Fri, 04 Feb 2022 03:58 PM IST
New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: With the onset of COVID-19 in March 2020, physical activities and services witnessed a halt that was never seen in the contemporary world. With governments across the globe announcing restrictions on physical activities and gatherings, retailers and shop owners in markets, malls and complexes were among the worst-hit sections of the society. The COVID-induced restrictions also forced alcohol vendors across the country to shut their operations which eventually resulted in huge losses.
Since the COVID lockdown was imposed in India, alcohol vendors and retailers are trying to convince the government to start home delivery of alcohol, but, no steps were taken to promote online sales and match the revenue to pre-COVID levels. However, alcohol shops were among the firsts which were opened when the lockdown was lifted, but the chaotic situation and overcrowding at shops, many were shut again. Presently, with minimal curbs in place, the alcohol business is doing fine and is coping with the situation to ramp up the sales again.
To know the benefits of home delivery of alcohol and how it can reverse the drastic effect of the COVID-19 pandemic, Jagran English spoke to Prem Dewan, MD of Devans Modern Breweries which is one of the most reputed breweries in the country. The Devans Breweries has been in the business for over 60 years and produces legendary brands like Godfather and Old Vat.
On the question of home delivery of alcohol, Prem Dewan said that a majority of liquor producers have batted for home delivery of alcohol across the country. A case has been made before the policymakers, especially in the wake of the third wave of the pandemic, to facilitate home delivery to prevent overcrowding at liquor outlets.
"There has been very limited impact on online sale of liquor in the country despite the pandemic. Most of the States do not promote online sales. This is mostly due to the system which we follow for the opening of retail vends in many States where the contractors bid huge amounts for the right to sell liquor in their specific areas", Dewan said.
"Online sales would intrude on their area of operation for which they have bid huge sums. As such I see the limited utility of this model in the majority of States. I would also stress here that the online model would favour the big players at the cost of the smaller local manufacturers due to their better marketing operations and being more digitally prepared", he added.
Speaking on the impact of the online sale of liquor on the revenue of the alcohol industry, Dewan flagged an important issue and said that big players will eventually get the most revenue on the cost of local and small players due to their huge marketing network.
"The effect of home delivery of alcohol would not make any overall difference to the revenues of the industry. However, the sale of premium brands would increase as would the sale of brands owned by multinationals due to their huge marketing network and as they would be more aligned to take advantage of this model at the cost of the local players", Dewan said.
Speaking about the future plans of Devans Modern Breweries, he said, "We have been one of the primary players in the Indian alcohol beverage market for more than six decades. Today, we are not merely the manufacturer of an iconic beer brand but have in recent times come out with products in the premium range across all segments".
"We now have beers in the strong beer segment, Belgian style white wheat beers, premium lagers etc. We are the only brewery having a Belgian style strong wheat beer as also the only company with a beer with 8 per cent ABV", he added.
"We have also tied up with a couple of new breweries in Arunachal and Jharkhand for production of our brands which would increase our volumes substantially. We have also completely overhauled the packaging of our Godfather beer and made substantial improvements in the product which has got very positive response from the consumers", Dewan said.