As mercury dips, rum sales rise

Feb 10, 2012, 09:06 IST | Urvashi Seth

Consumption of the potent intoxicant has gone up by 85 per cent; brandy and whisky are also finding favour

Consumption of the potent intoxicant has gone up by 85 per cent; brandy and whisky are also finding favour

The anomalous chill in the air has warmed the hearts of the state's wine shop owners. They claim there has been an overwhelming upsurge in sales of hard liquor such as rum and whisky in the past few weeks. Not only this. Maharashtra, which has always been considered a dull market for brandy, has witnessed much-improved business -- with an increase of 15 per cent -- this winter.

Liquid diet! Retailers say apart from rum, even brandy, which usually
doesn't sell well in the state, is doing brisk business. Representation Pic

However, retailers say the protracted winter spell and recurring fog has hit beer sales. "Rum sales have gone up by 85 per cent this year. Many mature drinkers who prefer scotch, usually shift to rum during winters. While brandy consumption has gone up too, people in Maharashtra are less familiar with it due to the low quality brandy that is available in the state," said Arvind Miskin, president, Maharashtra Wine Merchants' Association.

Driven to drink!
Retailers revealed that the abiding cold spell, which has seen temperatures dip as low as 12 degree Celsius, is sending liquor aficionados back to bars and wine shops consistently. "In the last few days the city had got warmer. But we are suddenly again witnessing a cold wave, which has led to rise in consumption of rum and brandy. With brandy, which has many health benefits when consumed in moderation, we have seen such a high demand for the first time. This is not normal in a state like Maharashtra, where even during winters temperatures are not very low. We have witnessed a rise in demand of brandy by 10 per cent. Sales were almost negligible the last few winters," said Dilip J Giyanani, a wine shop owner. He added that demand for whisky is high too, with sales of vodka taking a dive.

"It is a usual trend that beer is the most preferred drink in summers. Whisky is a liquor for all seasons. And rum is preferred in winters and the rainy season, when the temperature dips," he said.

Change of flavour
Pravin Shah, a Ghatkopar resident is one among a few tipplers who have shifted to rum since the cold spell hit the city. "I am a vodka drinker. But in the last few days we are witnessing low temperatures, which is unlike Mumbai, so I have shifted to rum to keep myself warm. Though it is a bit heavy on the pocket, it is still preferred at this time." Retailers expect sales to rise further as MET has forecast a cold spell again in the city in the next few days, once again bringing the minimum temperature to around 12 degree Celsius, which had gone up to about 17 degrees in the last few days.

Out cold
On Thursday, the city witnessed February's second lowest temperature in the last 10 years, where the mercury dipped to 8.8 degree Celsius at Santacruz, a drop of almost five degrees in 24 hours. The weather department attributes this to strong westerly winds.

Yesterday's maximum-recorded temperature was 26.5 degree Celsius, a dip of 2 degrees in 24 hours. The Colaba weather station recorded a minimum temperature of 14.2 degrees Celsius and the maximum temperature was 27.9 degrees Celsius.

"The minimum temperature is expected to rise to 10-11 degrees in the next 24 hours. On Thursday midnight the temperature went below normal at Santacruz, reaching 8.8 degrees Celsius," said a MET official.
In 2008 the city had witnessed the lowest temperature on a February day in the last ten years, where the mercury had dipped to 8.5 degrees Celsius.

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