Starting September 1, the Delhi government is set to return to the old liquor excise policy regime, bringing in a host of changes for Delhiites, including 300 new liquor stores and opening four microbreweries in the city.
The Excise Policy 2021-22 was withdrawn after Lieutenant Governor V K Saxena recommended a CBI probe into alleged irregularities in its implementation. Now, private operators will shut shop from September 1.
300 liquor stores
The Delhi government, according to a report by The Times of India, will start operating 300 liquor stores in the first week of September through its four corporations, namely, Delhi State Industrial and Infrastructure Development Corporation, Delhi Tourism and Transportation Development Corporation, Delhi State Civil Supplies Corporation and Delhi Consumer’s Cooperative Wholesale store.
Government officials had earlier stated that they would open 500 stores in the first week of September and increase it to 700 by the end of 2022. But for now, they have decided to go for 300. Some of these are expected to come up near busy metro stations.
The government had issued zonal licences to private bidders for 849 liquor vends across the city under the Excise Policy, 2021-22.
Apart from the stores, the state government has also allowed resto-bars to open microbreweries. Four microbreweries serving draught beer will start operations in Delhi from the first week of September. A microbrewery (also known as a craft brewery) is a brewery that produces small amounts of beer using traditional brewing methods with a focus on a distinct taste.
Earlier, two microbreweries operated in Delhi, one in Connaught Place and another at a five-star hotel on Janpath Road. Those were, however, closed over a year ago.
In the Excise Policy 2021-22, microbreweries were allowed along with takeaway facilities for beer lovers. However, no new microbreweries could open in the city due to various reasons, including the requirement of multi-agency approvals.
“We have permitted three to four microbreweries that will start operations from the first week of September. They are awaiting licences due to some pending approvals by different agencies,” said a senior Excise Department officer.
“More microbreweries will come up in the near future,” another official said.
Microbreweries manufacture and serve draught beer to consumers with an installed capacity of fewer than 1,000 litres per day.
Mobile app for information
A mobile app, mAbkaridelhi, has been developed to provide information on dry days, liquor brands, and availability. It will also be available for download from September 1.
The mobile app will be available in Hindi and English and downloaded from Google Play Store. The iOS version will be made available shortly, officials said.
It will provide a host of information, retail vends in a locality, their timings and also enable searching vends in alphabetical order. The app also has the option to submit feedback, they said.