Tipplers in Kerala are set to make an all-time record as the fiscal year ends, with rum being their favourite drink. Officials are expecting the highest ever sale of liquor and beer at an estimated Rs.5,500 crore.

In the last fiscal (2008-09) Rs.4,631 crore worth of liquor and beer was sold, N. Shanker Reddy, managing director of the Kerala State Beverages Corporation (KSBC), told IANS.

“A record 185 lakh cases of liquor and 85 lakh cases of beer will be sold by the end of this fiscal, up from 170 lakh cases of liquor and 70 lakh cases of beer,” said Mr. Reddy.

Every year, liquor and beer sales have been rising and the total sales of liquor and beer during 2007-08 was Rs.3,669 crore, which means in two years the total sales went up by a staggering Rs.1,831 crore.

The more the liquor and beer gulped down by Keralites, the more revenue the state government gets and this time with record sales, the total taxes that the government will get is also an all-time high.

“Last fiscal the total revenue by way of taxes that came in through the sale of liquor and beer was Rs.3,621 crore and by March 31 this fiscal, it would touch Rs.4,150 crore,” said Mr. Reddy.

Rum continues to be the most preferred drink, accounting for more than 55 percent followed by brandy with a share of close to 40 percent. Four percent are vodka drinkers and gin, whisky and wine account for the rest in the liquor category.

Tipplers in Kerala appear to have got a “gift” from Finance Minister Thomas Isaac when he announced that “as part of social commitment, de-addiction centres will be started in selected district offices by KSBC” in the coming fiscal.

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