Delhi

Bars, cafes oppose order on destroying liquor

Profits to take a dip even if revised rules are implemented, claim managers of establishments

Bars and clubs in the city are against the revised August 30 order by the Delhi government to destroy alcohol that does not get sold within eight days at the “bar counters”.

The move is to prevent adulteration of alcohol that happens in bar counters as bottles remain there for months, according to officials of the Department of Excise Entertainment and Luxury Tax. But bottles kept at stores of bars and clubs have no such restrictions.

The Hindu met managers of six bars and cafes and all of them said that their profit will be affected if the order is implemented in the current form. The managers suggested amendments to the order — from increasing the number of days for which an opened bottle can be kept at the bar counter to the government increasing checking instead of the current order.

But officials said that they would not withdraw the order completely.

According to the order, champagnes and sparkling wines are now allowed to be kept at bar counters for more than three days. For whiskey and vodka bottles of 750 ml with the MRP between ₹1,501 and ₹4,500, the time limit is eight days.

“Following the expiry of the abovesaid time limit, the stock of liquor that remains unserved should be removed from the bar counter and destroyed within seven days,” the order read.

The August 30 order, a modification of the August 26 order, has exempted hotels with 4 stars and above. It has also exempted beer and liquor, whose 750 ml bottle’s MRP is below ₹1,500.

Not practical

Rajesh Kumar, general manager of OMG Cafe in Connaught Place said that most of the liquor they sell fall in the ₹1,500 - ₹4,500 category.

“Whether it is Jack Daniels or Black Label or Red Label, they all fall in this category and it takes us 15 days to one month on an average to finish a bottle of these whiskeys. The crowd that comes to CP is middle class, who prefer cheaper alcohol. So, someone might take a shot (30 ml) or two from a bottle and the remaining stock would take time to be sold,” Mr. Kumar said.

“Just because a handful of bars do illegal things, it doesn’t mean that you can come up with rules that will affect the rest of us who follow it,” Mr. Kumar added.

Sandeep Singh, floor manager of Warehouse Cafe said that their business will be affected, but smaller clubs will be affected more. “Adulteration happens only in a few bars in some pockets and the government should not have come up with a limitation for everyone for it,” he said.

Basant Singh, supervisor at Rodeo, a cafe, said that people mainly come to the cafe for their Mexican food. “Our focus is more on food and we do not play loud music or have a dance floor. So, it takes more time to sell a bottle of alcohol.”

Rakesh Yadav, assistant manager of another cafe, too had a similar opinion. “The authorities should decide the number of days within which a bottle should be sold depending on the seating capacity and whether the place has a dance floor among other things. Else the policy will not work.”

But some are warming up for the implementation of the new order. “If it is implemented, then we will have to manage the bar counter better and keep the bar attenders informed about what all bottles have been opened and to finish them soon. But we are meeting the excise officials again and hope they will amend it,” said general manager of a pub in Connaught Place, who did not wish to be named.

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Printable version | Jun 3, 2020 7:16:34 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Delhi/bars-cafes-oppose-order-on-destroying-liquor/article29386900.ece

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