by Subhash Arora
There is good news for wine drinkers in Mumbai. Since October 1st the Maharashtra government has allowed the sale of wine and beer in supermarkets
There is an unprecedented boom in retail business, which is set to grow exponentially from the current US $8 billion to US $ 23 in 2010. Major players like Reliance and Bharti are entering the retail sector using tie-ups with supermarkets like Tesco, Sainsbury and Metro, which boast wine experience, alongside the existing chains of Big Bazaar and Shopper s Stop. This will add a lot of shelf space for wines - and the increased footfalls should boost the market. This is definitely a good move and will help in more sales for both domestic and imported wines, says Sumedh Mandla, the chief executive officer of Brandwagon, a wine importing company in Mumbai. Unfortunately, not much progress has occurred to date, he adds, as all these outlets need to acquire an E2 category license and almost no one has it so far.
The biggest boon for the Indian customer will be that apart from the convenience of buying wine unobtrusively the majority of shoppers, especially women, do not like be seen in a liquor retail shop - there will be numerous properly stored wines. Most existing licensed retail shops are not cooled and one often ends up buying a dud wine. The supermarkets are at least air-conditioned so that better storage and display will be more conducive to buying. Many Indian consumers hope that this initiative will be followed in cities like Delhi as well.