Life & Style

Gurgaon to pay 3 times more on imported liquor as Haryana raises excise duty on imported alcohol

March 17, 2015 07:20 AM
Imported liquor to cost more in Haryana

NEW DELHI: Pub goers in Gurgaon? One of the biggest eating-out destinations in the country? Will have to shell out about three times more for their imported beer and spirits from April 1 as Haryana has steeply increased excise duty on imported liquor. Restaurant and pub owners say the move will entirely cripple the industry in Gurgaon, which contributes as much as 7%-9% of overall eating out orders across the country, according to estimates by online food delivery marketplace Foodpanda. 

The existing price for a pint of Corona beer, for example, ranges between Rs 130-150, which will go up to Rs 400 in retail outlets and up to Rs 900 in a restaurant, according to industry officials. 

Haryana government last week announced a new excise policy for 2015-16 that includes a new levy called 'assessment fee' on imported alcoholic beverages. It has also more than doubled restaurant license fee for selling alcoholic beverages in Gurgaon to Rs 12.5 lakh from existing Rs 6 lakh. Now, Gurgaon has established itself as one of the primary destinations for top pubs, restaurants and cafes in the country. 

"Since it's a corporate hub and given the number of marquee restaurant brands in the city, Gurgaon contributes one of the highest average ticket sizes for eating out across the country," said Rohit Chadda, MD & co-founder of Foodpanda. He said the average ticket size in Gurgaon is about 20% higher than most other cities in the country. 

Restaurant, pub and cafe owners, however, say the new policy will drive away many of their customers. "It is like saying don't do business," said Rahul Singh, founder and CEO of The Beer Cafe, and secretary at the National Restaurant Association of India ( NRAI). "They have increased the alcohol licence fee by 110% and because of this assessment fee, the consumer will now have to pay up to three times more for imported beers," he said. Singh said Gurgaon accounts for 99% of Haryana's pub and restaurant business. 

Top selling imported brands there include Corona and Hoegaarden beer, Jacobs Creek wine and Johnny Walker Black Label whiskey. Shiv Karan Singh, owner at marquee barbeque and grill chain Smokey's BBQ and Grill, said the move will discourage people from eating out. "I'm not sure whether I can pass down the increased costs to my customers who are already paying a premium. People will stop coming to my restaurant to drink. Already there are food service players who are giving up their licences," he said. 

The current industry size for imported beer in Gurgaon is estimated at around 60,000 cases annually. Industry insiders fear this could nosedive to just about 600 cases due to the new state policy. "From a market which has the maximum number of consumer choice, Gurgaon will go down to become a market where no imported beer is available," said Ankur Jain, director at Cerana Beverages which makes craft beer Biru. 

Gurgaon has had the cheapest beers in the country. "Now the price of imported beer in Gurgaon would be four times more than Maharashtra, where beer is the most expensive at present," he said. The existing price for a pint of Corona beer, for example, ranges between Rs 130-150, which will go up to Rs 400 in retail outlets and up to Rs 900 in a restaurant, according to industry officials. 

Jain of Cerana said, "The consumer cannot pay this sort of money anywhere in the world for a glass of beer. I think this is absolutely a joke. Either this is a genuine error or it has been done with an intent that cannot be defended by logic."

 

 

 

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