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ISWAI: ISWAI urges Maharashtra government to continue ‘online’ home delivery of liquor

MUMBAI: The International Spirits & Wines Association of India (ISWAI), the apex body of the premium AlcoBev sector, has highlighted the challenges of low retail density and price arbitrage in the state, which, besides causing revenue loss, is also resulting in smuggling of spurious and counterfeit liquor, thereby compromising public health. Hence, it wants the state to strengthen its home delivery models.
The pandemic has impacted all sectors, including the alcoholic beverages industry. Indian consumers are increasingly opting for premium brands in the alcoholic beverages space and have observed a tremendous change in trends and patterns of alcohol consumption in the last 18 months.
“A survey on “Consumer pulse on home delivery of liquor”,carried out by LocalCircles, India’s leading community-led platform, has reaffirmed the growing demand for home delivery, as 95% of consumers of alcoholic beverages in Mumbai called out convenience & social distancing as the two most important reasons for ordering alcohol via home delivery.
The urban middle-and-upper-class consumers including women, prefer home consumption due to safety, convenience and comfort. 78% women consumers of alcoholic beverages across major Indian cities say they are likely to buy alcohol themselves if online or home delivery service is made available,” said an ISWAI release.
The ISWAI is the representative apex body of the premium AlcoBev sector, promoted by the multinational alcoholic beverage companies, having investments and business operations in India.
Formed in 2004, ISWAI leads a focused effort to ensure Compliance, Responsible Consumption, and enhancing quality through Premiumization, leading to improved reputation of the AlcoBev sector.
Nita Kapoor, CEO, ISWAI said, “The AlcoBev industry in the state is facing challenge of low retail liquor outlet density, which leads to price arbitrage in the premium brands and higher taxes. Home delivery models can bring the convenience of quality products delivered at the doorstep, and importantly, extend comfort and safety for women while buying their drinks. For women buyers, this will improve the alcohol purchasing experience and dignity of purchase while unlocking the potential of an alternate channel for state revenues.”
Kapoor further stated, “We compliment the state government of Maharashtra on the introduction of home delivery during the lockdown and urge them to continue to implement this and other such progressive regulations, thereby providing consumers with a safe and convenient alternative to source their drink. We request the state government to strengthen and frame standard home delivery norms to ensure that no delivery is done to underage consumers, addressing concerns of licensed retailers as home delivery would make liquor buying convenient for the citizens of the state.”
lSWAI, along with its member companies, aims to work with state governments to devise an alcohol policy that would promote a responsible drinking environment and encourage people to adopt a culture of “Drink Less and Drink Better”. Members of ISWAI include global leaders like Bacardi, Beam Suntory, Brown Forman, Diageo, Moet Hennessy, Pernod Ricard, and William Grant & Sons.
Suresh Menon, Secretary-General, ISWAI, underscored the need to increase the retail density of outlets and said, “Given that the population has increased four times in the last 50 years, the state has not seen much changes in AlcoBev retail store numbers since 1974 or thereabouts, i.e., around 1,700 outlets for spirits, across such a geographically widespread state. Presently the outlet density is not commensurate with the size and the population of the state.” He further added, “A proper home delivery model would ensure equitable access to liquor supply and transform the nature of the liquor trade to be commensurate with the growing stature of Maharashtra”.
ISWAI will be ready to engage and partner with the Maharashtra government in developing comprehensive regulations and safeguards for selling liquor online and inculcating a practice of responsible consumption in the State, it stated at the end.
ISWAI also engages regularly with government representatives, policymakers, media, international organizations, industry associations, public interest groups and other stakeholders and aims to enhance general education concerning the responsible consumption of beverage alcohol products.

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The above news was originally posted on timesofindia.indiatimes.com

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