The novel coronavirus outbreak in India has seen many deprived of many items that have not been deemed essentially. One of those, the unavailability of alcohol however has hit many hard.
There have even been several unfortunate incidents where people have committed suicide after being unable to get alcohol, or even consumed sanitiser as a substitute.
In Maharashtra, Health Minister Rajesh Tope, while speaking to journalists, had given people a sliver of hope when he opined that he did not see any reason why liquor shops could not be opened if people maintained social distancing protocols at the outlets.
No official announcement has however been made.
But the lack of alcohol isn't just a problem for consumers. According to a report on The Hindu BusinessLine, the Maharashtra chapter of the Craft Brewers Association of India has recently sought permission from the state government to allow craft breweries to package and sell directly to consumers and retail stores.
Microbreweries in the state have been doing well in recent years, gaining an increasingly larger following. However, the lockdown appears to have brought business to a grinding halt.
"Our produce can be sold only at restaurants, clubs or festivals. Since the hospitality industry was the first to down its shutters in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis, our business has come to a standstill," an Indian Express report quoted Manu Gulati, the executive director of CBAI Maharshtra as saying. Additionally, hand crafted beers have a shorter shelf life and according to the report, an estimated 1.5 lakh litres of handcrafted beer has so far been wasted in such a way.
CBAI Maharshtra says that being given a direct line to sell their wares would also contribute to improve the economic situation. The report by
A recent poll conducted by the Maharashtra chapter of the body suggests that as things currently stand, 92% of the craft breweries in the state are worried that they will not be able to survive more than a month or two. For the rest, the situation is even more grim, as they worry that they will not even be able to make it through the month.