The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Enter, liquor, milder, cheaper

Moderate drinkers have a new reason to raise a toast.

An India-made foreign liquor, with 50 per cent less alcohol content, is set to debut in the market shortly. The excise department has already accorded its nod for the off-shop sale of the new liquor brands, which will also cost much less than the existing brands.

The new liquor will be available as bottled rum, whiskey, brandy and vodka, but under separate brand names, to indicate the difference in alcohol content. The alcohol content in existing hard drinks is 42 per cent VV (volume by volume), but the new liquor will have an alcohol content of only 21 per cent.

“The new liquor will benefit the drinker in many ways. Apart from reducing his expenses, it will also pose less of a health hazard, since alcohol intake will be reduced to half. On the other hand, it will also have a psychological effect on the consumer. A person, who drinks only two pegs of whiskey or rum, may now feel highly gratified by consuming four pegs of the new liquor,” said excise commissioner Satish Tiwari.

The new brand of liquor is being manufactured by IFB, Shaw Wallace and Eastern Distilleries. While IFB will sell Baluba XXX rum and 3 Cheers whiskey, the Shaw Wallace product has been named Gold Medal. Eastern Distilleries is all set to hit the market with Mild Vodka. Seagrams and the UB Group are also in the process of manufacturing the new brand. The prices will be nearly half those of the existing brands.

An excise official said the department was under considerable pressure to introduce “mild” liquor for a pretty long time. “At present, the consumer has very few options. He has to drink either liquor with 42 per cent VV alcohol content or beer, which has only five to seven per cent VV. The new brand is an attempt to meet the requirements of moderate drinkers,” he said.

Besides, officials pointed out, heavy drinkers will benefit, because the number of pegs they consume regularly will work out to half the alcohol level they are used to,’’ Tewari said.

The excise officials expect a revenue boost, too, as a number of persons who drink beer to maintain a low alcohol intake will probably shift to the new mild brand.

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