Kerala govt withdraws nod to sell big packs of liquor, including keg and draught beer

Representational image.

Thiruvananthapuram: Fearing controversy, the Kerala government has withdrawn its recent order allowing sale of liquor, beer and wine in unlimited quantities. Authorities made it clear that keg and draught beers cannot be sold in the state either.

These decisions are contrary to some earlier orders issued by the state. As per the rules, liquor, beer and wine can be sold only in packs of 180 ml to 3 litres in Kerala. At present, beer is available in bottles and cans in the state.

In April this year, the Kerala State Beverages Corporation (Bevco)

sought the permission of the Department of Taxes to sell kegs and draft beers. Subsequently, the tax department allowed Bevco to sell liquor, beer and wine in packs of any size.

On receiving the approval, the managing director of Bevco contacted various liquor distributors to acquire large packs. However, it was pointed out at the ministerial-level that the orders issued by the Department of Taxes and Bevco were against the liquor policy recently announced by the state government.

Soon, the office of the Excise Minister intervened and directed the Department of Taxes to withdraw the order.

The latest communication from the department to Bevco says that as liquor cannot be sold in quantities lesser than 180 ml and with this stipulation remaining unchanged in the liquor policy for the current financial year, the permission granted to sell liquor in big packs was being withdrawn.

The tax department also informed Bevco that keg and draft beers cannot be sold in Kerala as they have not been mentioned in the liquor policy.

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