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Rajasthan beats the heat with beer, sales rise 19% in April

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JAIPUR: As the desert state boils in searing summer, an increasing number of people are resorting to beer to beat the heat. According to excise department’s latest data, beer sales have shot up by 19% in April while the consumption of hard liquor has declined by 4%. In May, which is traditionally a peak month for beer, there is an increase even though it is marginal as it comes on a high base.

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Even as the hard liquor sales have dropped, the state excise department is expecting double-digit growth in offtake. “A growth of 19% in beer sales can more than offset a small decline in IMFL sales volume. April has given us a revenue growth of 8%. In terms of volume, we can end the year with a healthy double–digit growth,” said Rajpal Singh Yadav, executive director, Rajasthan State Beverages Corporation Ltd. He said last year, the department had clocked a revenue of Rs 5700 crore from the sale of IMFL and beers.

Many regulars of hard drinks have switched loyalties and are taking it light which explains why the demand for IMFL (Indian Made Foreign Liquor) has declined both in April and May this year.

“It’s too hot to go for hard drinks these days when the heat wave saps your energy completely. I would rather prefer a goblet than a glass,” says Heera Lal Chuggani, a regular to a club.

Beer sales are also getting a helping hand from the funky, classy and theme-based watering holes which are on the rise. “A lot of new pubs and bars have opened in Jaipur recently and they are the favorites of the working-class population. Beer commands a larger proportion of liquor sold in these places,” said Hetram Meel, one of the oldest liquor contractors in the state.

The trend for light beer is also catching up as people are growing more and more health conscious. Beers with less than 5% alcohol content now account for 20% of the total consumption.

“Strong beers are still the favourite of the masses and the retail shops sell bulk of it. But in the new-age pubs and bars, the light beers have found a new clientele,” said Rajesh Chaudhary, a retailer in the Pink City.

During June, sales generally slacken as the intensity of mercury loses its grip. Last year, 30.8 lakh cases of beer were sold in July against 37 lakh cases in May 2017. But the arrival of monsoon and the pattern of maximum temperatures will be key as to which direction the demand for beer will go in June this year.

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