The novel coronavius outbreak and consequent lockdown had started a conversation about online sale of alcohol. While you can order non-alcoholic beverages and other accouterments that can be used to make drinks from Amazon, there were not a lot of options to be had in the past.
More recently, restaurant aggregator apps Swiggy and Zomato have begun alcohol home deliveries in a limited number of cities. The services follow all lockdown restrictions that are in place, and customers have to provide ID proof before they can receive their orders.
But it would seem that the foodtech unicorns now have some competition. As per a Reuters report, Amazon has secured clearance to deliver alcohol in West Bengal. As per a notice by the West Bengal State Beverages Corporation, Amazon and Bigbasket have won approval to deliver liquor to homes in the eastern state.
The government body which handles authorisations for online retail of liquor trade in West Bengal has reportedly invited Amazon to sign a memorandum of understanding with the state.
Each state sets its own alcohol sales policy. West Bengal last month invited companies to express interest for “handling electronic ordering, purchase, sale and home delivery of alcoholic liquors from licensed retail outlets” to eligible legal-age consumers in the state.
While each state can set up it's own policy towards alcohol sale, the COVID-19 induced lockdown had seen liquor stores shut for about two months. With restaurants shut, and alcohol not being deemed an essential service, tipplers had been placed in quite the quandry.
The relaxation of lockdown norms had brought with it giant queues outside liquor stores. Some states had also resorted to online sale of alcohol in order to reduce the movement of people emerging to buy alcohol.
West Bengal too had allowed orders to be placed on an online portal. Those wishing to buy alcohol can register on the WBSBCL's eRetail platform for online booking and home delivery of liquor.