The State marketing corporation (Tasmac) has opened its first premium alcoholic beverages outlet inside a shopping mall in the city.
Located inside Alsa Mall shopping complex on Montieth Road, Egmore, the store opened two weeks ago and stocks various local and international brands, most of them priced between Rs. 350 and Rs. 6,500. There is just one brand available for as little as Rs. 160.
Tasmac proposes to take the initiative to other malls in the city and also set up similar outlets in Anna Nagar, Adyar, T. Nagar and other prime areas.
A Tasmac official said the idea to set up premium outlets in the city was formulated last year.
“We approached owners of various malls in Chennai with the idea but were not welcomed as a Tasmac outlet inside a shopping mall is considered taboo. After lot of persuasion, the owners of Alsa Mall agreed but with certain conditions regarding the interiors,” said a senior official.
Unlike the regular stores, the premium outlet has no bar attached. The shop is under CCTV-camera coverage and has computerised billing with provision for payment by credit card.
“The premier outlet is a welcome move. Usually, I have to get my male friends to buy me liquor as Tasmac outlets are not women-friendly. Now, I can easily walk in, pick up the brands of my choice and pay with my credit card, just like in a supermarket,” said a woman executive who works in an international finance firm.
The outlet is aimed at upmarket customers. “We propose to sell only cases of beer and not individual bottles in order to avoid consumption on the mall premises,” the official said.
Tasmac is now in talks with other mall owners to open similar outlets and hopes to set up a chain of premium outlets in two months’ time, the official said.
Close elite liquor shop: Ramadoss
On Thursday, PMK leader S. Ramadoss, who has been running a campaign for total prohibition in the State, urged the government to close the Tasmac outlet in Alsa Mall.
In a statement, he said though Tasmac had given up its plan to open 200 elite liquor shops following strong opposition from the public and a Madras High Court observation, it had now gone ahead with its plan.
The PMK leader said opening liquor shops in shopping malls, which were visited by women and children in large numbers, would spoil the atmosphere there. “Don’t convert shopping malls into liquor bars,” he said.