Keralites no longer have to wait for their NRI cousins and friends to bring them foreign-made liquor, as it can now be sold in the state.
On Wednesday, the Kerala cabinet approved the draft liquor policy for 2018-19, which allows the sale of Foreign Made Foreign Liquor (FMFL). Other highlights of the policy include phasing out the use of plastic bottles and replacing them with glass ones, and extending the timings of bars in tourist areas.
The Kerala State Beverages Corporation (Bevco) and Consumerfed have been allowed to sell FMFL (apart from beer) and foreign-made wine alongside Indian Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL) and wine.
Speaking to TNM, V G Shaji, Bevcoâ€™s Finance Manager said that there some details are yet to be clarified.
â€śThis is a big relief for the beverage corporation, and there will be a significant increase in revenue as well. We are yet to clarify a lot of points regarding the issue and a meeting will soon be organisedâ€ť, he said.
To implement the decision the government will have to amend the FL-1 and FL-3 licences. The FL-1 licence only deals with the sale of sealed bottles of foreign liquor, while FL-3 deals with the sale of foreign liquor in bars and hotels where it can be consumed.
The decision to phase out plastic bottles and replace them glass bottles was taken as part of stateâ€™s Haritha Kerala Mission.
The plastic bottles will be phased out gradually.
While Bevco has welcomed the move to move from plastic bottles to glass bottles, the corporation is worried about transportation and an increase in the cost of production.
â€śThe move to phase out plastic bottles is definitely welcome, but there are a few concerns. The liquor suppliers will have to look into the problems in transportation. Especially while loading and unloading goods, there is a risk of breakage,â€ť Shaji added.
â€śThe cost of production for glass bottles would also go upâ€ť, he said.
As of now, only high-end liquor is sold in glass bottles.
The government has also decided not to increase the number of Bevco and Consumerfed liquor shops in the state.
As part of the policy, it has agreed to allow bars in tourist spots to remain open until midnight. The present closing time is 11 pm, which would continue for non-tourist spots.