Beer is a fun drink, musn’t be treated at par with spirits

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

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

“We have made representations to various state governments to increase the availability of beer. Beer is a fun and social drink so we would like to sell the same through retail shops, like any other FMCG product,” said Shalabh Seth, chairperson, AIBA and managing director at SABMiller India..

He added, “While states such as Kerala and Maharashtra have relaxed norms in place for beer shops, we will soon begin round two of representations with more states. Beer should not be treated “at par with spirits that have a higher alcohol content (42 percent), while beer has five to eight percent of 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.

The industry is valued at Rs 25,000 crore and beer around 23 million hectalitres is sold in the country. The industry grew at 6 percent.  Earlier, it grew between 10 and 12 percent during 2002 to 2012.

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

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