The Indian food delivery Company Zomato, aims to branch out into the delivery of alcohol, according to a document seen by Reuters, as it seeks to cash in on the high demand for alcohol during the country's coronavirus lockdown.
Zomato has already branched out in grocery deliveries, on movement shuttered some restaurants and people hesitated to order outside food due to fear of getting sick.
Alcohol stores, which were closed across the country on March 25, were allowed to reopen this week, generating queues of hundreds of people outside some outlets in some cities and leading to police baton chargers to enforce with social distancing protocols.
To deter large crowds, New Delhi authorities introduced a 70% "special corona Fee" on retail alcohol prices, while Mumbai closed its liquor stores within two days of reopening them.
There is currently no legal provision regarding the delivery of alcohol to your home in India, which is something the International Spirits and Wine Association of India (ISWAI) is pushing to change with Zomato and others.
"We believe that a technology-enabled home delivery based solution can boost responsible alcohol consumption," wrote Mohit Gupta, CEO, Zomato Food Delivery, in a business proposal to ISWAI.
The legal drinking age varies from state to state and ranges from 18 to 25 years.
Gupta wrote in the unpublished document submitted to ISWAI in mid-April and seen by Reuters that Zomato would target "areas relatively less affected by COVID 19".
Zomato did not respond to a request for comment.
Amrit Kiran Singh, Executive Chairman of ISWAI, said states should allow alcohol to be delivered to help boost revenue hit by COVID-19 lockdown.
"The challenge is to ensure that the alcohol revenue continues to remains available," he told Reuters. "It is imperative they (states) reduce the burden on the retail counter ... by encouraging home delivery."
India's alcohol drinks market was worth nearly $ 27.2 billion in 2018, according to the latest figures from the London-based IWSR Drinks Market Analysis.
With support from Ant Financial, a subsidiary of China’s Alibaba Group, Zomato bought Indian food delivery business from Uber in January.
Its main local competitor is Swiggy, which is backed by China’s Tencent which Singh said ISWAI had also contacted. Swiggy also declined to comment.
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