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Alcohol Market Insights Report 2022 and Future Growth Analysis by 2026

The number of alcohol consumers in India continues to rise on the account of rising urban population. Consuming alcoholic beverages has become a customary tradition for a majority of people residing in India’s urban cities. Changing lifestyles and increasing incomes are compelling them to consume alcohol on a frequent basis.

Future Market Insights recently published its study on India’s alcohol market, which estimated that more than `2.5 trillion worth of alcohol was consumed in 2016. The study further projected that consumption of alcohol in India is less likely to decline in the years to come. By the end of 2026, more than 14 billion litres of alcohol will be sold across India.

According to the report, revenues amassed from sales of alcohol in India will soar vigorously at 7.4% CAGR, and reach `5.1 trillion value by the end of 2026. In terms of volume, India’s alcohol consumption in 2016 has been estimated to have surpassed 8 billion litres and will grow at 5.5% CAGR in the due course of forecast period. An in-depth analysis on India’s alcohol distribution indicated that just above three-fourth of alcohol consumed in the country is government controlled. In 2016, alcohol distributed in India through open market sales made revenues worth over `400 billion. Meanwhile, about 550 million litres of alcohol was auctioned in India by the end of 2016.

The wine market in India is set to grow by USD 274.00 million from 2021 to 2026 as per the latest market report by Technavio. The report projects the market to decelerate at a CAGR of 19.78%. Also, the market to record a 29.30% Y-O-Y growth rate in 2022.

The wine market share in India is expected to increase by USD 274.00 million from 2021 to 2026, and the market’s growth momentum will decelerate at a CAGR of 19.78%.

The wine market share growth in India by the domestic segment will be significant for revenue generation. The demand for premium wine brands is increasing among consumers in India. Rising consumer preferences for smooth, rare, and innovative flavours of wine have increased, which has fostered the domestic production of wine. The rising demand for premium wine in recent years has led to an increase in the launch of innovative products.

India’s Alcohol Market: Report Highlights

  • Nearly two-third of India’s alcohol revenues will be accounted by sales of Indian-made foreign liquor (IMFL)
  • In 2016, more than 1,800 million litres of strong beer was consumed in India
  • By the end of 2026, white wine sales in India will have brought in an estimated `16.8 billion in revenues
  • Revenues amassed from sale of country liquor in India will have soared at 5.5% CAGR
  • Whisky will be the most-preferred type of alcohol in India, while sales of white spirits will grow at more than 11% CAGR
  • Key findings of the report, titled “Alcohol Market: India Industry Analysis and Opportunity Assessment, 2016-2026”, projected that Southern and Western states of India will continue to contribute to more than 80% of alcohol revenues through 2026. Bangalore’s SAB Miller India Ltd. and United Spirits Ltd., and Mumbai-based Tilaknagar Industries Ltd. and Allied Blenders & Distillers Pvt. Ltd. are key players partaking in the growth of India’s alcohol market.

Meanwhile, the consumption of alcohol will witness a considerable dip in India’s northern and eastern zone. Even still, a majority of alcohol manufacturers and suppliers in India are originating from New Delhi. Companies such as Carlsberg India Pvt. Ltd., SOM Distilleries & Breweries Group, Radico Khaitan Limited, Globus Spirits, and Jagatjit Industries Ltd. are based in and around the country’s capital. Shimla’s Mohan Meakin Ltd. and Daman’s Khemani Group are also recognised as some of the leading alcohol manufacturer in India.

Among every ten alcohol consumers in India, nine of them will most probably be men; leaving a slight chance that the tenth one is a woman. With more than 90% stake in India’s alcohol revenues, the country’s men will be offering over `4.7 trillion for consuming alcohol by the end of 2026. Likewise, Indian women are also likely to increase their contribution to the Indian alcohol market. During the forecast period, revenues accounted by sales of alcohol to Indian women will have soared at the fastest pace, registering a stellar CAGR of 8.6%.

The availability of online stores and online specialty retailers provides a wide range of choices to consumers in addition to online shopping conveniences.

The increasing use of online channels for purchasing products is likely to drive the growth of the wine market in India. The presence of strong online distribution channels and platform providers is expected to boost the growth of online sales.

The increase in the use of online sales channels is expected to create new opportunities for vendors where they can target customers without geographical boundaries, improve operational efficiencies, and provide customised products to consumers. Thus, the growing adoption of online sales channels will increase the profit margins of wine vendors, which, in turn, will drive the growth of the wine market in India.

The growing incidence of alcohol abuse and alcohol-related accidents, especially among the younger population, has led to many regulatory and social organisations launching campaigns against alcohol consumption and players to prevent this.

The increasing preference for non-alcoholic beverages, such as health drinks, is also affecting the growth of the market in the country.

The stringent advertising restrictions on alcoholic beverages, along with increasing campaigns against alcohol consumption in India, can hamper the growth of the wine market in India.

Consumption of alcohol containing molasses as key ingredients will remain higher in India. Grains will also serve to be a preferred raw ingredient used for producing alcohol in India. Although, production of alcohol through agricultural produce such as fruits and vegetable will remain negligent till the end of 2026. The report also anticipates that consumers will be more inclined towards buying Indian-made liquor – regardless of it being a foreign or Indian brand. Consumption of foreign liquor bottled in India is also likely to grow, but showcasing a marginal degree of increment.

Wine Market in India: Key Drivers and Trends

The increasing use of online sales channels is notably driving the wine market growth in India, although factors such as campaigns against alcohol consumption may impede the market growth. The research analysts have studied the historical data and deduced the key market drivers and the Covid-19 pandemic impact on the wine industry in India. The holistic analysis of the drivers will help in deducing end goals and refining marketing strategies to gain a competitive edge.

Key Wine Market Driver in India

The availability of online stores and online specialty retailers provides a wide range of choices to consumers in addition to online shopping conveniences. The increasing use of online channels for purchasing products is likely to drive the growth of the wine market in India. The presence of strong online distribution channels and platform providers is expected to boost the growth of online sales. The increase in the use of online sales channels is expected to create new opportunities for vendors where they can target customers without geographical boundaries, improve operational efficiencies, and provide customised products to consumers. Thus, the growing adoption of online sales channels will increase the profit margins of wine vendors, which, in turn, will drive the growth of the wine market in India

Key Wine Market Challenge in India

The growing incidence of alcohol abuse and alcohol-related accidents, especially among the younger population, has led to many regulatory and social organisations launching campaigns against alcohol consumption and players to prevent this. The increasing preference for non-alcoholic beverages, such as health drinks, is also affecting the growth of the market in the country. The stringent advertising restrictions on alcoholic beverages, along with increasing campaigns against alcohol consumption in India, can hamper the growth of the wine market in India.

This wine market analysis report of India also provides detailed information on other upcoming trends and challenges that will have a far-reaching effect on the market growth. The actionable insights on the trends and challenges will help companies evaluate and develop growth strategies for 2022-2026.

This statistical study of the wine market in India encompasses successful business strategies deployed by the key vendors. The wine market in India is fragmented and the vendors are deploying various organic and inorganic growth strategies to compete in the market.

To make the most of the opportunities and recover from post Covid-19 impact, market vendors should focus more on the growth prospects in the fast-growing segments, while maintaining their positions in the slow-growing segments.

The wine market in India forecast report offers in-depth insights into key vendor profiles. The profiles include information on the production, sustainability, and prospects of the leading companies.

The wine market share growth in India by the domestic segment will be significant during the forecast period. The demand for premium wine brands is increasing among consumers in India. Rising consumer preferences for smooth, rare, and innovative flavors of wine have increased, which has fostered the domestic production of wine. The rising demand for premium wine in recent years has led to an increase in the launch of innovative products.        

