Tag Archives: alcohol

Women in the Dry State of Gujarat are Jumping on the Alcohol Consumption Bandwagon!

Earlier, we reported that binge drinking among women has been increasing steadily over the past few years. Thirteen percent of adult women have reported binge drinking four times a month on an average while consuming five drinks per binge. A 2019 survey conducted by TU Dresden in Germany found that Assam led alcohol consumption among women in India. However, the North-eastern state is not the only Indian state where alcohol consumption has increased drastically. Gujarat, the Dry State, is climbing up the charts steadily too.

According to the National Family Health Survey (NFHS-5) released recently for the year 2019-20, it was discovered that the number of women consuming alcohol in the Dry State has doubled in the last four years. The survey studied a total of 33,343 women and 5,351 men from Gujarat. 200 women (0.6 percent) and 310 (5.8 percent) reported that they consumed liquor. 

Previously, in the NFHS-4 Survey (2015-16), the sample under study in the state included 22,932 women and 5,574 men amongst whom 618 men (11.1 percent) claimed they drank liquor while only 68 women (0.3 percent) claimed the same.

A comparison between both the surveys shows that while the number of women consuming alcohol in Gujarat has doubled, the number of men doing the same has nearly halved.

Gaurang Jani, a sociologist, said “The middle class and upper middle class have embraced the party culture in recent times. As a result, women in families have also started consuming liquor. Earlier, men used to go out to drink. Now, a new culture of consuming liquor in family parties has emerged. People are throwing family parties to celebrate even small events. Moreover, kitty parties have also contributed to higher liquor consumption among women, NRIs are also bringing liquor with them and enjoying it during house parties here with relatives.”

Jani thus pointed out that the rise in party culture as well as the growing acceptability of drinking in society has contributed to the rise in the number of women drinkers.

Binge drinking is cool for Indian women

More women are drinking and women are drinking more,” a new survey made eye-opening claims — and not for the reasons you’d think.

Men had succumbed to alcohol long back, but women had held back. Not long ago women didn’t dare to damage their image by showing the world that she in fact drinks and enjoys it too. Now women pour and fill their glasses with more than just lemon water and juice. Wine, beer, whiskey, vodka or a cocktail; women have come to love their drinks and how!

Alcohol consumption among women is rapidly increasing, not only because she wants to relax and have fun but there’s a bigger picture here.

Nearly half of adult women report drinking alcohol in the past 30 days. Approximately 13% of adult women report binge drinking and on average do so four times a month, consuming five drinks per binge. About 18% of women of child-bearing age (i.e., ages 18–44 years) binge drink.

Questions like ‘Are women more prone to absorb bigger drinks?’ ‘Do women have higher alcohol levels in their blood than men?’ are being asked and studied. Though women have had historically lower drinking rates than men, the negative effects of alcohol abuse are typically worse and more pronounced for women. The problem is exacerbated by the special dangers that alcohol poses for women. In general, alcohol affects women more strongly than men. This is both because women’s unique body chemistry interacts with alcohol differently from men and because women are on average significantly smaller than men, meaning the same amount of alcohol will have a greater impact.

Why women drink

The survey by the Community Against Drunken Driving (CADD) studied the alcohol consumption pattern in Delhi and has revealed some major reasons behind alcohol consumption among women. Rising affluence, aspirations, societal pressure and exposure to a different lifestyle is driving women to experiment with alcohol, stated the survey. The results were found among 5,000 women aged between 18 to 70 in Delhi.

Among the reasons why women drink, the survey says “mostly all social activities are centred around alcohol, and alcohol is seen as a quick and easy social lubricant, and when everyone is doing the same thing, it does not seem like a problem. It is just the norm.”

Alcohol consumption in India increased by nearly 40% and women’s alcohol market is expected to grow by 25% over the next five years.

In Delhi itself, 40% of men and 20% of women (almost 15 lakh women) are alcohol consumers; the survey quotes a report by AIIMS as saying.

The survey reveals that 43.7% women in the age group of 18-30 years consumed alcohol out of habit or desire to do so, 41.7% women in the age group of 31-45 years consumed alcohol as an occupational requirement or because of social norm.

Over 53% women above 60 years and 39.1% women in 46-60 years had alcohol for emotional reasons.

