As the Covid-19 pandemic brought lockdowns and restrictions and work from home prevailed for many, the residents of Ghaziabad district consumed the highest volume of Indian Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL), beer and country-made liquor in the 2021-22 financial year. The excise department officials said that it was the highest liquor consumption in the last five financial years.
According to official figures of the district excise department, Ghaziabad residents consumed 28,800,961 bottles of beer, 13,018,372 bottles of IMFL and 16,490,025 litres of country-made liquor. With the high sales, the district also amassed a record revenue of ₹1,474 crore.
“The revenue earned from liquor in FY 2021-22 has been the highest in the last five years and we were also able to achieve about 99.4% of our target. The district also stood third in Uttar Pradesh as per revenues earned. Only Lucknow ( ₹2,068 crore) and Kanpur ( ₹1,534 crore) earned more revenues than Ghaziabad,” said RK Singh, district excise officer.
During the last five financial years starting from 2017-18, the residents in the district consumed a total of 95,060,132 bottles of beer, 46,227,332 bottles of IMFL and 62,070,797 litres of country-made liquor.
The department earned revenues to the tune of ₹714 crore in 2017-18 and the sales skyrocketed in FY 2020-21 and 2021-22 with revenues amounting to ₹1,059 crore and ₹1,474 crore respectively.
“The revenue has been on the higher side during the past two financial years after the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic. The sales are the highest in these two years. It has also been a result of better enforcement that we were able to curb instances of liquor smuggling from nearby states where prices are less,” Singh added.
The official figures also indicate that neighbouring Gautam Budh Nagar district earned the fourth highest revenue in the state. It earned ₹1,346 crore with the consumption of 28,763,347 bottles of beer, 11,168,744 bottles of IMFL and 15,180,614 litres of country-made liquor in FY 2021-22.
In order to boost sales, the state cabinet on May 23, 2020, approved the Uttar Pradesh Excise (Settlement of Licences for Premium Retail Vends of Foreign Liquor) Rules, which mandates the sale of premium liquor brands in shopping malls, departmental stores and supermarkets.
The UP excise department in March 2020, also issued licences for the operation of microbreweries as part of the UP Brewery Rules, 2019.
“The sales have been encouraging but time was also lost during the pandemic. Otherwise, the sales would have been on a much higher side. At present, there are three microbreweries in Ghaziabad city,” said Madhur Gupta, who owns Cinnamon Kitchen in Indirapuram.
A craft brewery or microbrewery is a shorter version of a large beer producing commercial unit and churns out fresh beer in small quantities. Fresh from the tap, craft beer focuses on the quality of the brew and also keeps in mind the preferences of the customers.