Excise takes a hit in Delhi; Political battle between AAP and BJP

• Delhi government discontinues Excise Policy 2021-22 from August 1, 2022

• 468 private liquor shops operating in the city, shut from August 1 as licenses expire on July 31

•  Mad rush at liquor vends as supply chain affected

It is a massive political battle out in the National capital between the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and the casualty has been the liquor industry. While the battle rages on, there is short supply of liquor and with private vends closing down, there is mad rush for liquor of whatever that is left.

As such Delhi was experiencing short supply of liquor for some months now, but the government did not really pull up its socks.

While the situation was such, came another shocker for the AAP government when its Chief Secretary on July 8 reported that there has been ‘deliberate and gross procedural lapses to provide post tender undue benefits to liquor licensees for the year 2021-22’. The Chief Secretary’s report also pointed out to prima facie violations of GNCTD Act 1991, Transaction of Business Rules 1993, Delhi Excise Act-2009 and Delhi Excise Rules – 2010. 

Based on the Chief Secretary’s letter and the corruption murmur in the capital, the Delhi Lieutenant Governor,
Vinai Kumar Saxena recommended a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). 

Alcobev industry at its wits end

The alcobev industry which had hailed the Delhi Government’s new Excise Policy 2021-22 is at its wits end with the political battle going on. Many industry experts had hailed the policy but had complained that implementation was the stumbling block.

AAP blames BJP for the crisis

However, the Deputy Chief Minister of Delhi, Manish Sisodia in a press conference has put all the blame on the BJP for the excise crisis, stating that private vendors were threatened by the Enforcement Directorate and the CBI, forcing them to shut shop. The BJP, on the other hand, has alleged that the Delhi Government had doled out licenses to private vendors on a quid-pro-quo basis, charging AAP of large scale corruption. The two parties are leveling charges against each other while the alcobev sector and the end-consumer has to bear it all.

Government vends would be revived: Sisodia

Manish Sisodia said that the government vends would be back from August 1 as private vends were ‘scared’ to venture into this business. The number of government vends, would not exceed 850. Stating that there was an orchestrated campaign by the BJP to fail the new excise policy, he said only 468 shops were running and that number would further reduce drastically from August 1. “Their (BJP) plan is to stop legal sale of liquor and promote illegal sale of liquor in which the BJP has stake of thousands of crores of rupees,” he said and referred to the Gujarat model where there is prohibition, but illegal liquor trade is strong, leading to illicit liquor, consequently to hooch tragedies.

Citing that the AAP government had planned it’s vends to cater to the population without exceeding the number of vends from 850, he cited how in BJP-ruled States the number of vends was higher, thus encouraging liquor trade, both legal and illegal. There was one outlet for over 4,000 people in Gurugram; one for over 12,000 people in Bangalore; one for over 700 people in Goa, while in Delhi it was one outlet for over 22,000 people.

Another reason for the BJP to derail the Delhi policy, he said was as the former feared that the state revenue would jump from `6000 crore to `9,500 crore which would mean the success of the new policy.

BJP holds Sisodia responsible

Meanwhile, the BJP has upped its ante charging the AAP led government of corruption to which the Delhi Chief Minister has termed it as ‘false and that the BJP was afraid of AAP’s growth’. The BJP said the Excise Department, which is headed by Sisodia, reportedly gave a waiver of `144.36 crore to the licensees on the tendered license fee citing pandemic as an excuse. 

Policy was to give enriching customer experience, now going back to government vends

The 2021 policy was to pave the way for a range of sweeping reforms to boost excise revenue, crack down on the liquor mafia and to improve customer experience. The Government wanted to provide a ‘decent standard of customer experience commensurate to the stature of the National Capital’ and one of the most noticeable changes was abolishing the iron grills in front of the shops. The policy amendment also allowed for online sales in sync with the ‘new normal’.  There is no mention of what would happen to online sales, considering that the supply chain itself is adversely affected.

Framework for grant of licenses

The process of granting of the license was to ensure equitable coverage so that there is no instance of un-served and underserved areas in Delhi including Non-Conforming Areas. The number of retail liquor vends had been limited to 849, including five super premium retail vends, but absolutely no Government owned liquor vends for IMFL/FL.

The policy had ended on May 31 but extended by two months offering the retail licensees chance to renew their licenses paying fees on the pro rata basis for the extra period. However, many license holders did not opt for the extension and shut shops as they were already finding it difficult to reach break even after paying high license fees, some liquor traders have claimed.

Then there was the issue of some retailers giving massive discounts up to 40% to consumers while some big players offered ‘buy one, get one free’ schemes. The government intervened and capped the discount at 25%, but some retail shops went beyond that, some in the trade have complained.

Excise policy extant vs Delhi Master Plan rules

Under the excise policy extant, each licensee had to open three stores in each municipal ward. However, out of 272 municipal wards, 100 were non-conforming where the shops could not open due to action by civic bodies against violations of Delhi Master Plan rules, officials said thus leading to inadequate liquor stores.

CIABC hopes the policy will be tweaked

As mentioned there were many good features in the policy but the government failed to implement. The Director General of the Confederation of Indian Alcoholic Beverage Companies (CIABC), Mr. Vinod Giri has said that the industry had taken up the matter with the Delhi Government to reduce the size of the zones as to make the trade viable. He said by doing that it would have reduced the financial stake of licensees, improved loss bearing capacity and prevented monopolies. He attributed the failure of the policy to bureaucratic apathy towards trade, while the policy per se was good, befitting a modern metropolis such as Delhi. He was hopeful that the policy would be tweaked, but right now the political din has taken over.

There have been many such niggling issues that the Delhi Government did not iron out, while it kept patting itself on its back that it had come up with a ‘great policy’ that eliminated corruption and sale of seconds liquor. But the reality on the ground has been different, where actions did not match the words the AAP government kept bandying about. The capital is going to be mired with this controversy for some time now. The alcobev sector awaits new directives, till then the end consumer will have to find ways to quench his or her thirst.

The Beaches and Bar destinations, the place to party

For those who love the beach, and want to party, there are many options to enjoy on the beach.

For many sun seekers, visiting the beach is the reason they go on vacation. Sitting by the ocean with your feet in the sand is the hallmark of relaxation for many of us – especially over the past few years.

Beaches are love! The soft sand under your feet, the breeze running through your hair, the waves bringing sea shells on the shore and the open sky playing with shades of orange and blue. Beach bars are even greater! The soft sand under your unsober feet, the breeze running through your drunk hair, the waves bringing the most fascinating sea shells to the shore and the open sky soothing your high soul.

“Although last year was still far from ‘normal,’ these are the beaches travellers visited and loved more than any others,” said Christine Maguire, VP, Global Media Business at Tripadvisor. “Whether you’re looking for a trip where you can continue to social distance outdoors, or are comfortable heading to spring break, beaches are the perfect place to be in 2022.

Sparkling sands, cool sea breeze, beautiful waves, delectable seafood and lots of vitamin D – a beach vacation is all that and more! And considering that India has a long coastline, there are many beautiful beach destinations you can head to for a relaxing as well as adventurous holiday. Laze around, go for strolls, click fabulous pictures, collect shells, or get your adrenaline pumping with fun water sports.

Goa is one of the most popular beach destinations in the country, thanks to the many breathtaking beaches it has. Apart from the golden sands, palm and coconut trees and delectable seafood, the beaches here are famous for hosting thrilling water sports and amazing late-night parties.

Goa’s Bar Tesouro, emerged as India’s Best Bar for 2021. Tesouro (which means treasure or treasury in Portuguese), is flanked by Fire Fly in the otherwise serene Colva beach in South Goa. Over the last two years, it has gone on to become one of the most talked about drinking holes in the country, much loved for its cocktails including the famous Midnight Brekkie (made using gin, vermouth, watermelon, peanut butter, and strawberry compote). The bar was founded by Donovan Vaz, scion of a Goa liquor distribution family, who quit his racing car career to become a restaurateur, along with mixologist Arijit Bose.

