Hyderabad-based chocolatiers, who TNM spoke to were unaware that selling liquor chocolates through social media platforms were illegal.

Hyd officials crackdown on liquor chocolates but sale online continues unabated
news Crime Sunday, July 15, 2018 - 18:25

To sell liquor chocolates in Hyderabad, one requires a liquor license but a quick search on Facebook would give you enough leads to find a chocolatier, who is willing to sell you customized liquor chocolates. The State Excise Department officials say, this is illegal and will soon initiate a crackdown.

Liquor chocolates, as the name suggests, are chocolates that contain a dash of liquor. The type/brand of liquor added to the chocolate decides its taste and also the price. A quick search on Facebook led TNM to a number of groups where Hyderabadis are on the lookout for liquor chocolates. The sale of liquor chocolates is an offence under Section 34(a) of Telangana Excise Act, attracting a punishment ranging from three to five years of imprisonment. Many of those selling the chocolates online are unaware of the law.

“There is a huge demand in Hyderabad, people buy them especially as gifts for newly-wed couples. We source customers from social media, word of mouth helps get us repeat customers. Building trust is essential as some people were cheated after buying chocolate mixed with flavour essence that gets passed off as liquor chocolates,” said a chocolatier who did not wish to be named.

A box of liquor chocolates could contain as many as 10 to 12 chocolates with the base price of Rs 300, the price would go up from there, depending on the choice of liquor. One has to place an order two days in advance and can choose from a range of premium liquor brands, he added.

“We do mostly one to one businesses and do not sell it at any stores. There is nothing illegal in what we do. People buy them for parties or for some special occasions and they buy different types of liquor-based chocolates. The imported ones are too costly,” said another chocolatier TNM spoke to.

On Saturday sleuths from the Excise department arrested two person for the offence and seized 1,081 liquor chocolates. “They were buying liquor chocolates from a supplier in Delhi and reselling them in Hyderabad,” said N Anji Reddy, Assistant Excise Superintendent.

But the Excise Department officials were unaware that the sale of liquor chocolates continue unabated on social media platforms. When TNM explained how one could easily approach a chocolatier online for the illegal candy, the official said, “This is illegal and the Excise Department has not issued anyone a liquor license for making liquor chocolates. Even for the arrests, we had made on Saturday the accused were found selling the liquor chocolates over indiamart website. We will find these people and initiate legal action,” he added