Hyderabad: Is the Covid-19 pandemic changing even boozing habits in Hyderabad? The recent sale trends in the city’s wine shops indicate as much, with beer, once the most selling alcoholic beverage, remaining on the shelves, while whiskey bottles are literally flying off them.
The reason is quite strange, according to wine shop owners. Many tipplers, who earlier went home with more than one bottle of beer are now avoiding it, especially chilled beer, fearing that they might catch a cold if they drink the chilled beverage. With cold being counted among symptoms of Covid-19, this has hit beer sales hard, they say.
When wine shops were reopened in May after a break of around 45 days, owners anticipated brisk sales of beer due to the peak summer. However, much to their chagrin, tipplers preferred whiskey instead of beer. The trend is continuing even now.
Most customers are now interested in only whiskey, that too, full bottles. “The first preference for many tipplers is Blenders Pride followed by McDowell’s Signature, Royal Challenge and Royal Stag,” a shop owner said.
As there are only a few takers for beer, shopkeepers are slashing their indents for beer stocks from the Telangana State Beverages Corporation Limited, which supplies liquor and beer in the State.
G Venkat, owner of Sri Sai Wines in Krishnanagar, said such poor sales for beer was a first in recent years. Nirmal Singh of Bagga Wines said sale of beer had dropped by over 45 per cent during summer and the trend was still continuing. “Customers appear to be thinking that they could catch a cold if they drink chilled beer,” he said.
On the other hand, wine shops are implementing Covid-19 safety measures prescribed by the government for the safety of their staff as well as customers. A plastic sheet is placed at the shop entrance to avoid direct contact with customers. Masks, as is elsewhere, are mandatory for all customers.