Bar Tesouro’s ascension is part of the surging popularity of Goan bars over the last few years. As many as four others including Escobar, Miguel’s, Gunpowder, and For The Record Vinyl Bar made into the Top 30 bars list for 2021. Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore each have six bars each in the list. Kolkata has four, Gurgaon three, and Pune and Hyderabad have one bar each.

Surrounded by Bay of Bengal and Andaman Sea, Andaman and Nicobar Islands are among the finest beach destinations in India. Pristine blue waters, sparkling silky sands and lush green vegetation attract beach lovers in droves. Besides relaxing in beach cottages, huts and shacks, and soaking in natural beauty, adventure enthusiasts can try different water sports here.

Lakshadweep, the smallest union territory in India, has 36 islands and some of the most stunning beaches. Apart from unique natural beauty, the islands have many amazing spots that attract tourists from far and wide.

Located about 140 km from Goa, Gokarna is perfect for those looking for something offbeat. The beaches here are beautiful, calm as well as affordable. The serene surroundings, coupled with many fun activities, make Gokarna one of the best beach destinations in India.

A popular beach destination near Goa, Karwar is a must-visit. The coastal town is located at the confluence of the Arabian Sea and River Kali. Tall palm trees, golden sands and pristine waters accentuate the beauty of the beaches here and make them ideal for nature lovers and peace seekers.

Popularly known as the ‘Queen of the Arabian Sea’, Kochi or Cochin is one of the best beach destinations in India. This small coastal city is peppered with picturesque beaches that serve as perfect retreat from urban din.

Dotted with beautiful palm-lined beaches, the union territory Daman and Diu is a popular getaway in the western part of India. It is located near Gujarat and frequented by those seeking peace and quiet. The horse-shoe shaped Nagoa Beach in Diu is one of the best beaches for swimming in India.

Located on the shore of Bay of Bengal, Puri is known for some of the best beaches in India. Puri Beach is especially known for its wild waves.

Mahabalipuram majorly famous for its ancient temples and UNESCO World Heritage Sites, this historical town in South India is also one of the best beach destinations in India. Mahabalipuram lies on the shore of the Bay of Bengal and is a popular weekend getaway for people in Chennai, thanks to its proximity to the city.

Marina Beach, which is the longest beach in India and the second-longest in the world, is in Chennai. The sight of the evening sun from the beach, slowly disappearing into the ocean, is an awesome experience.

One of the four metropolis siblings of India, Chennai was known for being cautious about adopting the ever-popular trend of catering to the new age party-goers as the rest of India. But as the years went by in the last decade, Chennai became a hub for a multicultural and more importantly a very hardworking workforce of Indian youth. To meet their needs of letting loose after a hard day’s of work, a lot of pubs, clubs and bars – both fancy and commonplace now dot the capital city of Tamil Nadu.

Visakhapatnam, popularly known as Vizag, is one of the best beach destinations in India. The city is located on the east coast and boasts pristine seashores, sparkling blue waters and lush greenery.

Boasting a long coastline with many serene beaches, Mumbai is a delightful destination for travel enthusiasts. Juhu Beach, one of the most famous beaches in India, is in the heart of Mumbai.

The darling city of high-end parties, nights refuse to fizzle out here in this cosmopolitan giant. The city is especially known for the Hindi film industry, Bollywood. Juhu and Bandra are two of the most important spots where the crowd comes to every night, but other than these there are other parts of the city where partying is an option.

Located on the Konkan coastline, Ganpatipule is one of the best beach destinations in India for nature lovers and serenity seekers. The town has a long shoreline with many pristine beaches.

Kolkata is a wonderful destination for different kinds of travellers. And if you love beaches, this populous metro city has some beautiful ones along its 158 km long coastline.

Once known as the party capital of India, the party spirit of Kolkata took a hit after several political uprisings in 2010. However, it is only for so long that you can put a cap on the nightlife of Kolkata. Kolkata now hosts a range of artistic bars, old-school restaurants and gorgeous Instagram-able cafes. The city’s vibrancy of culture, art and history is so unique to Kolkata that can’t be seen anywhere else in India. So let your hair down and paint the town red in this beautiful city of artists and dreamers!

Fondly known as Pondi or Pondy, Pudducherry (formerly Pondicherry) is a little town with a big heart. Formerly a French colony, this beach town is known for its calm vibes, low cost liquor and delectable cuisine. Groups of friends, couples, old timers and small and large families alike, take to the streets and sit by Promenade Beach to watch the waves crash at the shore. The plethora of street food carts stationed across the town cater to the hungry mouths after sundown.

In terms of nightclubs, the city does have many to offer as it still continues to grow in that regard. And almost all of them strictly function only till midnight. But many backpacker friendly hostels and stays allow their patrons to party later than midnight and have a great time.

This small and serene union territory is known for some of the best beaches in India for honeymooners. You can unwind on the popular beaches here and spend quality time with your partner.

Nepal bans import of liquor, among other items, to rein in economic crisis

India’s neighbours – Sri Lanka and Nepal – are in deep economic crisis. The crisis is a bit similar as both countries largely depend on revenues from tourism and that was severely affected due to the pandemic. Unlike Sri Lanka, Nepal is not that debt-ridden. Nevertheless, the Himalayan country is witnessing unprecedented inflation and its economy is just rolling down the mountains with no immediate relief in sight.

Hence, the Nepal Government headed by Sher Bahadur Deuba has initiated certain measures, including ban on imported cars, liquor, playing cards and nearly a dozen other “non-essential” goods to address the widening trade deficit and declining foreign currency reserves. Nepal’s central bank has said reserves are only sufficient to cover just over six months of imports, down from 10 months in mid-2021. The Finance Minister Janardhan Sharma has stated that the situation is nothing like Sri Lanka’s and that Nepal is in a “slightly better position” than Colombo in terms of production and revenue. He admitted, that although the forex reserves are stressful due to escalated imports of luxury items, Nepal is not burdened with foreign debts like Sri Lanka. Nepal’s trade deficit rose by nearly 34.5% on-year to $9.35 billion in mid-March, while forex reserves have fallen below $10 billion. Hence, the ban on some imported goods, including liquor.

Shri Sher Bahadur Deuba

“This is a short-term measure taken to prevent the economic condition of the country from going bad,” said ministry joint secretary Narayan Prasad Regmi. “The government has decided to curb imports of certain luxurious and non-essential goods as the recent surge in imports has put pressure on our economy.” The central bank had already verbally directed private lenders not to issue letters of credit for luxury goods earlier in April.

India major exporter to Nepal

In 2020, Nepal imported $5.58M in hard liquor, becoming the 142nd largest importer of hard liquor in the world. In the same year, hard liquor was the 228th most imported product in Nepal and the imports are primarily from India ($2.64M), Singapore ($1.76M), United Arab Emirates ($786k), United Kingdom ($169k), and Malaysia ($140k).

While emergency restrictions on imports of high-end vehicles might temporarily bolster Nepal’s balance of payments, the fact that imported wines and spirits represent less than 0.2% of the country’s total import value suggests that the ban will have negligible economic impact, state some experts. The heavy taxes on imported wine and spirits generate almost $55 million in the form of excise and customs,

The fear is that ban on imported liquor may lead to ‘bootlegging’. Nepal has a significant informal alcohol market. According to research by the World Health Organisation and the Nepal Health Research Council, at least 66% of all alcohol consumed in Nepal was either illegal or home-produced, making for an illicit market that is more than twice the size of the legal market.

Experts said that prohibiting the import of international spirits and wines will only compound this problem, increasing the share of illicit alternatives through smuggling across borders into Nepal and counterfeiting of popular, premium international brands.

