This Article is From May 18, 2015

Allow Beer Sale in Retails Shops, Urges Brewers' Body

Allow Beer Sale in Retails Shops, Urges Brewers' Body

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Describing beer as a 'fun, social drink', the All India Brewers Association (AIBA) wants state governments to allow the beverage to be sold like FMCG (fast moving consumer goods) products through retail shops.

AIBA, an industry body of breweries operating in India, is also demanding a separate classification of beer from hard-drinks or spirits citing lesser alcohol content.

"We have already made representations to various state governments to increase the availability of beer. Beer is a fun, social drink and we would like beer to be sold through modern retail shops, like any other FMCG product," Shalabh Seth, Chairman of AIBA and managing director at SABMiller India told PTI.

He further said: "While some states like Kerala and Maharashtra have relaxed norms for beer shops, we will soon begin round two of representations with more states."

AIBA director general Shobhan Roy added that beer should not be treated "at par with spirits, which have much higher alcohol content (around 42 per cent), compared with beer, which has just 5-8 per cent alcohol."

India has around 10 leading beer manufacturers including, Carlsberg, Budweiser, United Breweries, SABMiller, Bar Malt India, Alfa Laval, Praj Industries and Briggs of Burton, among others.

With the industry valued at Rs 25,000 crore, around 23 million hecto litres beer was sold in the country.

"The industry is growing at around 6 per cent. Earlier, the industry was growing in the range of 10 to 12 per cent between 2002 to 2012, however, the growth decreased due to restrictions like higher taxes and limited availability of beer," Mr Seth added.

"This (growth) could again go in double digits if taxation and other restriction are eased by the government," he added.

According to him, the beer industry pays a tax between 50 per cent to 85 per cent per bottle.

States such as Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra have the highest tax slab, while Goa and Puducherry have around 50 per cent tax.