NEW DELHI: After the implementation of the new alcohol policy, the unavailability of alcohol in several restaurants, bars and cafes resulted in a loss of around 20% to 40%. Brand-specific customers are now moving to Gurgaon or Noida to enjoy their drink choices. The Sunday Guardian visited popular restaurants and cafes to understand the current scenario. Tonino cafe in Connaught Place is popular among young people. Italian coffee suffers a loss of around 25% to 30% due to the unavailability of beers and wines. Around 50-60% of beer brands are currently unavailable, including Erdinger, Hoegaarden and Budweiser. Only one case of Kingfisher Ultra is available at this time. Similarly, the unavailability of regular wine also resulted in a loss. A staff member, without naming specific wine brands, told this newspaper: “Ordinary wine which costs around 1,000 to 1,500 rupees is also not available; therefore our popular cocktail, the Martini Rosso, is not available at the moment. Likewise, other brands of Scotch Whiskey such as Chivas Regal 12 Year Old Blended Scotch Whisky, Glenfiddich 12 Year and Glenfiddich 18 Year Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky, and Jack Daniel’s Old No 7 are also unavailable. “We have a huge list; these are peak seasons, if we don’t get the marks in time we will suffer a huge loss,” a staff member, speaking on condition of anonymity, told this newspaper.
Another Italian restaurant, Diggin, also suffers a loss of around 25% of its business. Unavailability of Tequila like Don Angel, Viva Mojo; Greater Than Gin, Sparkling Wine, resulted in the loss of customers. Likewise, beer brands such as Kingfisher, Heineken and Budweiser are once again unavailable. Again, an official, on condition of anonymity, told this newspaper: “A lot of brands are not available. Only a few days ago Teacher’s (Whisky) became available. He further declined to comment. more the number of currently unavailable brands.
Known for its eclectic cuisine and contemporary vibe, Lord of the Drinks offers the best catering services in India. Unfortunately, the contemporary drinks menu is losing around 30-40%. The official, on condition of anonymity, told this newspaper: “We have suffered a huge loss due to the unavailability of the brands. Brand-specific customers, including young people, are disappointed because they don’t have their choice of drinks. Ultimately, we lose customers. The scenario has been the same for two and a half months. Brands such as Camino (Tequila), Smirnoff, Gray Goose (vodka), Black Label and beer brands such as Budweiser, Heineken, Hoegaarden, are again unavailable. “Currently, Kingfisher Ultra is coming slowly,” a staff member told this newspaper. Chinese restaurant manager Zen declined to comment on the unavailability of alcohol, but hinted that some brands are unavailable, without mentioning specific names or details.
The Confederation of Indian Liquor Companies (CIABC) highlighted several issues that arose due to the old excise policy, such as excessive license fees for Indian products (50 times more than imported products), archaic cost reimbursements set 20 years ago, dated pricing rules and many other such operational issues. Vinod Giri, the managing director of CIABC, told this newspaper: “Delhi is facing a shortage of premium liquor brands which will last more and more during the peak drinking season. This is due to various reasons stemming from from the mid-year return to the old excise policy. Well-known brands of many companies have yet to re-register in Delhi. Some are withheld at the end of the government due to lack of approval, and some voluntarily by the companies because they find the demand to pay trademark registration fees the whole year although only half of the year remains unreasonable and commercially unfeasible.
He further added: “Frequent changes in policy have destabilizing effects as the industry seeks above all a stable regulatory framework. Outstanding questions such as what to do with remaining stock at the time of excise policy changes still need to be resolved even after nearly a year, affecting supplier confidence. On the consumer side, the expansion of the retail footprint has slowed and bar licenses and licenses would take time to process. We have the impression that the excise authorities, despite their best efforts, are trying to manage too many problems at the same time without prioritizing as they should.