Local brews

Locally, Nepal is known for some brews that mostly are made in homes. Rakshi is the Nepali term for a traditional distilled alcoholic beverage. Its alcohol content is around 45%. That is to say as a whiskey. Nepalese drink this homemade drink during the festivals.

Production and consumption of alcohol is controlled by the Madira Aain 2031. License is required to sell alcohol. However, it permits brewing and consumption for household purposes without a license. Gongo is made from scraps of ugali and maize, fermented over several days, and then distilled through a jerry-can of cold water into a soda bottle. This has hints of ethanol, but surprisingly palatable.

Tongba is the drink of the Limbu people of Eastern Nepal and also referred as Tibetan Hot Beer. And then there is Chaang which is made from a selection of cereals.

In 2020, Nepal exported $385k in hard liquor, making it the 123rd largest exporter of hard liquor in the world. During the same year, hard liquor was the 106th most exported product in Nepal. The main destination of hard liquor exports are to Japan ($231k), South Korea ($64.1k), Hong Kong ($53.6k), Macau ($20.4k), and Belgium ($13.5k).

The fastest growing export markets for hard liquor of Nepal between 2019 and 2020 were Macau ($20.4k), South Korea ($18.4k), and Japan ($8.41k).

Have you been to these microbreweries in Bengaluru? If not, you should

In the late 1980s, when Ramada Pub off Church Street, next to the erstwhile popular Premier Bookshop, started vending ‘draught’ or ‘draft’ beer in mugs, it signalled the arrival of not just Bangalore’s but arguably India’s s first-ever pub, thanks to the ingenuity of Hari Khoday, who was known more for his XXX Rum then. A mug of beer cost only Rs. 2.75 paise with peanuts thrown in. It was a place where you could guzzle beer, not from a bottle, but in a mug, dispensed from a tap, connected to barrels of brewed beer got from the distillery. The concept of microbrewery came in much later. Ramada Pub was a tiny place where you jostled for space and guzzled beer with some loud music in the background.

Around the same time, The Pub, renamed later as NASA (guess one got spaced out just drinking beer then) got launched on Church Street and the music and the dim lighting gave fillip to beer drinkers to guzzle more. The Pub drew the upwardly mobile and then came Black Cadillac on Residency road which played rock music and also had regular gigs. I remember Vijay Mallya hosting some liquor-based events here for the media. These were happening places. Then there was Peco’s, Scottish Pub, Underground, Downtown and the like, all in and around Brigade Road, Residency Road, M.G. Road, becoming the city’s ‘beerholes’, if one may coin that term. And then from nowhere pubs started mushrooming across the hotspots of the city, earning Bangalore the moniker ‘Pub Capital of India’.

The city is a cauldron of cosmopolitan culture, with the tech crowd descending from all over the country and elsewhere too. The techies gave Bangalore a new edge and soon, pubs had to re-invent themselves, and voila there was the birth of microbreweries. The pubs of now are very distinct, trying to cater to the hip crowd, setting trends in not just the social drinking habit, but in cuisine, in music, in events and what-have-you. At one time, pub crawl was quite popular, now not so. With an estimated over 500 pubs in the city, these ‘beer-holes’ have to be up there to cater to the discerning and demanding beer connoisseurs and they are, mind it. From pubs to microbreweries, Bangalore or Bengaluru has indeed come a long way from the days of Ramada. Here are some of the new age breweries you can check out to get a taste of the beer world.

Geist Brewing Factory, the pioneer

Among the first to come up with a brewing factory has been Geist. It was in 2006, Geist was incorporated, thanks to Narayan and Paul and later Mohan, software guys who plunge to brew some of the finest beers Bangalore has known. Initially they made 300-400 batches of beer and then when the microbreweries in the city became ‘in’, Geist was right there. When The Biere Club opened in 2013 and later Byg Brewski, Geist became the catalyst. As the pubs grew, Geist set up its own brewery and supplies draft beer to Bootlegger, Hangover and Tipsy Bull, among many other restaurants and pubs.

The name ‘Geist’ comes from the German word ‘zeitgeist’, which is used to define “the general intellectual, moral, and cultural climate of an era”. The sentiment perfectly captures the evolution of Indian beer drinkers, and the resulting rise of the discerning Indian beer enthusiast and you bet, Bengalureans, by birth or otherwise, fall in that category.

To spread their love for beer, they set up their own Geist Brewing Factory – Restaurant and Beer Garden on Old Madras Road, serving their signature crafted beers – Geist Weiss Guy, Geist Kamacitra, Geist Rauch-a-Fella, Geist Marzen, Geist Golden Ale, Geist Witty Wit, Geist Stouter Space stout and Geist Uncle Dunkel. The ambience here is just about perfect to down a beer or two under the shade of a huge banyan tree.

The Geist Rauch-a-Fella is a smoked wheat beer, inspired by the famous smoke beers of Bamberg, while the Geist Stouter Space has delightful notes of chocolate and aromas of vanilla pods. Inspired by Luponic Distortion from Firestone Walker, the Geist Golden Ale series is designed to showcase different hop varieties. The best way to find out how all their beers taste is to go check it out, right?

The Biere Club, welcome to the club

When it opened in 2010, it started a new trend in the pub city – microbrewing and it caught on like raging fire. The Biere Club located, coincidentally on Vittal Mallya road (the man who built United Breweries, later Vijay Mallya gave Kingfisher global branding) got Bengalureans interested in microbrewing, vending beers including wheat, stout, lager and Belgian style ale. They have even experimented with ‘ragi’, locally grown millet, but one must try out the combination of strawberry & vanilla, lemon & chilli and bayleaf. The Moscow Mule created with ale and ginger ale is a drink that finds favour during summers. The Biere Club has another branch in the IT belt, called The Biere Street.

Byg Brewski, Asia’s largest brewpub

This is supposedly Asia’s largest premium brewpub – Byg Brewski Brewing Company or simply Byg Brewski, which is located in Hennur, away from the central business district. It is massive, with a sprawling 65,000 square feet of space which can seat about 3,000 people at a time in five different experience zones. Truly, the experience makes people come back for more and not just for the home-made craft beers. The ambience is an experience in itself with lush greenery and a lake within and a waterfall to boot. The microbrewery serves some amazing beers including Byg Wit (a medium bodied beer, low in bitterness with fruity esters); Byg Hefeweizen, a Bavarian style wheat beer; Byg Triple, a Belgian style strong ale; New Zealand Pilsner; Byg IPA, West Coast style IPA brewed with American hops; Coffee Chocolate Stout, a dark rich decadent stout and many more for one to quench one’s thirst and to experience some of the best brews this side of the world.

Arbor Brewing Company, everything American about it

Decade-old Arbor Brewing Company or simply ABC is supposedly India’s first American craft brewery. This has origins in Arbor Brewing Company, founded by Matt Greff who pioneered American craft beer revolution at Ann Arbor, Michigan. Having tasted American craft beer while studying at the University of Michigan, Gaurak Sikka headed straight to the ‘Pub Capital’ to launch ABC in 2012 and there has been no looking back. In 2018, Sikka took Arbor Brewing Company to Saligao in Goa and both places are rocking for their American craft beer and everything American. The wooden interiors give the place an authentic look, while what can one say about the beers ABC vends – Bangalore Bliss; Phat Abbot Tripel; Smooth Criminal; Rare Earth Lager; Michael Faricy Stout among others. ABC is the place to try highly innovative beer cocktails such as Wheat on Wheat (Ketel one vodka with mango juice, orgeat syrup and Bangalore Bliss); Chocolate Stout Old Fashioned (Michael Faricy’s Irish Stout, Johnnie Walker Red Label stirred together with chocolate and a hint of chilly; and summer refreshment in the form of 3 Spiced Mules (Pineapple and fresh ginger with Johnnie Walker Red Label served tall with Phat Abbot Tripel). ABC offers a full bar and there is a dance floor for one to dance through the night!

