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Microbrewery plans in Kerala put on hold

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THIRUVANANTHAPURAM:  This one’s sure to leave beer lovers heartbroken. The state government has put on hold plans to allow microbreweries in the state. Excise Department sources said the government has decided not to go ahead with the proposal for the time being despite a favourable report submitted by panel which studied it. On the other hand, the move to issue licences for opening microbreweries had invited the spirited ire of the anti-liquor lobby.

Unlike mass-produced brands, the microbrewery-crafted varieties of the alcoholic beverage are known for their distinctive flavours and exclusive nature. When it dusted up an old proposal, the Excise Department’s plan was to allow selected hotels and restaurants in the state to brew their own beer, a common practice in bigger Indian cities. Last year, a team led by Excise Commissioner Rishiraj Singh had visited Karnataka to study that state’s experience with microbreweries.

It submitted a favourable report to the government. Nevertheless, the proposal did not manage to find a place in the liquor policy for the current fiscal. When contacted, Excise Minister T P Ramakrishnan’s office also confirmed that it was not on its list of priorities at the moment.

The proposal was allowing microbreweries was, in fact, one of the two proposals – the other sale of foreign-made foreign liquor – that was designed to ‘brew’ changes in the state’s liquor scenario.
Sale of FMFL is expected to begin once the necessary amendments are made to the Abkari Rules. However, under that proposal only FMFL and foreign-made wine will be introduced into the Kerala market, not foreign-made beer.

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