|Keep your cool
Bhubaneswar, June 7: The twin cities have got high on beer. People are chilling out with chilled beer to beat the heat. Jam-packed beer parlours and long queues at liquor shops testify the soaring demand for the alcoholic drink in the twin cities, which the scorching sun has turned into a virtual furnace.
“The sale of beer has gone up by leaps and bounds,” said excise superintendent Laxmikant Behera. The consumption of beer has shot up to around 13,000 cases a day in Khurda region from between 4,000 and 5,000 earlier.
Pratap Mohanty, who works as a manager at a reputed real estate firm, said: “The heat is so oppressive that one cannot resist the temptation of having a beer, often in the company of friends. Everyone can afford it once in a while, as it is comparatively cheap. While a glass of lassi comes for Rs 30, a bottle of beer is available for Rs 60 to Rs 80 depending on the brand. After a hard day’s work, a glass of chilled beer does wonders for your body and mind.”
While consumption of beer has gone up, there has been a commensurate decline in the sales of the Indian Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL).
Available figures show that while the sale of IMFL from the Khurda depot varies from 2,500 to 3,000 cases (one case generally contains 9 litres), in the case of beer it is 13,000 to 14,000 cases (each case has 7.8 litres) and for country spirit, it is 3,500 cases (each containing between 3 and 4 litre). The Khurda depot supplies liquor to Bhubaneswar and its surrounding areas.
While the sale of beer per day from the Cuttack depot varies from 12,000 to 13,000 cases, IMFL has been selling 2,000 cases and country spirit 3,000 cases a day.
Excise officials said there has been a definite increase in the sale of beer as compared to last year. Seeing the rise in beer sales, hoteliers have been organising drinks melas in the city.
Sanjeeb Mishra, food and beverage manager of Hotel Emporium in Saheed Nagar, said: “We are going to organise a drinks mela from tomorrow with the slogan ‘Beat the heat’. Nearly 50 varieties of cocktails and mocktails will be served during the mela.”
Apart from beer, there is also a great demand for the traditional bhang sharbat in the capital. People in Bhubaneswar have a distinct preference for bhang sharbat to beat the heat. There are a number of reputed shops in the city serving bhang sharbat. The roadside stuff comes for as low as Re 1. “The high-end shops sell bhang sharbat for Rs 30 a glass in parts of Old Town,” said Kamala Das, a local resident.
For the-less privileged, the preferred brew at this time is homemade handia and rasii available in plenty in the slums of Cuttack and Bhubaneswar.
“The cost of handia and rassi has also gone up. But at Rs 10 a glass, we can still afford it,” said Purna Tudu at Salia Sahi, the state’s biggest slum located in the capital.