Pondicherry Guzzles almost Max. per capita Whisky in the World

India is known to be a whisky drinking nation but the WHO Global Status Report also indicates that its share gone down from 65% to 55% during the last 3-4 years with Pondicherry missing the world per capita record by barely half litre, reports TOI

According to WHO's Global Status Report on Alcohol 2004, consumption of hard liquor varies widely from one state to another, ranging from a high of 43 litres per capita per annum in Pondicherry to barely about half a litre in Bihar and Jharkhand, according to last year's report of the ministry of food processing.

That puts Pondicherry very close to the top of the global charts. If, for instance, all of the 43 litres is Indian Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL), that would be equivalent to 18.4 litres of pure alcohol (since the alcohol content of IMFL is 42.8% volume-by-volume). Add a bottle of beer each month per capita to that number and Uganda's 19 litres per capita per annum would be within striking distance.

The highest consumption levels are recorded in Pondicherry, Chandigarh, Goa and Delhi in that order. Since all of these have lower taxes on alcohol than their neighbouring states, their consumption numbers are almost certainly boosted by people from across the border buying cheap liquor. In the case of Pondicherry and Goa, the high volume of tourists relative to the local population could also be contributing to the high consumption figures.

Barring these exceptionally high consumption areas, among the states, the highest consumption of hard liquor is in Punjab and Haryana - over 6 litres per capita per annum. They are closely followed by Sikkim, Karnataka (just under 6 litres in both) and Andhra Pradesh (5 litres) in that order. Kerala and Tamil Nadu, which had figured as high alcohol consuming states in 2003, are now down to 11th and 12th place in terms of per capita consumption.

Most states that figure at the bottom of the list like Orissa, West Bengal, Manipur, Bihar, Jharkhand and so on, are states which have a culture of consuming locally brewed alcohol or traditional brews. This could be one reason why the consumption of liquor seems so low in these states as the local brews would not figure in the official figures. What is accounted for as country liquor (CL) in the official data only includes brews for which there are officially licensed vends.

The government estimate of 5.8 million cases of illicit liquor being sold annually in the country is dismissed by the liquor industry as hugely underestimated. Even the official figure for Kerala's liquor consumption does not include 280 lakh cases of toddy, which works out to roughly over 15 litres per capita. But the alcohol content of toddy is low, anything between 5% and 8%, which makes it only somewhat stronger than normal beer.

Gujarat, Mizoram, Nagaland and Lakshadweep are prohibition states and hence there is no official record of how much alcohol flows there illegally.

The official data also confirms that India remains partial towards coloured liquor as opposed to white. North and west India consume more whisky and the south more of brandy and rum, according to the numbers. India accounts for over 55% of all IMFL sold. Rum comes in a poor second at 27%, followed by brandy at 14%. Gin accounts for a mere 3% and vodka just 1%.

About 80% of whisky is sold at below Rs 200 per bottle and only 1% at above Rs 600. However, whisky is slowly losing out to other drinks. From a market share of over 65% just three to four years back, whisky has declined to 55%, while the market for other drinks has grown. The biggest growth is seen in the vodka segment, about 25% annually, though it is mostly in urban centres. The IMFL segment as a whole is estimated to be growing at nearly 11% each year.

The beer market too is growing, though at a much slower 5.5% per annum. (This figure given seems to be low-beer industry estimate show last year's growth at around 25% with a total consumption at over 126 million cases-edit or) Andhra Pradesh is the largest consumer of beer (over 18% of the beer sold in India) followed by Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Rajasthan. Together, these states account for nearly 60% of the beer consumed in the country.

The Indian wine market is much smaller, though growing steadily. Within this small niche, the share of red wine is 39%, white wine 37%, sparkling wine 7% and fortified wine 17%. Mumbai accounts for approximately 40% of the country's wine sales. ( The fortified figure could be skewed as the cheap 'Port' wine made generally from distilled liquor would be in this category-editor)

Resource: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/





Developed & Designed by Sadilak SoftNet
© All Rights Reserved 2002-2007