Online Delivery of Alcohol

India is the world’s second-largest consumer of liquor. The WHO study also illustrates that India’s consumption was 2.4 liters per person in 2005, which surged up to 5.7 liters per person in 2016. The Research and Markets on changing behavioral patterns of Indian Alcohol consumption, says that the estimated consumption of alcohol would reach up to 16.8 billion liters by 2022. The report also says that the alcohol industry in Indian markets is growing at a CAGR of 8.8 percent. The figures infer that there is always a thriving market that creates an opportunity for the alcohol industry in India to strengthen its sales and revenue.

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Despite pervasive alcohol harmful effects, India does not have a national alcohol policy system. Instead, alcohol policy solutions rely on state governments. Even though alcohol benefits the economy of India more than the revenue it generates. The state governments think of alcohol as a revenue-generating product. This thinking led to alcohol policy-making such as excise alcohol taxation being centered around revenue instead of public health.

Reason for online services

Alcohol stores were closed nationwide from March 25, 2020, accepting social distancing protocols due to the deadly pandemic of COVID-19. While the reopening in May 2020 caused people to throng outside stores in massive numbers, and the government had to quickly re-analyze. Meanwhile, the New Delhi authorities introduced a “Special Corona Fee” of 70% on top of retail liquor costs. On the other hand, Mumbai shut down its liquor stores entirely within two days of its reopening. So, the administration exercised online home delivery of alcohol. On May 8, 2020, the Supreme Court of India examined that the states should find alternatives to liquor delivery. Here is where players like Zomato and Swiggy came into the process.

Methods

As alcohol is regulated by the state government so different states are using different methods for online delivery of alcohol. These include,

Online purchase and issuing e-tokens for pickup,

Online purchase and home delivery through the alcohol portal, or

Online purchase and home delivery through a third-party delivery platform.

Difficulty faced during service

However, the delivery of liquor and its products is not as simple as the food delivery market. It is a highly regulated market. Different states have established different legal ages for alcohol consumption. Also, the suppliers have to obey multiple regulations and rules assessed by the government to stay within legal holds to deliver liquor.

The solution to ensure safe delivery

To secure the safe delivery of alcohol in obedience to laws, Swiggy introduced compulsory age confirmation and user authentication features on their application. Customers have to verify their age by uploading a picture of a valid government ID. A selfie is then also instructed for authentication that is verified by the platform using an AI-powered system. Every order carries a special OTP, which is expected at the time of delivery and needs to be procured by the customer. There is also control over the quantity of liquor ordered.

Zomato, as well, has acquainted consumption and identity confirmation procedures, several safety procedures and inspections, to ensure credible and safe ordering and delivery of alcohol. There are age checks at the time of ordering as well as the delivery. There are product category maxima to stimulate responsible consumption. The application only has licensed alcohol retailers who have opted for the service.

Drawbacks

Although this move by the delivery companies like Zomato and Swiggy has opened a new way for alcohol orders through smartphones, which promotes social distancing and consumer safety. But there is a high possibility that the delivery man can be attacked by goons for the bottles and, we know, what a person can do if he does not get goods to which he is addicted. Moreover, the young generation knows how to use the internet very well. So there is a possibility of a bad influence on the young generation of the country.

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