the citizens of AP through a state-wide survey. Also lSWAI, along with its member companies are keen to develop a campaign that will help the State Government of AP to promote right education on safe & responsible drinking in the State.

Promotion

What are the emerging trends in liquor consumption patterns in India?

Home delivery of liquor has started in many States during the Covid time. Also, when the restaurants, liquor shops, bars, etc., were shut during this time, people started looking at other avenues to buy liquor and this has resulted in people consuming in their homes, leading to responsible drinking in a family atmosphere.

This has also ensured maintaining social distancing norms and less crowding at retail outlets. The trends and patterns of alcohol consumption are changing in the country. With an increasing acceptance of women consuming alcohol, growing popularity of wine, and high demand for expensive quality liquor, the market scenario seems to be very progressive in the near future.


 

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