India has long been a hard liquor drinking nation and the country’s beermakers have a quite the solution for the problem, lesser taxes on beers. All India Brewers Association has claimed that the current policies regarding beers in the alcoholic beverage sector of the country are encouraging people to choose hard liquor over beer, the lesser of the two evils. Indian beer makers are lobbying to remove the link between beers and hard liquors in terms of distribution and taxation.
Segregation of Liquors
Speaking about the perceptions regarding beer drinking and the link between hard liquor and beer, Shobhan Roy, Director-General of All India Brewers Association, said, “There is a strong need to delink beer from hard spirits and rationalisation of taxes as per actual alcohol content to bring a slow but definite change in consumption pattern. Just like other parts of the world, the emphasis will then shift to not only controlling consumption but to reducing intake of more hard spirits.”
Rise in Consumption of Alcohol
According to a report by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development released last year, alcohol consumption in India has increased by 55 percent between 1992 and 2012, including a drastic increase in the consumption of alcohol by the youth population of the country. According to a study conducted by the World Health Organization in 2014, 93 percent of alcohol drinkers in the country choose hard liquor over beer. AIBA suggests that due to the lower alcohol content in beer, it should be the preferred drink among the population of the country over hard liquor and could lead to moderate consumption instead of binge drinking.
All India Brewers Association also maintained that due to the heavy taxation on beers as compared to hard liquor is the reason behind people preferring the latter. “Current policies of individual state governments are indiscriminately aimed at raising revenues from the alcoholic beverage sector without differentiating the categories of low alcoholic beverages. These policies overlook social needs and objectives and are thus driving people to consume hard liquor,” said AIBA in a statement.