The Diageo-owned company will use its In.thebar.com platform for online sales. At present, it's beta testing the platform even as the chorus rises for drinks at the consumer’s doorstep.
Diageo-owned United Spirits Ltd (USL), which makes Black Dog Scotch and Signature Whiskey brands, is building its online platform for home delivery of products at a time when liquor companies and industry bodies are urging state governments to consider delivery of liquor at the consumer’s doorstep.
USL will use its In.thebar.com platform for online sales, a company official told Mint. At present, it is beta testing the platform, hosting content and building communities.
“Depending on the regulatory environment, how the model grows, there could definitely be an integration of (In.thebar.com) for home delivery," Hina Nagarajan, Managing Director and CEO of Diageo India, told Mint. The platform, which was launched last quarter in India, is present in other countries as well.
As liquor is a state subject, India does not have a national policy related to home delivery of products. Some states like Maharashtra, Odisha and West Bengal have allowed companies to deliver liquor to the consumers at home via aggregators such as Swiggy.
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Apps like Living Liquidz, Hip Bar and Spiritzone deliver liquor to consumers at home in some states. Swiggy has also partnered with over a dozen licensed liquor stores to deliver the best brands.
Industry associations have urged states to consider more convenient forms of accessing liquor, including the home delivery option amid a surge in COVID-19 cases, as it would prevent crowding at retail outlets.
Last month, industry body International Spirits & Wines Association of India (ISWAI) sought permission from the Delhi government for delivering liquor at home in the city amid restrictions imposed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The industry association -- which includes renowned international liquor companies like Bacardi, Diageo, Brown Forman, Pernod Ricard, Moet Hennessy, Beam Suntory and William Grant & Sons -- has been lobbying for home delivery of alcohol from the second half of 2020. ISWAI said it was willing to work with the states to build comprehensive regulations and safeguards for home delivery of alcohol.
Meanwhile, Karnataka has staunchly resisted the idea of delivering liquor at homes for consumers, The Times of India reported.
“In Karnataka and specially in Bengaluru, the IT-BT capital of the nation and the Silicon Valley of India, the government is yet to consider this option,” Nita Kapoor, CEO of ISWAI, told TOI.
While the association said it was pursuing the matter with the government, Karnataka Excise Minister K. Gopalaiah said no such appeal has been submitted to him or the ministry.
The state government is willing to consider suggestions from the industry as long as they are within the reasonable framework and ensures that those with liquor licences do not lose their jobs, the minister said.
Meanwhile, the Maharashtra government on January 27 allowed supermarkets and shops to sell wine directly to consumers in order to boost the wine industry and to support the state’s grapes farmers.
“In supermarkets, the sealed bottles of wine will be sold directly to consumers. The government will issue the FL and AXC licence to supermarkets and shops to sell wine. The condition is that the size of the shops should be minimum 1000 sq ft,” the Maharashtra cabinet said.
(Edited by : Shoma Bhattacharjee)