In an unprecedented achievement, the excise department of the Delhi government shattered previous sales records by netting over Rs 526 crore in liquor transactions during the fortnight leading up to Diwali this year.
The excise department, operating through its extensive network of 630 outlets, reported the sale of nearly 3 crore bottles since October 25, marking a remarkable 44% surge compared to the corresponding period last year when approximately 2.1 crore bottles, valued at about Rs 364 crore, were sold between October 6 and October 23, 2022.
Industry experts note that liquor sales preceding Diwali typically witness an upswing immediately after Dussehra, reaching a crescendo 3-4 days prior to the festival. Notably, Diwali itself is observed as a dry day with liquor shops remaining closed.
In the three days leading up to Diwali, consumers purchased over 64 lakh liquor bottles, amounting to approximately Rs 121 crore. This represents a substantial increase from the previous year when 48 lakh bottles worth about Rs 100 crore were sold during the same pre-Diwali period. The day just before the festival experienced a staggering surge with the sale of 28 lakh liquor bottles, valued at Rs 54 crore, compared to the 20 lakh bottles sold on the corresponding day in 2022.
The sales encompassed a broad spectrum of alcoholic beverages, including hard spirits like whisky, rum, vodka, and gin, as well as lighter options such as beer, wine, and other variants, in various sizes.
Beyond Diwali, the weeks preceding New Year’s and Holi also witness substantial liquor sales in the capital. Officials highlight that besides personal consumption on these occasions, many individuals engage in significant purchases to replenish personal stocks and for gifting purposes.
A senior excise department official attributed the substantial increase in liquor sales this year to multiple factors. “The number of liquor stores in Delhi has surged over the past year, growing from nearly 460 shops in 2022 to 630 at present, including 50 premium shops,” stated the official. Additionally, the preference for purchasing liquor from Delhi stores over those in other states is attributed to a higher trust in the quality available.
Officials also noted that Delhi’s liquor market boasts a wider array of brands and improved stock levels compared to the previous year. In anticipation of the festival season, the four government corporations responsible for liquor sales in Delhi were directed to place orders and ensure ample stock for Diwali.
While beer sales experienced a sluggish trend this year in Delhi, officials anticipate a robust growth in the sale of hard spirits during the winter months, projecting a positive outlook for the fiscal year 2023-24 compared to the previous fiscal.