Liquor outlets in Kerala may run out of cheaper brands

People queue up outside a Bevco outlet in Thiruvananthapuram.
People queue up outside a Bevco outlet in Thiruvananthapuram. Photo: Rinku Raj Mattancheriyil

Thiruvananthapuram: Several liquor outlets in Kerala are facing a shortage of cheaper brands after manufacturers slashed the supply of alcoholic beverages.

Liquor manufacturers reduced the supply after they did not get the expected relaxation in tax in the state's liquor policy announced on March 30. Bevco's decision against paying the excise duty in advance, too, forced the manufacturers to slash the supply, besides a 20 per cent hike in the price of spirit.

The shortage ahead of festival season is likely to affect the revenue of liquor outlets.

The government had earlier responded positively to Kerala-based liquor manufacturers' demand to do away with the 14 per cent tax on revenue. The liquor policy, however, was silent on the issue. Kerala-based manufacturers have been supplying most cheaper brands.

The manufacturers faced yet another backlash after Bevco stopped paying the excise duty in advance from April 1. The manufacturers used to reimburse the tax once the government paid for the liquor. The hike in the price of spirit to Rs 70 a litre, too, adversely affected the manufacturers.

Though Bevco was supposed to fix the liquor rates for the current fiscal in March, it extended the tender till April 16. The manufacturers have not responded positively to the time extension.

The final date for registering brands, too, has been extended following a dip in such registrations.

Meanwhile, managing director of Bevco S Shyamsundar said there was no shortage of liquor in Kerala.

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