India: Karnataka allows brewing fresh batches of beer for off-premise consumption
The Karnataka government has allowed microbreweries to brew fresh batches of beer for off-premise consumption, Livemint reported on June 2.
The order permitting fresh batches comes about a fortnight after the state excise department allowed microbreweries to sell their existing stocks in order to mitigate the losses incurred in the Covid-19 induced lockdown.
The notification states that permission is accorded to microbreweries for fresh brewing/production and sale of beer till 30-6-2020, or until further orders, whichever is earlier."
The relaxing of restrictions is part of the B.S.Yediyurappa-led governments plans to permit reopening of businesses and activities to help revive the economy. The state government had been particular about resuming liquor sales to help bring in some cash inflows to mitigate the acute fund crunch.
Karnataka cashed in on pent up demand after liquor sales were allowed from 4 May and since clocked ₹2146.48 crores. The excise revenue is Rs1387.20 crore, according to information by the department.
Even hotels and restaurants were allowed to sell their stock at MRP (maximum retail price).
Though microbreweries account for around Rs30 crore out of the over Rs20,000 crore fiscal target of the state excise department, they had requested to start selling beer in growlers and reopen their kitchens to bring down the burden of losses, pay utilities and employee salaries with revenues that come from beer sales.
Though this started with stellar sales, demand fell since brewers say craft beer is part of an experience that includes ambience and food.
The Karnataka government has decided to reopen inter-state travel, shopping malls, religious places and restaurants on 8 June. The state government has said that bars, among other categories of activities, will reopen in the third phase of lifting the lockdown but has not specified a date for the same.
Microbrewers, however, are hopeful that the government will allow craft beer sales afte30 June as well.
We are hoping they will continue this but there are challenges to this," Sibi Venkataraju, who runs Toit in Indiranagar and is part of the Craft Brewers Association of India, said.
Over time, they would need to make amendments to the law to make it permanent and we are hoping that it can happen," he added.
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