Country liquor staggers as Scotch mania kicks in

Country liquor staggers as Scotch mania kicks in

The sale of imported Scotch brands, ranging anywhere between Rs 3,000 and Rs 40,000 for a bottle, is soaring at an all-time high in the city, which has the highest per capita income in the country.

A 25 per cent jump in the sale of Scotch brands has been recorded this year. Sale of commonly available and reasonably priced Indian-made foreign liquor (IMFL) has dipped by around 40 per cent.

As an increasing number of residents say cheers to Scotch, country-made liquor and beer sales have plummeted considerably.

So what’s effecting the change? Those in the trade say the mushrooming of high-end swanky liquor stores is a major contributor to Scotch sales in this cash-rich city.
The answer to this is perhaps more complex and equally concerning. It’s about the drinking habits that the city youth have chosen to subscribe to.

Sample this. Chandigarh and Hyderabad are just second to Delhi and Mumbai when it comes to rising consumption of alcohol among teenagers and girls, a recent survey by the Assocham Social Development Foundation has pointed out.

Teenage girls are starting to drink at a younger age than ever before, and 40 per cent of girls surveyed said they had their first drink between 15 and 17 years of age.
One-third of the teens have had a hard drink shot before they entered college, the survey said.

It’s sheer demand that’s driving exclusive liquor stores to stock Scotch.
An owner said certain high-priced imported brands, including Blue Label King George-5 priced at Rs 40,000, and Highland Park Single-Malt and Bunnahabhain are in demand in stores.

“Customers here have a lot of disposable income and these varieties offer an elite tinge to their bar,” he said.

The Assocham study has said teenagers in Chandigarh and some other cities annually spend more money on alcohol than on soft drinks, movie tickets, books and tea-coffee combined.

Scotch brands sold 1.2 lakh litres between April and November this year, up from 84,000 litres during the same period last year. Interestingly, low sale of IMFL, country liquor and beer in Chandigarh does not mean poor revenue for the excise and taxation department.
It’s the reverse, since revenue is being determined more by the revenue norms laid down in the excise policy.

Revenue has grown around 60 per cent during this period.

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