High demand for beer as Mercury soars

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Chennai, May 22: As the mercury soars higher, the demand for beer has increased further, forcing Tamil Nadu Government to place orders through Tamil Nadu State Marketing Corporation (TASMAC) for those beer brands that were brewed and bottled outside the state.

This is the second time that Tamil Nadu is buying beer from other states, nearly after a gap of five years.

In volume terms, Tamil Nadu ranks third in alcohol consumption after Punjab and Andhra Pradesh. But, in value terms, it tops the list as a result of higher taxes.

According to the statistics given by the TASMAC, during April 2008-2009, beer sales touched an all time high of 20,31,967 cases (one case contains 12 bottles) compared to the sale of 18,00,084 in the correpsonding period last year, registering a growth of 13 per cent.

TASMAC officials said, of the overall requirement of over 20 lakh cases for the month, orders for one lakh cases have been placed with SKOL Breweries Ltd for its brands Haywards 2000 and Royal Challenge Classic Premium lager, and with United Breweries for its Ice Premium beer, while the rest will be supplied by domestic players.

''We have also shortlisted brands such as Foster's (Foster's India), Tiger Lager and Cannon 10000 (both from Asia Pacific Breweries) Charger Extra Strong (of UB),'' they said.

This year, the TASMAC hopes to sell around 26 lakh cases of beer during the month of May.

''The summer sales starts picking up in April and touches the peak in May,'' the official added.

During the last fiscal, TASMAC sold liquor worth more than Rs 10,000 crore, almost 20 per cent of which comes from beer. In the current fiscal, up to mid-May, it sold liquor worth Rs 2,800 crore.

UNI

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