Kerala is likely to witness all-time high liquor sales this Onam, the harvest festival, with the season already reporting a 30 per cent hike.
According to the Kerala State Beverages Corporation (BevCo), the first few days of this Onam season have set the tone for record sales.
“During last year’s Onam season, our sales were around Rs 561 crore.
This year, we expect it to be over Rs 700 crore,” said Yogesh Gupta, chairman and managing director, BevCo.
During the first five days, starting from August 31, sales touched Rs 324 crore, up from Rs 248 crore during the same period last year.
According to media reports, around 3.29 million out of 33.4 million people in the state consume liquor. Around 2.98 million are men and 310,000 women, with around 500,000 consuming liquor on a daily basis.
BevCo said the major reason for the rise in sales is the recovery in customer spends following two years of Covid-19.
“We were not able to operate freely last year as there were containment zones as well.
"This time, we are also ensuring availability of brands and, hence, the sales are the highest ever. We have opened more than 100 display pick-up shops or self-service shops this year,” Gupta added.
The final data of the Onam season will be available only after September 11.
The new stores are expected to push sales further this year, with BevCo ensuring the availability of a majority of brands in them.
Kerala, which has the highest per capita liquor consumption in India, and the other southern states — Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka — contribute to 45 per cent of overall liquor sales in the country, according to a CRISIL report.
The latest National Family Health Survey (NFHS) reports indicated that Kerala has seen a dip in alcohol consumption in the last four years.
According to the NFHS, the share of men consuming alcohol dropped from 37 per cent in 2015-16 to 19.9 per cent in 2019-20.
For women, the share reduced from 1.6 per cent in 2015-16 to 0.2 per cent in 2019-20.