Toit, popular hangout

From night to Toit, it’s a beer walk. Toit in Indiranagar is an out and out brew pub, brewing a revolutionary culture, as they word it. With the promise of some bodacious brews, fabulous foods and a supreme brew pub experience, Toit has gone beyond that. In fact, the revolution has moved to Mumbai and Pune too. Toit claims all their beers are made only with natural ingredients; imported malts, the hippest of hops and the most eukaryotic of yeast, never using any enzymes, chemicals, colouring agents, artificial flavouring or preservatives, “because we want every sip to be nothing short of wholesome, heavenly, beer”. Using the unique and exotic flavours of local fruits, rice, wheat, and spices, this is Toit’s contribution to the world’s great craft beers such as Toit Nitro Stout (a very dark, full-bodied, roasty, malty ale); Toit TinTin (Belgian style fruity ale); Toit India Pale Ale (a bitter, highly hopped, English style ale); Toit Hefeweizen (a full bodied refreshing Bavarian); Toit Basmati Blonde (a light, crisp and refreshing ale, they call it a love child of India’s Basmati rice from which it gets its lightness, colour and floral aroma); and the city’s own Benga-Lager-U (a clean lager with complex maltiness and subtle spicy notes). Said to be one of the most popular brew haunts, it gives a high like no other.

Windmills, energising in a gentle way

Celebrating its decade-young journey in microbrewing is Windmills Craft Works in Whitefield. Known simply as Windmills, it is an upscale pub which has a jazz theatre where artistes from around the world have performed. On tap, they vend Hefeweizen, a Golden Ale, A Stout, 1-2 IPAs and New England IPA. For the tech crowd which makes up its clientele, Windmills offers a ‘boutique’ experience and the techies swear by it, not minding its ‘pricey’ menu. On the terrace, it serves North Indian fare, totally high end offering with a spectacular view of the sprawling tech city.

XOOX Brewmill, its Zooks, ok?

Coming to Koramangala which is peppered with some of the best restaurants and watering holes, there is XOOX Brewmill (don’t know how they came to pronounce it Zooks) which vends artisanal beers and cocktails. Spread across three floors, Zooks, is a live craft brewing space, converted from an old factory. The brewery offers eight styles of craft beers and signature cocktails like the XOOX G&T — a gin, martini bianco, Campari, red wine reduction with grape, apple juice, and tonic water, the C&C (Coffee & Conversation) — gin, black coffee, rose water, orange bitters, ginger ale and The Asian Wife, an interesting cocktail made with vodka, lemongrass syrup, lychee juice, lime juice and lemongrass haze.

BierGarten, so al-fresco

When in Koramangala, check out BierGarten, a sprawling 14,000 sq. ft and an airy, al-fresco seating across two floors. To go with this perfect setting, they’ve got about eight beer variants on tap with traditional German-style Hefeweizen, a dark Dunkel and Amber Lager being the most moving ones. They also have an outlet in Whitefield and a menu that boasts European-style cuisine.

Bier Library, for the ‘beerworm’

From BierGarten, we hop to the Bier Library, which has a beautiful open space and seating with the view of a koi pond located bang in the middle. There’s a cozy reading corner if you want your reading to transport you to another world, yes, of course, drinking the well-crafted beer and that includes a Red Ale, a Spicy Wheat Beer, and a Double IPA. They are also quite well known for their signatures that include Wittle Wit, Ale-O-Drama and Further Lager.

Druid Garden, you will like their potions

Moving to North Bangalore, which is just about seeing some fancy restaurants and pubs coming up, right perched on top is Druid Garden which has a built-in microbrewery that is run by a Chez Brew Master. Naturally, the ingredients are all sourced from Czech Republic and Germany and use recipes that have been tried and tested for years. Since they’ve opened, they’ve introduced 6 beers – Czech Pilsner, Bohemian Dunkel, Indian Pale Ale and a Basmati Lager among others.

District 6, zoned out

From one end of the city, we move to District 6, an upscale microbrewery that offers both fine dining and classic brews. With rustic and modern interiors and a blend of refined fresh German style brews, District 6 is a quaint brewery where you won’t have to shout out while in conversation with your drinking partner, the music just being right, not raucous. The microbrewery offers European, Indian and Chinese cuisine, but the beers are German-style. The brewery features open-air ducts and brewing equipment. True to its number 6, the brewery has a beer tank area; a brewery area; outdoor seating; front kitchen; public and private dining spaces.

Bengaluru is a trend setter and people from all over the world converge here for its cosmopolitan outlook and culture, unmindful of traffic. The city is peppered with so many watering holes, that one tends to forget the potholes, the chaotic traffic and work-related stress. Cheers to ‘namma Bengaluru’

Indri Trini bags ‘best Indian Single Malt’ @ World Whiskey Awards

Indri Trini is making waves in its nascent years. The new Indian Single Malt, from the stables of Piccadily Distilleries launched in 2021, has been rated as the ‘Best Indian Single Malt’ across all categories by the World Whiskey Awards 2022.

In the first round of World Whiskey Awards Indri Trini won the category winner tag of Gold. Paul John’s Mithuna and Nirvana was tagged silver and bronze respectively. In the second round, Indri Trini walked away with the title of ‘Best Indian Single Malt’ from India across all categories irrespective of being single cask, cask strength or age.

Awakens five senses

True to its name Indri Trini, the Single Malt awakens all the five senses – smell, taste, touch, sight and sound. Indri or Indirya in Sanskrit refers to these five senses. Indri is a quaint little village situated in the catchment area of River Yamuna, nestled in the foothills of the mighty Himalayas. Indri is the place where Piccadily has one of its distilleries, the other two located in Patiala and Bawal.

Indri Trini is truly the new star that the alcobev world is awakening to. Launched recently, its inaugural expression has bagged some of the most prestigious awards globally. Indri has not only got the Indian Single Malt enthusiasts excited, but also has been generating a lot of attention in the international arena.

Indri backed by a mammoth stock of 40,000 barrels with the distillery churning out 12,000 litres of malt spirit every day is all set for the long haul.

The awards have encouraged the distillery to excel. In its debut year, it has also bagged

● Category Winner, No Age statement at World Whiskey Awards 2022 @www.whiskymag.com

● Winner Asian Whisky of the year at Dom Roskrow’s New Wizards Awards 2022 (that is Best whiskey from India/Taiwan/Japan) https://www.newwizards.co.uk/

● Silver, with a 91 score at The International Wine & Spirit Competition 2022

Dom Roskrow, a spirits writer, editor and consultant specialising in whisky, said, “This was one of the most competitive categories in this year’s Awards, with several gold medal winners competing for the title. This, though, was a revelation and joins a growing band of wonderful Indian whiskies. It is matured in ex sherry, ex bourbon and French oak casks so unsurprisingly there’s a lot going on- berry fruits and red peanuts, lemon, grapefruit and tropical notes, all held in place by freshly shaved wood tannins and soft spice.”

Another feather in the cap is the Silver with 91 points at the International Wine & Spirit Competition. Tasted by the connoisseurs across the globe such as Ivan Dixon, Dawn Davies MW, Andrea Dionori, Jeremy Stephens and Ludo Ducrocq have all praised Indri stating that it is clean, malty nose with oak sweetness and hints of tropical fruits. They have said it is tannic, yet has delicate mouth feel revealing prunes, figs and dates giving it an earthy finish.

Trini, the Three Wood

Trini – The Three Wood, is curated by the distillery’s master craftsmen. It is distilled using the traditional Indian 6 row barley, matured in selected barrels, and blended carefully to bring out the individual contribution of each wood (first fill bourbon, ex-French wine and PX sherry casks) without overshadowing the original whisky profile. Indri Trini is bottled at 46% ABV and is a non-chill filtered whisky.

