Online sale of alcohol: A boon for States, liquor cos and consumers
Recently there was the launch of the first-ever global standards for the online sale and delivery of alcohol beverages. This international initiative is focused on supporting consumers' increasing demands for greater convenience with enhanced standards of responsibility to prevent sale to those underage and to reduce harmful drinking.
The global alcohol sales volumes has declined by more than 6 per cent year on year in 2020, there has been an acceleration in the shift to e-commerce with the sale and delivery of alcohol online increasing by 33 per cent globally. In the US, e-commerce grew by more than 100 per cent with Brazil and Canada seeing growth rates of more than 300 per cent.
In response to this trend, a global partnership of the 12-leading beer, wine, and spirits companies that form the International Alliance for Responsible Drinking (IARD) and 14 prominent global and regional online retailers, and e-commerce and delivery platforms have identified five key safeguards to help ensure that robust standards are in place throughout the entire supply chain and customer journey to combat harmful drinking.
The standards outlined in the document launched today include: Improving safeguards and security measures that aim to prevent minors from being able to buy alcohol; Putting in place mechanisms to prevent beer, wine, and spirits being delivered to minors, to individuals showing visible signs of intoxication, or where prohibited by law; Providing tools, information, and education, or other support to drivers to empower them to deny delivery; Enhancing consumer information and control and Promoting global standards as a resource to support the development of national level codes and practices for the online sale and delivery of alcohol that build on local and national regulation.
Albert Baladi, President and CEO of Beam Suntory and Chair of IARD CEO Group, said: "This partnership reflects the shared determination of leading alcohol producers, online retailers and e-commerce platforms to combat the harmful use of alcohol in all its forms.
Henry Ashworth, IARD President and CEO, said: "This is a true world-first initiative in raising standards of responsibility across the board for e-commerce.
Liquor firms in India are pushing for home delivery of liquor amid Covid-19 curbs. Liquor companies and industry bodies have been urging state governments to consider home delivery as a convenient form of accessing liquor and also to prevent crowding at retail outlets amid a surge in Covid-19 cases. They said that the move will also help in sustaining the demand in the Rs 3.9 trillion industry.
India does not have a national policy that governs the home delivery of liquor; the sale of liquor is a state subject. Home delivery of alcohol is available in a few states such as Maharashtra, Karnataka, Odisha, and West Bengal via aggregators such as Swiggy.
Said Nita Kapoor, CEO, ISWAI, if the home delivery model is regularised, this could become a potential channel for encouraging responsible drinking beside the growth of revenue for states.