Beer, vodka on a high in whiskey-loving Delhi; revenue up

Delhi's excise collection went up by 18 per cent this quarter. And along with the northward curve, the kind of drinks popular with Delhiites has also shown a change.

The Capital, once known for being a city of whiskey drinkers, seems to favour white drinks and beer now, as a marked reduction in the sale of whiskey and rum shows.

According to figures released by the excise department, whiskey consumption reduced from 70 lakh cases sold between April 2007 and March 2008 to 56 lakh cases in the corresponding period in 2009 fiscal (April 2008 to March 2009). Though marginally, sale of rum has also gone down: from 30 lakh cases in April-December 2007 to 28 lakh cases in the corresponding period in 2009.

Beer sales, meanwhile, rose from 71 lakh cases in April-December 2007 to 91 lakh in 2009.

Wine sales, however, did not pick up as much as the government would have liked. For the period between April and December 2007, 31,432 bottles were sold, but sales went down to 28,129 bottles for the same period in 2009.

"Wine is sold more in restaurants and bars Delhi still does not have a culture of consuming wine at home," a senior excise official said.

According to excise department figures, vodka sales are increasing at quite a pace between April and December 2007, over 13 lakh vodka bottles were sold. For the same period in 2009, city vends saw the sale of more than 20 lakh bottles.

The government recently introduced sale of beer and wine at departmental stores. The lower excise tax on beer and wine, as compared to whiskey and rum, also seems to have contributed to the change in consumption pattern.

The government has also proposed licences at a lower rate for restaurants that serve beer and wine. Cafes like Barista have started selling beer at their Khan Market outlet.

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