Demand soars with summer, beer supply woes hit Kolkata – Times of India

Kolkata News
KOLKATA: Several leading brands of beer have been in short supply across Kolkata’s bars, restaurants and off-shops as its demand peaks with the onset of summer. Supply of some popular brands like Tuborg, Carlsberg and Kingfisher has come down to a trickle due to ‘logistical bottlenecks’ triggered by a shift back to private distributorship of liquor in the state, according to industry sources. This has coincided with a sudden spurt in demand, they said.
Some restaurants rued that beer sales have dropped to almost half due to the non-availability of the leading brands. A restaurant owner said the supply of three top selling brands had been slow over the past few weeks. “With their favourite brands missing, most have either been staying away from drinks or ordering hard liquor. But with the temperature shooting, beer has no real substitute for many. It is leading to a loss for us,” he said.

Supply of some brands of beer has been slow but they have not disappeared, said Hotel and Restaurants Owners’ Association of Eastern India (HRAEI) president Sudesh Poddar. Several Park Street restaurants have been feeling the pinch. “Several brands are unavailable leaving visitors disappointed. Some do have a preference for some particular brands but they are now settling for other brands. We hope the supply normalizes soon,” said restaurateur Nitin Kothari. The sudden rise in demand has contributed to the supply slowdown, said Pratap Daryanani, owner of Oasis. “There has been an overnight switch to beer due to the weather,” he added.
The peak beer season in Bengal is March to June during which almost 6 million cases are sold out of an annual sale volume of 10 million cases. “There has been a sudden spurt in demand over the last 10 days. The distribution system is now undergoing a change with private distributors being allowed back into the system. We expect things to settle down over the next one week,” said an industry source. In 2017, West Bengal State Beverages Corporation (BEVCO) was formed by the state government to act as the lone intermediary between suppliers and retailers. Now, 13 private distributors are being inducted for distribution.
Owner of liquor shops said with the mercury rising, over 60% of customers purchase beer. “We only have some cans left of the strong variety,” said a liquor shop owner in Esplanade.