Beer lovers in the national capital are having a tough time scoring their favourite brands, which face a supply crunch due to "restrictions" from bottlers in neighbouring States amid high demand due to an unusually hot summer.
Since the implementation of new Excise Policy 2021-22 by Delhi government last November, private retail vends have been making attractive offers to consumers, which has led to an increase in demand for all kinds of alcoholic beverages, including beer, officials said.
Reasons for shortage
There are several factors that have fuelled shortage of beer in Delhi, one of which is an early onset of summer, said Vinod Giri, Director General of Indian Alcoholic Beverage Companies.
Another key reason for shortage is that the manufacturers have been asked to first fulfil the local demand in the neighbouring States like and Rajasthan, Haryana, and Punjab where they are located, before supplying it to Delhi and other places, he said.
Shortage of beer in Delhi is a normal feature during the summers but this year it is more due to less supply from states like Uttar Pradesh, said a senior excise department officer.
"The demand for beer rises during summer in northern parts of the country. In such a situation, supply to Delhi, which has no manufacturing facility, is affected since manufactures in major supplier States have to meet the local demand too," said the officer.
Can’t meet demand
Giri said that the demand for beer shot up by 30 per cent in March, which recorded several days of heatwave and ended up becoming the hottest March in the last 122 years.
"Normally, the beer is stocked during March for sale during the peak summer months of April, May and June. However, as demand started rising from March, shops could not stock up adequate cases," he said.
Many beer lovers complained they were finding it difficult to have their usual brands at the liquor vends in the city.
"The usual brands of beer have gone off the shelf. Men at liquor shops ask you to try new brands which I have never tasted. Due to shortage, you make do with whatever is available, whether it’s a can of beer or a bottle," said a man outside a liquor shop in Naraina area of the city.
Usually, the annual sale of beer in Delhi is around 315-320 million cases, out of which about 40 per cent gets sold during the summer months, he said.
But with an increased demand, the annual sale of beer this year is expected to go up to 330-340 million cases, he added.
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