Nose: Hints of black tea, caramelised pineapple with a whiff of oak from the barrel comes forward, followed by vanilla and honey from the bourbon oak and traces of spiced tannins from the European oak, finally topped up with vinous raisin and sweet sherry notes. Gentle and mellow on the nose.

Taste: Elegant richness, smooth and warm on the sides of the mouth. Gentle spice and wood characters come through, followed by nutty flavours and hints of burnt pineapple, citrus and raisins.

Finish: A subtle and balanced finish where each flavour compliments one another without dominating. A smooth and long after taste with sweet fruity flavours coming up from the warmth of the throat, lingering long after.

The extreme temperature of the Northern plains helps the malt spirit mature faster inside the barrels, naturally. This also means the angels happily take away their share, leaving behind sweet tropical flavours and rich natural colour. The distillery proudly uses no fossil fuels to generate its power needs.

Piccadily Distilleries growing from strength to strength

Thanks to the vast experience, Piccadily Distilleries have been able to touch one milestone after other. Having started in 1953 as a liquor distribution firm as Kedar Nath & Sons, in 1967 it formally registered as Piccadily. The brand has only grown from strength to strength. In 2008, it became the first Indian company to receive permission to produce alcohol from sugar cane juice and in 2009 it imported oak barrels from the United States and began distilling spirits from cane juice. In 2010, the founders’ envisioned the creation of a distillery on par with those of Scotland. It commissioned Raj Industries to build what would become of the largest malt plants in India.

Importantly, the company embraced in 2018 a new philosophy towards producing premium, high-end spirits that adhere to EU and Scottish standards of production while phasing out the molasses-based whiskeys of the past. In 2020, it launched Whistler blended whiskey and conceived Camikara rum – representing ‘liquid gold’. The following year it launched Indri single malt whiskey and this year it released Camikara rum, India’s first sipping rum.

The malt distillery at Indri, located off the famous Grand Trunk Road (which linked Central Asia to the Indian Sub continent for almost 2500 years) was set up in 2012. The distillery is also home to 6 traditional copper pot stills (designed and made in India) and 40,000 barrels. Today, it is India’s largest independent malt manufacturer and seller of malt spirits. The distillery is rapidly expanding its warehousing capacity to hold another 30,000 barrels. A new visitor center is also under construction and will be open for visitors by the end of the year.

The story of Godawan, The Bird, and the artisanal Single Malt Whisky it inspires

Diageo launches Godawan, its artisanal single malty whisky, set to redefine the world of sustainable, modern and conscious Indian luxury.

Godawan, the Great Indian Bustard, a regal, majestic avian… once found all over India, is now nearing extinction, and finds its last refuge in Rajasthan.

Rajasthan, a land of stark contrasts… an arid land of extremes which envelops within it some of the harshest weather conditions. However, culturally, it also preserves and conserves with delicate care and passion everything that exists on its land – whether it is the fauna such as Godawan, its flora such as barley, its innovation in the form of step wells, or its people – known across the world for their thriving, colourful and intricate arts & craft.

The flourishing and world-renowned arts and craft of Rajasthan, such as sandstone and marble art, are a testament to “beauty in scarcity” and crafting exceptional things of beauty from what nature provides.

Godawan, Diageo India’s artisanal Single Malt Whisky, is crafted in, its provenance inspired by, and dedicated wholeheartedly to this Rajasthani ethos – of beauty in scarcity, and sustainability. The heat of over 100°F combined with six-row barley, that requires lesser water, helps create a whisky with an incredible depth of flavour, and a rich and complex character. The aridity means the “Angel’s share” is higher than average in Godawan – leaving behind a whisky with stunning taste profiles, which are finished in special casks selectively curated with Indian botanicals.

Diageo proudly call themselves “The Spirit of the Desert” – the spirit of Rajasthan with its culture, people and ecology which permeates in the character and flavour of their liquid. With Godawan, they doff their hats to the artisans and the innovators who are defining modern Indian luxury that is sustainable, that is ecologically conscious, and truly nurturing of the land it comes from.

Speaking about Godawan, a Single Malt which will change the way world perceives Indian whiskies, Shweta Jain, Chief Business Development Officer, Diageo, says, “When it comes to premiumisation, we, at Diageo India, believe in constant disruptions to up the ante. We believe that our consumers deserve better. We also know that modern affluent Indians are looking for luxury that makes them feel rooted and enriched. Godawan is a product borne out of this belief. It will help our consumers discover an Indianness hitherto unknown – rich and meaningful. Godawan – the spirit of the desert – will redefine the way Indian single malts are perceived globally with its truly world-class story and flavour.

Vikram Damodaran, Chief Innovation Officer, Diageo India, says, “Godawan, Diageo India’s innovation in artisanal single malt whisky, is proof that India is the next emerging destination for quality single malts as well as artisanal craft spirits. Each bottle of Godawan can be traced back to a cluster of barley farms in Rajasthan, ensuring transparency and authenticity of the product and gets its provenance from extreme temperatures which lend it a rare & subtle complexity, and a unique taste. The whisky is not just a testament to the region’s craftsmanship and ingenuity, but also commitment to sustainability and preservation of the land it comes from – and it begins with the Great Indian Bustard.”

Godawan is a labour of love, for our roots, for our heritage, for our land. And it is the embodiment of our commitment – to the conservation of the Great Indian Bustard, and to our communities of artisans and craftspeople. With only a few Great Indian Bustards left in the world, every bottle we make contributes to the conservation of this exquisite bird.

Godawan, The Spirit of the Desert. A story waiting to be told.

The unique whisky-making process involves: Slow-trickle distillation from locally sourced six-row barley; Uniquely matured at temperatures reaching 100°F; Finished in special casks selectively curated with Indian botanicals Godavan will be available in Rajasthan and Delhi to begin with and will then be subsequently available in the rest of India. It will also be available in Dubai from April onwards.

Oh Summer Beer

A summer beer can be just about any style, as long as it’s crisp and refreshing and makes you never want to go back inside again. They range from light and fruity to hoppy and complex, but the best summer beer is the one you come back to again and again as soon as the temperature crawls above 60 degrees.

The global beer market size reached US$ 640.2 billion in 2021. Looking forward, IMARC Group expects the market to reach US$ 750.3 billion by 2027, exhibiting at a CAGR of 2.7% during 2022-2027, according to a new report by IMARC Group.

Beer is a fermented alcoholic beverage that is made by brewing and fermenting starches derived from cereal grains. It is flavoured using hops that not only add a buttery flavour to the beverage, but also act as a natural preservative. Apart from this, other flavourings, such as herbs and fruits, are also added to attribute a specific flavour and fragrance to the drink. It is a rich source of niacin, folate, riboflavin, pyridoxine, potassium and magnesium.

Moderate consumption of beer is widely associated with numerous health benefits and aids in maintaining blood pressure levels, preventing kidney stone formations, and minimising the chances of developing cardiovascular disorders, including angina, stroke and heart attack. Owing to this, it is gaining widespread popularity across the globe.

Global Beer Market Trends:

One of the major factors influencing the global beer market is the rapid spread of the Coronavirus disease (Covid-19) and the consequent social distancing norms and lockdowns imposed in several countries as a control measure. The decrease in the number of social gatherings is projected to lead to a decline in the on-premise consumption and sales of beer in bars, restaurants, pubs and public events. However, this trend will to be offset by the demand for to-go packs as well as home delivery services, mainly through online platforms. Another factor driving the market is the widespread preference for specialty beer among individuals. These beers are brewed to a classic style by incorporating different flavours, such as honey, chocolate, ginger and sweet potatoes. This adds a distinct flavour and aroma, which further adds innovative and eccentric flavours to the drinks. The growing inclination toward craft beer is also accelerating the market growth. Since microbreweries produce portioned amounts of beer, they lay enhanced emphasis on the flavour, quality and brewing techniques as compared to large-scale commercialised breweries.

