Kerala liquor, beer sales on a record ‘high’

March 31st, 2009 - 4:32 pm ICT by IANS  

By Sanu George
Thiruvananthapuram, March 31 (IANS) Unfazed by the global economic crisis, tipplers in the state will have consumed an estimated Rs.4,600 crore worth of liquor this fiscal - a record - to clock the highest ever annual sales in Kerala’s history.

According to a senior official of the Kerala State Beverages Corp (KSBC), the sole wholesalers of liquor and beer that is promoted by the state government, sales this fiscal are expected to touch Rs.4,600 crore by end of Tuesday - the last day this fiscal - as against Rs.3,669 crore the previous financial year.

“The total liquor and beer sales stood at Rs.4,195 crore till the end of February. In the same period last year, it was Rs.3,319 crore. This is from sale of 157 lakh cases of liquor and 62 lakh cases of beer,” said the official, who did not wish to be identified.

At the end of Tuesday’s sales, total liquor consumption for the entire fiscal is expected to end at around 170 lakh cases - up from 148 lakh cases last fiscal. Similarly, beer consumption is set to touch 70 lakh cases, up from 59 lakh cases previous year.

Little wonder that, for the state government, tipplers have provided the highest-ever tax revenue.

“Last fiscal, total taxes that the state government received under this account was Rs.2,914 crore and by today, the state would have received Rs.3,650 crore. This is a record,” the official said.

Till February-end, tax collection from liquor sales was Rs.3,174 crore, compared to Rs.2,548 crore for the corresponding period last fiscal, the official said.

However, while liquor consumption overall has risen, that of whisky has fallen, with its sale component falling from around 15 percent of total liquor sales a few years back to a mere 1 percent now.

“Kerala is basically a rum market, and 57 percent of the liquor consumed is rum. Brandy sales stand at 40 percent, and gin, vodka and wine account for 2 percent,” said the official.

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