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From Chai and Spices To Alcohol: How The Tables Have Turned Today

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Diwali Sunday (a designated dry day) saw an astounding 64 lakh bottles picked up from store shelves, leading to Rs 120.92 crore in revenue this year.

Diwali, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve bunched together in the chilly months call for bonfires and booze nationwide. In 2023 alone, a mind-blowing 5 billion liters of alcohol – enough to fill an Olympic pool twice over – flowed freely, marking a 12% jump from the previous year. 

From Punjab to Himachal Pradesh, liquor sales are soaring like hot pakoras, with a 15-20% surge compared to the rest of the year. Even down south, winter brings a respectable 7-10% rise in the spirit of cheer. Wow! Can you imagine what the number could be on New Year’s Eve? 

India, the land of chai and spices, is making waves in the international spirits scene, shaking things up with mass appeal and award-winning sophistication. How did we do it?  Check out the intriguing story… 


India’s Thirst Is Bottomless

From a sip or two in 2005, the average Indian now drinks up 5.7 liters of pure alcohol a year, with that number expected to explode to 6.21 billion liters by 2024. 

India is the world’s ninth-largest consumer of all alcoholic drinks and the world’s second-largest consumer of spirits, such as whiskey, vodka, gin, rum, tequila, and liqueurs, only behind China. 

India’s total alcohol consumption has surged to over 663 million liters, marking an 11% increase since 2017. Approximately 10% of all adults in India are alcohol consumers, with 18.8% of adult men and 1.3% of adult women consuming it.

king of whisky

From A Humble Start To The World’s Best

An Indian single malt, the Indri Diwali Collector’s Edition 2023, beat global giants to become the world’s best whisky! India is the unmistakable king of whisky consumption, drinking a staggering 60% of the world’s share.

Royal Stag, McDowell’s, and Officer’s Choice are household names that fuel the massive Indian-made Foreign Liquor (IMFL) industry.


Packs a punch!

India’s liquor scene isn’t just about top-most sophistication. It also includes “Knock Out” beer, the world’s most potent brew with a jaw-dropping 8% alcohol content. Brewed by SABMiller India, this is a favorite among lower-income groups and living up to to its name.

cheapest whiskey

Where Budget Reigns Supreme

On the other end, there’s Bagpiper, the world’s cheapest whisky, clocking in at a mere $0.50 for a bottle.
Made from molasses and artificial flavors it’s the go-to for the rural and urban underprivileged, often diluted with water or soda.

making merry 1

Who’s Cheering The Most?

This party for drinkers was also a feast for profits for alcohol companies. While consumers made merry with their drinks, liquor giants like Diageo and Radico Khaitan enjoyed an estimated 20% revenue growth. The unique offerings of craft breweries and micro-distilleries also appealed to taste buds.


The 8 Giants of India’s Alcohol Empire

Meet the eight biggies who control what gets poured and where — United Spirits, United Breweries, Radico Khaitan, Globus Spirits, GM Breweries, Assoc Alcohol and Breweries, Tilaknagar Ind, and Som Distilleries and Breweries. These liquor lords rule from Kashmir to Kanyakumari.



A Land of Contrasts

From award-winning to budget-friendly alcohol, the duality of India’s liquor market is intriguing and has ensured it’s constantly evolving and emerging on the global stage as a powerhouse.


What Does The Future Hold?

While we’re celebrating our rise as a ‘spirits’ champ, here’s a downer: India’s still a lightweight compared to top players like France and the Czech Republic. 

We’re averaging only 5.5 liters a year per person. However, analysts say our thirst is growing fast, thanks to rising disposable incomes, a rising urban middle class, and changing social norms.

By 2024, we’re expected to consume over 6 billion liters; by 2030, that could double. That’s enough to give the world a spectacular hangover!

your fav

What’s Your Favorite?

Imported Brew and craft brews to impress your IG followers.
Lite is In: Low-alcohol beers and ready-to-drink cocktails. 
2 Am Late-night doorstep deliveries 
Artisanal Blends, if unique beverages are what you seek.

So, next time you see a steaming mug of chai replaced by a clinking glass on a chilly Indian winter night, remember, it’s the season for spirits to rise!

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I’m Archana R. Chettiar, an experienced content creator with
an affinity for writing on personal finance and other financial content. I
love to write on equity investing, retirement, managing money, and more.

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