Wanna get our awesome news?

Subscribe to our newsletter!


Actually we won’t spam you and keep your personal data secure

As the voice of the Indian restaurant industry, we represent the interests of 500000+ restaurants & an industry valued @ USD 4 billion. Whether a chain or independent restaurant, the NRAI is here to help every step of the way. Join us!


South Mumbai cuts down on beer, but it’s frothing over in suburbs



MUMBAI: South Mumbai is cutting down on beer while the suburbs are guzzling more of it. Data with the state excise department shows a heady surge of 51 lakh litres (about 10%) in beer sales in the eastern and western suburbs between 2014-15 and 2017-18. But south Mumbai (Colaba to Sion) recorded a sobering decline of about two lakh litres (about 1%) in the same period. The growth of craft breweries and brew pubs in the suburbs, besides the proliferation of standalone bars between BKC and Malad, could be one of the reasons, say experts.

Overall, 60 crore litres of alcohol was downed in the city in the past four years, half of it beer. “Many offices have moved from the south to areas like BKC and Andheri. There has been a fair amount of moving of residences as well. Younger people are able to afford larger homes in the suburbs with better facilities for children. This younger population is far more driven to beer than the older lot that tends to gravitate towards spirits,” said Shatbhi Basu, beverage consultant and India’s first female bartender.

image (4)

Wine still accounts for only about 1.5% of total liquor sales, but its growth rate has been the highest. Wine consumption jumped by 7% in south Mumbai and close to 22% in suburbs between 2014-15 and 2017-18.

Total alcohol consumption, suburbs and south Mumbai combined, has grown by 9% in four years.

“Wine is a beverage that crisscrosses both factors of aspiration and travel. There’s far more to wine than drinking to get a high. It’s more experiential and people will always be willing to pay more for such a beverage,” said Ashish Dev Kapur who runs a wine-focussed restaurant in Lower Parel. “But wine hasn’t and never will be a mass drink of choice. There may be growth but it will never quantify into massive volumes,” said Basu.

Sale of IMFL (spirits) grew by 7% in south Mumbai and 14% in the suburbs between 2014-15 and 2017-18. Country liquor sales increased by 2% in south Mumbai and 11% in the suburbs in the same period. The data does not include sale of hooch or illicit liquor, which is manufactured and consumed in slums.

The state excise department has recorded over 7,300 offences in the past four years and arrested nearly 6,900 people, many of them hooch sellers. Offences also pertain to sale of liquor with duplicate labels, charging more than MRP, selling beyond the permitted time and serving without a licence. Seizures worth Rs 8.4 crore were made by the department. “Maximum smuggling of liquor happens from Goa to Maharashtra or Daman-Diu to Maharashtra as duties in the state are very high,” said an officer.

The excise department cannot dispose of seized stock until the case concludes in court and this could take years. Stocks are stored at a massive godown in Sewri. “In fact, an entire room at the excise department’s office in Fort used to be filled up to the ceiling with seized stocks until commissioner Ashwini Joshi took over and ordered that the stock be moved,” said an officer.

Recommended for you