The potential for beer growth in India is strong as well. AB InBev, for example, began brewing Budweiser in the market back in 2010. In January 2021, Kirin Holdings announced an investment of $30 million in New Delhi-based B9 Beverages, the maker of the Indian craft beer Bira. IWSR anticipates beer consumption in India to return to pre-Covid-19 levels by the end of 2023, continuing on its growth path from there.

Expanding beyond beer

As consumers moved to the at-home occasion, the trend for convenience has helped to shape purchasing behaviours. In markets such as the US, the ready-to-drink (RTD) category, which includes hard seltzers, has been taking share from beer.
RTDs provide a growing opportunity for brewers to diversify their product portfolios. Indeed, Heineken entered the hard seltzer category in September 2020, with the launch of Pure Piraña in Mexico and New Zealand. In the US, Heineken partnered with AriZona to launch the AriZona SunRise Hard Seltzer in October 2020. AB InBev states that Bud Light Seltzer is their leading innovation in the US market, with over 75% of volume being incremental to their portfolio. In fact, 2021 was the first year in which a hard seltzer commercial (Bud Light Seltzer) aired during the Super Bowl.

Malt-based RTDs are currently dominant in the US owing to their taxation base, and brewers they are in prime position to take advantage. Elsewhere, the alcohol base of choice varies by country, driven by consumer preference and local alcohol tax structures.

Changes in purchasing behaviour propel e-commerce

As with the wider beverage alcohol industry, Covid-19 has propelled the value of the alcohol e-commerce channel. Heineken, for example, reported that Beerwulf, its direct-to-consumer platform in Europe, nearly doubled its revenues in 2020, while in the UK, its revenues tripled. Online sales of its home-draught systems grew as well.

Beer has traditionally under-traded online, primarily due to the channel offering lower margins. However, this will change as consumers continue to buy more groceries online and beer is included in the weekly shop. This is especially true in the US, where IWSR expects sales of online beer to grow rapidly as supermarket chains increasingly invest in the channel.
Online beer sales hold the greatest market share in countries including Japan, the UK and the US. From a lower base, online beer sales will also grow rapidly over the next five years in markets such as Israel and Nigeria.

The entrepreneurial spirit of small-batch players

Craft breweries, which tend to be more dependent on the on-premise, have propelled interest in the global beer category and revitalised its fortunes in many markets. IWSR believes that the entrepreneurial spirit of the sector will mean that craft brewery regeneration will be quick. In the US, for example, IWSR has seen the pandemic lead to a “buy local” approach amongst some consumers, which will benefit small-batch players.

Innovation in the no/low space reignites the category

No- and low-alcohol beer is a bright spot for the category, as moderation and wellness trends continue to resonate with consumers. IWSR data shows that, to date, most volume has come from no-alcohol rather than low-alcohol beer across 10 key markets.

Broadly, low-alcohol beer is giving way to no-alcohol offerings particularly in markets such as Australia, France and the UK. Spain, for example, is seeing a shift from low- to no-alcohol beers, as consumers seek healthier choices and view the newer 0.0% brands as more modern. In South Africa, investment from Heineken and the emergence of a craft segment has helped to generate interest in the no-alcohol category.

While no-alcohol beer has existed for decades, in markets like the US, no-alcohol beer has premiumised through the release of no-alcohol versions of non-lager styles, long the domain of no-alcohol beer. More recent no-alcohol styles, such as IPAs, stouts or porters, are starting to make a real impression, driven particularly by new challenger brands, many of which are not linked to traditional brewing. The recent no-alcohol extension of Guinness – despite some teething issues – will help to underline that no-alcohol beers are no longer the sole domain of lagers.

While several key beer players continue to steer the no/low beer category, the market is fragmented with a number of smaller brands vying to establish themselves as market leaders in this space. The segment is likely to become even more of a focus for smaller craft producers who are able to bring a diverse range of products to the market in future.

India and Australia sign an interim trade deal

The India-Australia Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement (“IndAus ECTA”) was signed by Shri Piyush Goyal, Union Minister of Commerce and Industry, Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution and Textiles, Government of India and Mr. Dan Tehan, the Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, Government of Australia in a virtual ceremony, in the presence of Prime Minister of India, Shri. Narendra Modi and the Prime Minister of Australia, Mr. Scott Morrison recently.
In his opening remarks during the Joint Press Conference with Mr. Dan Tehan after the signing in ceremony, Shri Goyal said the Australia – India ECTA truly symbolises our Ekta (Unity) & the spirit of cooperation. Terming it a historic day for India, as it is the 1st agreement with a developed country after a decade, Shri Goyal said our relationship rests on the pillars of trust & reliability, aptly reflected in our deepening geostrategic engagement through the Quad & Supply Chain Resilience Initiative.

Stating that India and Australia are natural partners, connected by shared values of democracy, rule of law & transparency apart from our shared love for Cricket, Food & Movies, Shri Goyal said Ind-Aus ECTA is expected to almost double bilateral trade to about $50 billion in five years. He said there is great potential for Indian exports in sectors like textiles & apparel, leather, hospitality, gems & jewelry, engineering goods & pharma, IT, Startups etc. Australia has committed to key areas of India’s interest in Services like Education, IT, Business, Professional Services, and Health & Audio-visual while Australia will also provide Post-study work visas for students, the quota for Chefs & Yoga instructors, and Work & Holiday visas for young professionals.

Tariffs will be eliminated on more than 85% of Australian goods exports to India (valued at more than $12.6 billion a year), rising to almost 91% (valued at $13.4 billion) over 10 years.

Australian households and businesses will also benefit, with 96% of Indian goods imports entering Australia duty-free on entry into force.

India is the world’s largest democracy and the world’s fastest-growing major economy, with GDP projected to grow at 9% in 2021-22 and 2022-23 and 7.1% in 2023-24.

Shri Goyal said the Agreement provides adequate safeguards to prevent circumvention, fuse to protect against sudden surge in import of goods; for the 1st time, mechanism included for compulsory review after 15 years. Underlining that the Ind-Aus ECTA will not only herald a new era of trade & commercial ties, but also take the relationship between our nations to greater heights. Shri Goyal said he will be visiting Australia in the coming days, to take the ECTA to people.

Like true brothers, both nations supported each other during Covid-19. Ind-Aus ECTA covers the entire gamut of the trade & commercial relations, removing trade barriers & opening a plethora of opportunities in both goods & services. Expected that with ECTA, the present bilateral trade for merchandise & services of $27.5 bn (2021), may reach a level of about $45 to $50 billion in the next five years.

It is expected to create new employment opportunities, raise living standards and enhance the overall welfare of the peoples of both the countries. Additional employment generation is expected to be 10 lakhs within the next five years.
Australian wine exporters, however, will have to wait for the full benefits, with tariffs on wine bottles with a minimum import price of US$15 expected to reduce from 150% to 75% when the agreement enters into force. This tariff will then reduce to 25% over 10 years.

Tariffs on wine with a minimum import price of $5 per bottle will be reduced from 150% to 100% on entry into force and subsequently to 50% over 10 years.

In services, Australia has offered 135 sub-sectors to India, while India offered 103 sub-sectors to Australia. Adequate safeguards have been provided to prevent circumvention or diversion of goods from any non-party. Provision for bilateral safeguard measures to protect against a sudden surge in import of goods. For the 1st time, a clause is introduced for a special review mechanism that provides for compulsory review after 15 years in a time-bound manner.

“The IndAus ECTA, encompassing trade in goods and services, is a balanced and equitable trade agreement, which will further cement the already deep, close and strategic relations between the two countries and will significantly enhance the bilateral trade in goods and services, create new employment opportunities, raise living standards and improve the general welfare of the peoples of the two countries,” the commerce ministry said recently in a press release.

