Amazon and Alibaba backed online grocery deliver company Big Basket set to get a nod for home delivery of alcohol from West Bengal State Beverages Corp
Home delivery of alcohol in India will change equations in a market that is worth $27.2 billion
Kolkata: Now this is something that's called a bold move, and a long-awaited one. Amazon and Big Basket are set to get approval for online delivery of alcohol in West Bengal, according to a report by Reuters. In a notice on Friday, June 19, the West Bengal State Beverages Corp which is the authorised agency to carry out online retail of liquor trade in the state has said US e-Commerce giant Amazon and Alibaba backed Big Basket were among the companies found to be eligible for registration with authorities for online delivering alcohol. The copy of the notice has been accessed by the news wire, the report claims. If these companies finally get through, they are set to change equations in the country's growing liquor business sector which is now worth $27.2 billion.
According to the report, Amazon has been invited to sign a memorandum of understanding with the state, said the notice, which has not previously been reported. Though Amazon and Big Basket both were approached by the Reuters with a request for comment but none of them responded. The state had last month issued expression interest for companies for "handling electronic ordering, purchase, sale and home delivery of alcoholic liquors from licensed retail outlets" to eligible legal-age consumers in the state.
West Bengal with a population of more than 9 crore people is India's fourth most populated state. A license to online delivery of liquor could prove to be extremely profitable for both the state government and the companies. However, West Bengal will not be the first state to approve this online alcohol delivery. Swiggy and Zomato have already been delivering alcohol in some cities of Odisha since last month, as they looked to cash in on the high demand for booze as many states come out of a lockdown aimed at tackling the coronavirus.
India had restricted liquor sales during the nationwide lockdown announced in March. Later when the restrictions were lifted liquor shops were found to be the most crowded stores across India. During the lockdown, the liquor industry had been lobbying with many states to allow online deliveries. In India, each state sets its own alcohol sales policy.
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