In high spirits

Kathmandu, November 2

Liquor traders are in high spirits as they recorded brisk sales of alcoholic beverages during this year’s Dashain and Tihar festivals.

Uninterrupted by the anti-drunk driving campaign of the government, traders said liquor sales went up by up to five times than during normal times.

Liquor World — a reputed brewing supply store of Lazimpat — recorded a daily turnover of more than Rs one million on an average since the onset of Dashain. On normal days, the liquor store used to record sales worth around Rs 200,000.

“The one-and-a-half-month period of Dashain and Tihar is the time when demand of alcoholic beverages increases manifold. Daily sales of liquors from our outlet crossed Rs one million from the beginning of Dashain till today,” Manoj Maharjan, a representative of Liquor World told The Himalayan Times, adding that he expected the business to remain fairly constant until Chhath.

While they basically prioritise foreign alcohol brands, customers can get every liquor product available in Nepal from the outlet, according to Maharjan. “Among others, sales of luxurious whiskeys like Chivas Regal, Red Label and Black Label are on high demand during festive seasons,” informed Maharjan.

Traders also said that their liquor business during Dashain and Tihar is equivalent to their normal business in three months’ period. “Dashain and Tihar is a boon for our business as most people consume alcohol as part of celebrating these festivals. A large number of people in Nepal await Dashain and Tihar to consume alcohol, though they don’t have the habit of drinking alcohol regularly during other times,” said Ravi KC, president of Nepal Liquors Manufacturers’ Association (NLMA).

According to him, the increasing trend of consuming wine during social occasions and the availability of a large number of competitive domestic wines have been pushing up the overall business of alcohol in the country in recent years.

“Consumption of beer and wine is higher compared to other liquors during festive periods. Local wines like Harvest Moon, Delight, Hinwa and Big Master have been doing good business in Nepal in recent years and this popularity of local brands has been contributing to the growth of the domestic liquor industry,” said KC.

NLMA officials said that 70 per cent of alcoholic beverages that Nepalis consume during festivities are locally manufactured while the remaining 30 per cent festive demand of liquors is met by foreign brands.

With the annual demand growth of alcohol at almost seven per cent, liquor traders said that consumption of alcohol does not seem to have declined even though the government has imposed the anti-drunk driving campaign in recent years.

“While restaurants have been affected by the campaign, alcohol consumption rate has not gone down much,”

KC said.

It is said investors have poured in billions in domestic liquor industry.