The beer market in West Bengal has gone down by almost half since the beginning of 2018, according to excise data sourced from industry officials.
The drop in sales is believed to be the effect an over 40 per cent increase in the beverage’s excise duty.
West Bengal, one of the top beer-consuming states in the country, raised the duty to 45.5 per cent from 30 per cent in January. While, the levy was reduced to 42.7 per cent in March after initial supply disruption.
This has also led to a decline in beer sales by 48 per cent between January and December, the data showed.
“In West Bengal, we see a direct correlation between beer price change and its de-growth with a sudden surge in the sales of Indian-made foreign liquor in the hard-liquor segment. We have made several representations to the government for changing excise duty, but it is unlikely that the situation will reverse in our favour,” said a senior official in a multinational beer company to ET.
Brewers as well as industry bodies have been lobbying in the state to lower duty so that they can lower MRP, which went up from `100 on an average to `145-175 for a bottle now. Meanwhile, a year ago, West Bengal restricted liquor sales only through government-owned companies, similar to states such as Delhi, Rajasthan, Kerala and Tamil Nadu.