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After a four-year wait, Delhi gets its first microbrewery licence



After a long-drawn procedure of almost four years, Delhi finally has a licence to run its first microbrewery. On Wednesday, a Connaught Place-based restaurant that was the first applicant for a microbrewery in Delhi, received its licence from the Excise Department. After receiving the licence, restaurant owner Prateek Chaturvedi told us, “Relief is the word that comes to mind.”
So far, Gurgaon was the only place in NCR with hundreds of microbreweries running successfully and for years it remained a favourite with Delhiites who wouldn’t mind driving to Gurgaon just to have a freshly-brewed beer. “Haryana is an example that microbreweries are a huge business for restaurants and revenue to state. Delhi has finally cleared all hurdles to get its first microbrewery and we are sure that it will be a good news for Delhiites,” said Prateek.

In its excise policy for 2015-16, the Delhi government had announced that it will allow hotels and restaurants to have microbreweries in their premises. The announcement came in June 2015. But microbreweries were under the prohibited category of “liquor-making plants” in Delhi Development Authority’s (DDA) Master Plan for Delhi 2021. In 2017, Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal approved that microbreweries be moved out of the prohibited category. In September last year, the DDA cleared the proposal to facilitate the setting up of microbreweries and the proposal was sent to the Union Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs for notification. The Excise Department was waiting for the notification of the changes in the Master Plan to frame a policy to allow the setting up of microbreweries in Delhi. The Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs issued a notice about the change in the Master Plan in February this year. “After this, the procedure was stuck again from March-May due to General Elections. But after elections were over, execution of the process was really fast and we managed to get the licence in July,” said Prateek.

In July 2016, Prateek invested almost Rs 1.2 crore in a microbrewery plant at his outlet. Along with him there were some other restaurateurs, too, who invested crores in the plant, but discouraged after learning about procedural delays in getting the licence, they moved their plants to other locations in places such as Punjab and Haryana to avoid incurring losses.
The news of Delhi getting its first licence for running microbreweries has definitely revived hopes of many restaurateurs. “We would like to thank the Delhi government for implementing this progressive policy, which is in line with the world and befitting to the capital. Delhi’s first microbrewery in a restaurant will certainly open avenues for further investment and employment in the sector,” said Rahul Singh, president of National Restaurant Association of India (NRAI).

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