Beer prices of some of the most popular brands in Bengal will be cut, said an order from the West Bengal State Beverage Corporation notifying the declared prices and the maximum retail price to be charged.
The state government had introduced a 16-slab excise structure on beer which included an excise duty of Rs 50 per bulk litre for strong beer and Rs 40 per bulk litre for mild beer. The additional excise duty is in the range of Rs 66 to Rs 640 per bulk litre depending upon the price slab.
Popular brands from Anheuser Busch Inbev India such as Budweiser, Corona, Heywards, Hoegaarden, Foster’s, Beck’s Ice and from United Breweries’s stable such as Kingfisher, Carlsberg, Tuborg along with three other companies would see a revision in prices.
The prices will come down by 15-60 per cent depending upon the brands from the rates charged since March. The state had imposed an additional 30 per cent duty to shore up revenue during the lockdown.
But this compounded brewers’s problems as sale of beer declined 90 per cent on a year-on-year basis during the early months of the Covid-19 lockdown. Beer sales were already down in the previous two years because of a change in pricing in the state.
A 650-ml bottle of Kingfisher strong beer will cost Rs 130 under the new pricing against Rs 170 earlier. A similar sized Budweiser will now cost Rs 154 against Rs 250 earlier.
The state beverage corporation had sought expressions of interest from breweries and after evaluating the financial bids from technically qualified bidders had arrived at the declared price and maximum retail price per unit.
“It is a very good policy and timely as well because the festive season is here. Last 2-3 years have been difficult for because of the rise in prices. So this is a welcome move. Moreover, the state excise is encouraging consumption of mild beer which is also a good move,” an industry source said.