Kerala capped a season of indulgence by consuming nearly ₹500 crore worth of alcohol this Onam.
According to the Kerala State Beverages Corporation (Bevco), the State-owned liquor retail monopoly, the proceeds from the sale of liquor through its outlets in the past week alone has exceeded the 2018 figures by an estimated ₹30 crore.
The amount of liquor sold in bars and hotels remained unquantified. Bootleg liquor, hooch and moonshine also appropriated a sizeable segment of the market for cheap and hard spirits on holidays.
Kerala has the highest per capita consumption of alcohol in the country. The sale of liquor here has continued on an upward spiral despite the prohibitive tax on legal alcohol and the many dry days.
Officials said that consumers showed an increasing preference for popular brands of cheap Indian made brandy and rum. Premium counters retailing costlier brands and foreign-made foreign liquor also registered good sales.
Bevco officials said the increase in sales was despite outlets remaining shut on Thiruvonam day. An Excise official said the closure of outlets on Thiruvonam had spawned hoarding of liquor, and illegal and covert sales. It also prompted bars to up their rates. Many violated their licence conditions by selling liquor as parcels.