UKIBC and Food and Drink SAG members continue dialogue with Invest India

By Shubhi Mishra

UKIBC Food and Drink Sector Advocacy Group (FDSAG) members, namely Diageo, Pernod Ricard and International Spirits & Wines Association of India (ISWAI) had a thorough discussion with Invest India yesterday, Monday 20th April, to review the impact of the recent extension to the lockdown in India on the spirits sector.

The attendees presented suggestions to transcend the crisis and to re-open the sector, to boost revenue in the sector and in the state alike.

The members jointly voiced that the total shutdown of the alcohol sector has tremendously affected businesses in the supply chain. Members have also flagged concern around the growing possibilities of illicit trade in this situation which, furthermore, can have a hazardous impact on the health of consumers.

All liquor makers have shut plants and factories, except for keeping divisions open to make sanitisers from their laboratories, which allow them to blend in batches. This move is rightly in support with the central government’s appeal to distilleries to produce hand sanitisers, and thus an effort that is applauded by both UKIBC and the Indian Government.

Alcohol is classified as food under the Food Safety & Standards Act of 2006, and thus should be exempt under the current lockdown, like other food and grocery items.

UKIBC and its FDSAG members stand in full support with the government, both at the central and state level. We support our members’ consensus that means like opening stores with stringent social distancing norms for a defined duration of time, home delivery from licensed liquor shops during the lockdown period, and e-commerce of alcohol beverage, can bring economic stability to the industry and support state excise revenues.

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