Lockdown: Liquor traders in Goa fear shortage of stocks

Panaji: Even as the Centre’s amended guidelines for the COVID-19 lockdown will open up liquor stores in Goa, traders are concerned that they might run out of stocks, as the ban on foreign imports remains in place.

According to liquor traders, stocks of foreign-made alcohol may dry up in the next two months, as most scotch whiskeys were brought in from UK, while several imports were made from France, Spain and Italy, which are severely hit by the pandemic.

At least 1,300 liquor outlets would be stocked up well when they resume operations on May 4, said Dattaprasad Naik, president of Goa Liquor Traders’ Association.

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However, beer stocks may dry up in the next eight to 10 days, as supply from neighbouring states was disrupted after Goa sealed its borders, he said.

Although some brands of whiskey were manufactured in Goa, the base alcohol used for production was sourced from other states, especially Uttar Pradesh, Naik said.

Liquor stores in the coastal state had downed their shutters, when the Centre announced the lockdown last month to contain the spread of coronavirus.

Sale of alcohol may drop by 70 per cent once the business resumes, as tourism has been suspended in the state, Naik said.

“Majority of liquor consumers in Goa are tourists and only 30 per cent of the supplies are for locals,” he said, adding that the liquor trade may not gain momentum, as tourism may not resume any time soon.

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