“Driven by the market forces where cocktail and berry drinks are being promoted as feel good and relaxing drinks for women, women are enticed into drinking more with a promise of good time that awaits them,” it says.

The CADD survey lists out more reasons why women drink, it says, “At times just to fit in or as a way to unwind, more spending capacity/affluence, another way of equal opportunity or pursuit at work place/profession, alcohol as a coping mechanism to stress, depression, loneliness anxiety, pain, mental and physical traumas and to cope with the needs and pressures of fast paced life.”

India has witnessed a steady rise in its consumption of alcohol in the last decade. A 2019 study by researchers from TU Dresden in Germany, concluded that between 2010 and 2017, alcohol consumption in India increased by 38% – from 4.3 to 5.9 litres per adult per year. The decade also witnessed a boom in home grown whisky and gin labels, and saw both men and women significantly altering their tipple choices and consumption patterns.

According to this survey, women in Assam consume much more alcohol than their counterparts in other states and union territories in the country. The ministry’s 2019-20 data showed that 26.3% of women in Assam who are in the 15-49 years’ age category consume alcohol, which is the highest among all states and union territories (UTs).

Notably, in 2019, another survey, conducted by Community Against Drunken Driving (CADD), took stock of the men and women in Delhi and their drinking habits, and concluded that “More women are drinking – and women are drinking more.”

Women are also not just taking up important roles in breweries, but also leading alcohol brands in various capacities. In fact, Dewar’s master blender Stephanie Macleod, who created the world’s best whisky, as per the 2020 edition of International Whisky Competition, was recently awarded the “Master Blender of the Year” award.

New research has found that despite the potential health risks of exceeding national drinking guidelines, many middle-aged and young-old women who consume alcohol at high risk levels tend to perceive their drinking as normal and acceptable, so long as they appear respectable and in control.

Amrut launches Fusion X (ten)

To commemorate and celebrate its Late CMD N R Jagdale legacy

To celebrate the 10th anniversary of the brands flagship Single Malt Whisky – the Amrut Fusion, the company launched its ultra-limited-edition Single Malt whisky – the Amrut Fusion X (ten) yesterday. The Fusion X also commemorates the legacy of the their late CMD Neelakanta Rao R Jagdale with the launch timed to celebrate his birthday.

The reason we call it an ultra-limited-edition is due to its availability of only 1010 bottles worldwide. And in India only 60 bottles will be released in Bengaluru at a price of Rs. 15000 per bottle at select retail outlets.

Amrut Fusion X Ceramic Bottle

Amrut Fusion X is a combination an ode to the company’s past and also their vision for the future. The whisky has been created after further maturing Amrut Fusion for a period of 4 years in a Px-Sherry casks, adding a dimension to the whisky unlike ever before, taking the total age of the spirit to nearly 8-9 years. It also comes packaged in a special ceramic bottle that features a sketch of their late CMD, Mr. Jagdale along with number of other important highlighted places on the bottle, that have played a key role in the journey.

The bottle is a culmination of talents from three countries, which includes India, England and Portugal. With the spirit coming from India, the special ceramic bottle has been crafted by Wade from England and the cork is handpicked and shipped from Portugal.

The Fusion X is also the first time that any alcobev product in India has integrated an NFC chip on the bottle that can be scanned using a smart device. Buyers can tap the NFC chip to verify if the bottle has ever been opened before. It also provides detailed information about the whisky and users can provide feedback of the same as well.

Rakshit N Jagdale, Managing Director, Amrut Distilleries said ‘it gives me immense satisfaction to make this special release of Fusion X on his birthday as both a celebration of 10 years of love by consumers around the world and a tribute to his life and legacy.’

The bottle comes in a lush velvet jacket and is surely something worth collecting.

Pernod Ricard posts encouraging results than expected

The world’s second biggest alcobev manufacturer, Pernod Ricard posted its results recently and they seemed more encouraging than expected. The Q1 FY21 marked and improvement versus the Q4 FY20. The results were encouraging thanks to partial on-trade reopening and continued brand resilience in off-trade as India continues to be a resilient market for the company.

The total sales for the first quarter of FY21 totaled €2,236 million, which included an organic decline of -6% due to off-trade channel remaining resilient in the USA and Europe. Although there was a partial on-trade reopening, the report suggests that the channel is still disrupted with Travel Retail showcasing significant decline.

