Mumbai suburbs drink more alcohol while beer is the choice for the entire city, say data

Apr 13, 2018, 11:15 IST | Rahul Mahajani

In the past year, the total beer sold in the suburbs was 50.21 lakh litres (LL), while 17.75 LL of it was sold in the city limits (from south Mumbai to Sion, as per state excise's definition)

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When it comes to booze, the 'burbs and beer are cracking open a cold one for Mumbaikars. According to the statistics of liquor consumption in the city for 2017-18, released by the state excise department, the suburbs consume more liquor than south Mumbai and beer is the entire city's favourite tipple, followed by Indian made foreign liquor (IMFL), country liquor (CL) and ending with wine.

Hic hic hurray
In the past year, the total beer sold in the suburbs was 50.21 lakh litres (LL), while 17.75 LL of it was sold in the city limits (from south Mumbai to Sion, as per state excise's definition). The sale of beer was better in 2016-17 with 56.82 LL being sold in the suburbs and 20.51 LL in the city. Officials said this was due to a short supply of beer over a hike in excise duty. There was also an issue between the hoteliers and excise department, which was sorted later, after which the sales picked up.

As for IMFL, 24.23 LL was sold in the suburbs, against 10.60 LL in the city. Country liquor saw sales of 22.15 LL in the suburbs and 8.88 LL in the city. Wine, which is usually considered to be a drink popular with the upper social strata, saw just 1.65 LL in sales in the suburbs and 0.64 LL sold in the city.

Rollercoaster of sales
Despite what the figures say, the sale of liquor was a roller coaster of sorts for Mumbai and also the state. There was a marginal drop in the overall sale of liquor in the state from 32.5 crore litres liquor sold in 2016-17, to 31.24 crore litres being sold in 2017-18.

Officials said the sales were hit after the Supreme Court's December 2017 order prohibited the sale of liquor within 500 meters of the state and national highways. Nearly 50 per cent bars lost licenses after the order. However, officials said revenue picked up after SC clarified certain points, said an official of the state excise department. The revenue got a boost because of an increase in excise rates, despite less sale in alcohol.

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Sunil Chavan, director of state excise's enforcement and vigilance department said the overall revenue of the state excise increased from Rs 12,279 crore in 2016-17 to approximately Rs 13,300 crore in 2017-18.

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