In 2020, India was Australia’s seventh-largest trading partner, with two-way trade valued at $24.3 billion, and sixth largest goods and services export market, valued at $16.9 billion. Our Government’s goal is to lift India into our top three export markets by 2035, and to make India the third largest destination in Asia for outward Australian investment.

The Australia-India Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement (AI ECTA) signed recently will further strengthen that relationship.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the agreement would create enormous trade diversification opportunities for Australian producers and service providers bound for India, valued at up to $14.8 billion each year.

“This agreement opens a big door into the world’s fastest growing major economy for Australian farmers, manufacturers, producers and so many more,” the Prime Minister said.

“By unlocking the huge market of around 1.4 billion consumers in India, we are strengthening the economy and growing jobs right here at home.

“This is great news for lobster fishers in Tasmania, wine producers in South Australia, macadamia farmers in Queensland, critical minerals miners in Western Australia, lamb farmers from New South Wales, wool producers from Victoria and metallic ore producers from the Northern Territory.

Benefits of AI ECTA include:

Sheep meat tariffs of 30% will be eliminated on entry into force, providing a boost for Australian exports that already command nearly 20% of India’s market.

Wool will have the current 2.5% tariffs eliminated on entry into force, supporting Australia’s second-largest market for wool products.

Tariffs on wine with a minimum import price of US$5 per bottle will be reduced from 150% to 100% on entry into force and subsequently to 50% over 10 years (based on Indian wholesale price index for wine).

Tariffs on wine bottles with minimum import price of US$15 will be reduced from 150% to 75% on entry into force and subsequently to 25% over 10 years (based on Indian wholesale price index for wine).

Tariffs up to 30% on avocados, onions, broad, kidney and adzuki beans, cherries, shelled pistachios, macadamias, cashews in-shell, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, currants will be eliminated over seven years.

Tariffs on almonds, lentils, oranges, mandarins, pears, apricots and strawberries will be reduced, improving opportunities for Australia’s horticulture industry to supply India’s growing food demand.

The resources sector will benefit from the elimination of tariffs on entry into force for coal, alumina, metallic ores, including manganese, copper and nickel; and critical minerals including titanium and zirconium.

LNG tariffs will be bound at 0% at entry into force.

Tariffs on pharmaceutical products and certain medical devices will be eliminated over five and seven years.

Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Dan Tehan said AI ECTA would also further strengthen the people-to-people links between our countries. India was Australia’s third largest market for services exports in 2020.

“This agreement will turbocharge our close, long-standing and highly complementary economic relationship in areas such as critical minerals, professional services, education and tourism,” Mr Tehan said.

“It will create new opportunities for jobs and businesses in both countries, while laying the foundations for a full free trade agreement.”

Both countries will facilitate the recognition of professional qualifications, licensing, and registration procedures between professional services bodies in both countries.

Australian services suppliers in 31 sectors and sub-sectors will be guaranteed to receive the best treatment accorded by India to any future free trade agreement partner, including in: higher education and adult education; business services (tax, medical and dental, architectural and urban planning; research and development; communication, construction and engineering; insurance and banking; hospital; audio-visual; and tourism and travel.

Australia will also provide new access for young Indians to participate in working holidays in Australia. Places in Australia’s Work and Holiday programme will be set at 1,000 per year and Australia will have two years to implement the outcome. This is expected to contribute to both workforce requirements and to boost tourism to support our post-Covid recovery.

In a boost to our STEM and IT workforces, the length of stay for an Indian Student with a bachelor’s degree with first class honours will be extended from two to three years post study in Science, Technology, Engineering or Mathematics (STEM) and information and communications technology (ICT) sectors.

Australia and India have also agreed to undertake cooperation to promote agricultural trade as part of the agreement and will now work toward concluding an enhanced agricultural Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).

Mr Tehan signed AI ECTA on behalf of Australia during a virtual ceremony with India’s Minister of Commerce & Industry, Consumer Affairs & Food & Public Distribution and Textiles, Piyush Goyal, attended by Prime Ministers Scott Morrison and Narendra Modi.

This announcement builds on the Morrison Government’s $280 million investment to further grow economic relationship and support jobs and businesses in both countries, that includes:

$35.7 million to support cooperation on research, production and commercialisation of clean technologies, critical minerals and energy;

$25.2 million to deepen space cooperation with India and $28.1 million to launch a Centre for Australia-India Relations.

AI ECTA is an interim agreement and both countries continue to work towards a full Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement.

Kerala Government allows pubs, wine parlours in IT parks, tweaks policy

The Kerala Government has approved setting up pubs and wine parlours in IT parks across the state. The State Cabinet which met recently announced a new liquor policy for the financial year 2022-23 which aims to increase the number of retail outlets in the state to bolster its exchequer. In the last five years, God’s Own Country received `46,546.13 crores through the taxation on liquor.

The government revealed to a RTI that it had collected Rs. 766 crores monthly as tax on liquor which meant that tipplers paid as much as Rs. 25.53 crore as tax on liquor. The highest revenue from the tax on liquor was collected during the period of 2018-19 and 2019-20. A total of Rs. 9,615.54 crore was collected in 2018-19 and Rs. 10,332.39 crore in 2019-20. There was dip in sales of liquor due to the pandemic in 2020-21. The Kerala State Beverages Corporation (BEVCO) posted a loss of Rs. 1,608.17 crore in revenue during 2020-21.

Hence, the government which was toying with the idea of opening up retail vends at different places has tweaked the policy. Now, BEVCO and Consumerfed outlets will be started in those areas which are safely away from populated and residential areas. The demand for allowing pubs in the IT sector has been a subject of debate for some time.

The IT sector in the state was demanding to change its policy on the matter. It is learned that the pubs will have facilities of five-star luxury hotel. The Pinarayi Vijayan government tweaked the liquor policy enabling the opening of more retail outlets and the biggest gainer appears to be the IT parks in Kerala, where special earmarked areas will be provided where IT buffs can have a drink.

Incidentally, the liquor policy of the Kerala government is an annual ritual, when the rules are made for the new fiscal and become applicable from April 1 every year.

The biggest gainer appeared to be the three IT parks in the state, where over one lakh professionals are employed at Technopark, Kochi Infopark and the Kozhikode IT park.

The State Excise Minister MV Govindan pointed out that there has been a long-standing demand from IT professionals for a lack of facilities for recreation. “It has been decided to allow sanction for special licenses to these parks where specially marked areas will be there in the park and facilities will be available for consumption of liquor under strict norms,” said a statement from the Minister.

The government also is giving permission to produce liquor with low alcoholic content or wine from the cashew apple, pineapple, jackfruit and nutmeg. Similar to what Delhi did, Kerala intends to allow buying of foreign liquor from the outlets without queues. The decision to increase the production of liquor in the existing units and launch new units has been taken to address the issues in the production of Indian-made foreign liquor and beer.

The government said that it was taking measures to escalate the production of Jawan rum of Travancore Sugars and start manufacturing at the Malabar distillery.

Highlights of the policy:

• No hike in brand registration fees for liquor selling in cans and glass bottles
• The government proposes to ban sale of liquor in plastic bottles from 2023-24
• The closed outlets will be reopened as premium shops to reduce the rush in existing outlets
• Grant of bar licenses will be only to three-star hotels and above
• Kerala Toddy Industry Development Board will be revived and soon licenses will be issued to operate toddy shops from 2022-23
• Track and trace systems will be introduced for production of liquor and inter-district/intra-range transport
• Beverages corporation will launch liquor-related industries in the state
• All services provided by the Excise department will be made available online from April 1
• Computerisation of foreign liquor outlets
• More vehicles and 100 pistols will be delivered to the excise circle offices of eight taluks
• Mobile app titled ‘Peoples Eye’ to lodge complaints about the trade, stocking and consumption of illicit liquor
• Increase the posts of women civil excise officers
• Appoint 100 youth from scheduled tribes as civil excise officers