Results in India

Closer to India, which is one of the key markets for the manufacturer, continues to be in a double-digit decline. The growth in India revenues from its India operations grew only 6% in the year ended March 2020 against 27% jump a year earlier. The company recorded gross sales of Rs 21,424 crore in India in the year-ended March. However it recorded a 24% jump in its net profit for the year at Rs 1,612 crore as it focused more on premium brands. This was more than double of its larger rival United Spirits’ profit of Rs 705 crore during the year. Currently, India accounts for 11% of the manufacturers global sales. The company that follows a July-June fiscal globally, said that the Indian business declined 11% in the year ended June 2020 with heavy impact due to the pandemic. Alexandre Ricard, Chairman, Pernod Ricard informed investors last month that the fact that the business fell only 11% in the FY20 ‘despite the very strict lockdown disrupting the fourth quarter’ showed India’s resilience as a market. “We consolidated our leadership position with our market share still above 45%, and in fact, still growing slightly,” he added.

Results by Geography

With the festive season in the offing the results were strong in markets like USA and China, with strong shipments auguring well for the company. There was good resilience in the markets of Europe as well thanks to Off-Trade and ‘staycation’ over the summer. There was also strong dynamism in the UK and Germany with France nearing stability. However the markets of Spain and Russia showed decline.

By category, Sales were driven by

International Brands declined by -10% with significant declines for Martell, Chivas and Ballantine’s, primarily due to the restrictions in Travel Retail. But Malibu and The Glenlivet displayed strong growth with Jameson showcasing resilience. Local Brands saw a decline of -6%, with decline of Seagram’s Indian whiskies. But there was double-digit growth of Kahlua, Passport, Ramazzotti and Wiser’s. Specialty Brands saw an increase of +30%, thanks in particular to Lillet, Malfy, Aberlour, Avion, Altos and Monkey 47. Wines registered a growth of +9%, driven by double-digit growth of Campo Viejo and Brancott Estate with Jacob’s Creek growing by +8%. The overall reported sales declined by -10% due to unfavourable FX impacts, mainly from US Dollar and emerging market currencies. The Q2 is expected to still be strongly impacted by Covid-19, but Sales to return to growth in H2. Alexandre Ricard added that for FY21, “we expect continued resilience of our business in an uncertain and disrupted environment. I would like to take this opportunity to praise our teams, whose engagement and performance are exemplary

in these very challenging times. We will continue to implement our strategy, in particular accelerating our digital transformation. We will tightly manage costs while maintaining the agility to reinvest to adjust to market opportunities.”

CIABC recommendations to out the industry back on track

By Bhavya Desai

With the country in the midst of an unprecedented crisis due to the ongoing Covid-19 virus pandemic, States/cities, private offices and commercial establishments are under complete lockdown. Like most businesses the alcobev industry is also witnessing a challenging scenario. With the companies unable to operate and wholesale and retail trade coming to a standstill, most company wholesalers and dealers are sitting on high amount of unsold stock from the alcobev industry.

To make matters worse the lockdown came right in the middle of the financial year end , which means that companies haven’t been able to complete their statutory requirements that ought to be met to keep the continuity of operations.

It is a known fact that the alcobev industry is one of the largest contributors to the economy. It approximately contributes Rs. 200,000 crores by way of various taxes and also sustains livelihood of nearly 40 lakh farmers employing nearly 20 lakh people directly and indirectly. The industry contributes anywhere between 20-40% to the States Revenue of tax receipts.

But the lockdown has not only brought the alcohol sales at a grinding halt, creating a financial impact on the companies. There are several other pending challenges that have added to the current scenario. The rise in price of ENA, its key raw material, denial of price increases by some states and delays in payment by some others. The concern for most of the players in the industry is that a prolonged shut down of industry will not only have a huge economic cost on companies, it may also force the farmers and workers in to joblessness as a result of that.

Not to mention that the prolonged unavailability of legal alcohol has already witnessed growing sale of illicit liquor in just 2 weeks.

CIABC has made several recommendations to the Commerce and Industry Ministry to get the industry back on track with some immediate curative measures for mitigation of problems arising out of lock down, systemic changes in regulation required in light of possibility of prolonged COVID19 threat and the phased opening of the alcoholic beverage industry.

