Lockdown cheer: Telangana in ‘high spirits’ in May | | Sidnaz Blog

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HYDERABAD: Milk and mutton sales might have taken a hit, but whiskey bottles continued to fly off the shelves of Telangana’s liquor stores all through May this year, the 20-day lockdown notwithstanding.
A quick look at the month’s sales figures show that despite limited access — stores were open only during the odd 6 am to 10 am period — guzzlers remained in high spirits, with the sector ringing in revenues worth Rs 2,129 crore during this period. This is only 6% lower than Telangana’s May 2020 sales of Rs 2,270 crore, when liquor shops reopened after 44 days of lockdown.
Interestingly, May 2021’s sale volume was even higher than the last Dasara season — usually a peak period for alcohol business — when stocks worth Rs 2,115 crore was lifted from depots across Telangana. But while May proved to be heady for hard liquor, beer sales plummeted significantly.
From 33.23 lakh beer cases sold during May 2020, last month’s sales slipped to 20.19 lakh. In comparison, liquor sales shot to 27.12 lakh cases in May 2021 from 26.69 lakh cases in May 2020. In fact, for a week post the lockdown on May 12, even the daily sales numbers was at least 44% higher than most days of May 2020, official records show.
“Sales improved during partial lockdown because people were worried about Telangana imposing either a complete lockdown or weekend lockdown, like in some other states. So, there was some amount of hoarding,” said excise minister,V Srinivas Goud. And while some officials attributed the drop in beer sales to price rise — there was a flat Rs 30 hike introduced last year — and shop timings, the minister said that it was also because of pubs and restaurants being shut. “Maximum consumption of beer is recorded from these places. Once they reopen, beer sales will pick up again,” he added.
The encouraging sale of liquor, meanwhile, has failed to lift the spirits of retailers. “This is only temporary and is unlikely to help our business,” said a dealer adding, “The cost of liquor has shot up from 5% to 20% on many brands. In May, people bought only to replenish stocks. It isn’t a consistent trend.” Another dealer claimed that most of May’s business in Telangana was registered during the first 11 days, when there wasn’t any restriction on store timings.


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