Andhra Pradesh may soon have several micro-breweries and parlours that serve locally brewed beer, if the Department of Excise and Prohibition goes ahead with its plans.
Stating that the first phase will target beer lovers in Vijayawada and Visakhapatnam, the Times of India reported that the state was currently drafting the guidelines and studying the viability of the move.
Excise Visakhapatnam district deputy commissioner Gopala Krishna told TOI, â€œYes, beer microbreweries have been on the cards in the state.The government has added it in the new liquor beer policy...There will be a separate microbrewery plant, beer tanks and brew masters to set up the plant. We will also issue a separate licence too."
The state's Prohibition and Excise Minister Kothapali Samuel Jawahar went even one step further, claiming that the state would promote beer as a "healthier option" than other alcoholic drinks.
Speaking to the Indian Express, he said, "I am not saying it is a health drink but it is healthier than other drinks and we will introduce locally-brewed beer with far less alcohol content than branded ones. We cannot change peopleâ€™s habits of drinking but we can at least try to make available drinks that have less alcohol."
This comes days after the state began implementation of the Supreme Court direction, that liquor shops and bars should not be situated within 500 metres of state and national highways.
Thousands of outlets had to reportedly down their shutters after the stateâ€™s new excise policy came into effect.
The order has also irked several traders and merchants in the state, as bars had to be pushed into residential areas if the SC ruling had to be followed.
However, these outlets were facing stiff resistance from local residents, who also did not want a liquor shop near a school or a place of worship.