CIABC Recommendations

As part of the Curative Measure, CIABC recommended that the Excise year ended on 31st March, which was in the middle of the lock down phase, companies/distributors/retailers have not been able to clear stocks or statutory requirements. Hence, a blanket order extending the current excise year with all its permissions and approvals be done until 30th June 2020.

This should be done without imposing any fees for the period of 1st April to 30th June as companies have been out of operation so far and even under best circumstances will be only partially functional during this time.

Systemic Changes in The Way Industry Operates

While most practices under this remain constant like other industries, there are several important recommendations that include the continuity of operations with all efforts be made to ensure that the business restarts and continues with minimum necessary disruption.

One of the important changes that CIABC is asking for is the shift to Online Processing of Permissions, Approval, Licensing, Registration, Permits, EVCs etc. With most of these still physical in nature and needing human interaction this possibly could be the best time to use technology and shift those processes online. Also this might act as a step into to the future where such operational requirements can be shifted online as part of ease of operations.

Phase Wise Opening of The Sector

With this being a unique time in order for the sector to start functioning appropriately the committee has recommended that the licenses and permissions for Distilleries/Bottling Plants including industry, excise, pollution etc., that lapsed on 31st March 2020 should be extended until June 30th, 2020 without any additional charges. Also that the companies should be allowed to apply for renewal of these licenses online on any time prior to 30th June and those not seeking any modification to licenses may automatically be granted renewal. Those seeking modifications may be allowed to apply online with supporting documents and a decision on application may be conveyed online.

Existing inventory of packaging materials that became outdated on closure of the Excise Year may be allowed to be used until 30th June. All distilleries / bottling plants not falling within hotspot zone (as identified by the Government) should be allowed to start operations. Naturally the factories are expected to operate at 50% strength and the salaries of the employees should be paid in usual manner without deduction for forced absence.

But on-site physical verification of production and shipping of alcoholic beverage by excise should be discontinued until June 15th. A daily self-declaration by the Head of the plant along with production and shipping details may be accepted at this time.

Indenting/Transit/Stock Movement

In terms of indenting/transit and stock movement export permits, import permits, and transit permits issued in year 2019-20 should be allowed to be used until May 15th. Companies should be allowed to apply online for new permits and the approval should be given online with excise authorities introducing barcodes on permits.

Wholesaling/Distribution/ Warehousing

When it comes to this aspect CIABC states that all licenses related to distribution should be extended until June 30th without any extra fees. The renewal, auction or lottery allotment of licenses should be done online to minimise people interaction at any time prior to June 30th. Also, all stocks produced, shipped or received at distribution warehouse until 31st March 2020 should be allowed to be sold in 2020-21 without any fees or penalty. All other necessary permissions like TPs and so on can also be done online.

CIABC also recommend that no demurrage should be charged for stock lying in Government warehouse until 31st May.

Retail Shops

With all retail operations closed the industry has recommended that retail licenses granted for year 2019-20 which expired on 31st March 2020 should be extended until June 30th, 2020. Shops outside identified COVID19 hotspots should be allowed to open from 9 am to 11 pm From April 15th to May 15th and from 11 am to 11 pm between May 15th to June 15th with regular operations resuming from June 15th.

Retail Shops should be permitted to sell stock purchased or ordered in 2019-20 till stocks last with no retail shop manned by more than two salesmen. No shop should permit more than two customers if it’s a walk-in shop or one customer if it’s single window shop.

Pubs, Bars and Restaurants

The committee recommends that all licenses granted by Excise, Pollution, Fire and local authorities for year 2019-20 which expired on 31st March 2020 should be extended until June 15th 2020 without any charges. On-trade establishments that are outside the identified hotspots should be allowed to operate in a phased manner in order to prevent crowding.

For instance, only takeaways of alcohol and food be allowed from April 15th to April 30th and from May 1st to June 15th premises may be allowed to operate at 50% of its seating capacity.

Home Deliveries

One of the key recommendations that CIABC is making is for allowing home deliveries of alcohol subject to necessary checks and diligence. With most food delivery companies already working they could also be enrolled to delivery alcohol. Also, shops should be asked to enrol for home delivery through online applications.

And in order to further the cause the Government may charge a fee, this being an addition to license. Customers can place an order online or over phone, along with an ID proof establishing age and the delivery limit of the amount of liquor delivered or frequency of delivery can be defined.