Prepare to buy alcoholic beverages while liquor stores will reopen with relaxations in the crown constraints

NEW DELHI: Tipplers can hope to replenish their stocks very soon. With the partial lifting of closure restrictions beginning May 4, liquor companies say they expect a large chunk of independent stores to open in the coming days (not in malls and markets), as states give orders to get the deal go under strict rules of social distancing and security.

The companies have started production in states like UP, Assam and Karnataka, according to the International Association of Spirits and Wines of India (ISWAI), and are now awaiting the start of sales of whiskey, rum, vodka, gin and beer, but under strict safety and hygiene standards.

Companies looking to start deal include , Pernod Ricard, Allied Blenders & Distillers, Brown-Forman, , Mohan Meakin and Radico Khaitan.

For states, this would generate immediate revenue, as the annual liquor tax collection equals Rs 2.5 lakh crore, or almost Rs 700 crore per day, ISWAI President Amrit Kiran Singh told TOI.

States had been pushing the central government for permission to open as the deal provides a large tax collection for their coffers. However, despite the nudge, the Centre had earlier dismissed the demand, though finally it has relented.

Singh said ISMAI has put together a secure shield program that will list the two and not do for liquor sellers and buyers. “There will be masks, disinfectants, gloves and a tray that will be used to collect payment and deliver the bottles. In addition, there will be brands abroad where people must stop before they can buy. ”

Vinod Giri, CEO of the Confederation of Alcoholic Beverage Companies of India (CIABC), said they expect most of the large plants to start producing. “In any case, most of the distilleries are located in rural or industrial areas, where restrictions are now not heavy. These are found in states like Maharashtra, UP, Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.