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Karnatala permits microbreweries to clear beer stock

The Karnataka government has “conditionally” granted permission for stand-alone microbreweries to sell their beer stock as takeaway till June 30. This will be on an experimental basis from May 14 to June 30 until exhaustion of existing stock of beer, whichever is earlier, it said adding measures such as social distancing, cleanliness, usage of masks and sanitisers would have to be followed.

On Friday, the government had allowed clubs, bars and restaurants to sell liquor as takeaway at the maximum retail price till May 17 to clear their existing stock that has accumulated during the COVID-19 lockdown.

The opening and closing hours of the microbrewery shall be from 9 am to 7 pm, the state Excise Commissioner said in a letter adding only the existing stock of beer can be sold and no fresh production would be allowed.

“Microbreweries situated in (COVID-19) containment zones are not allowed to function,” the letter added. Excise duty of Rs 10 per bulk litre and additional excise duty of Rs 75 per bulk litre shall be levied on beer that should be sold in glass, ceramic or stainless steel container only for take-away.

The permission comes following a request by local chapter of Craft Brewers Association of India that the measure would mitigate the financial hardship faced by them.

“Given the current COVID-19 situation and as per the discussions held with the representatives of Craft sewers Association of India on May 11, and in the interest of government revenue, the proposal is hereby considered on an experimental basis,” the letter added.