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Maharashtra Excise Department Bans Online Orders, Advertisements and Concessions on Alcohol

A circular issued last week by the Maharashtra excise department has recently announced a prohibition on both online and offline marketing such as listings, advertisements or offers on alcohol.

This means that the customers will neither be able to enjoy the ease of ordering alcohol from the comfort of their home nor will they be able to avail extra discounts or freebies with any purchases.

The Maharashtra excise has commented that their previous order passed on May 22nd of allowing the online ordering of alcohol from home during the COVID-19 pandemic was only a temporary move introduced to keep citizens safe and prevent swarming at shops. The body further added that should any alcohol company continue running any posting, commercial or offer on the sale of alcohol, they could invite persecution as per the law and could even face a penalty of up to six months’ imprisonment and/or a fine of ₹5,000 under sections 23 and 24 of the Bombay Prohibition Act, 1949.

According to sources, excise commissioner Kantilal Umap has defended the government body’s decision saying: “We will crack down on all who are advertising, whether it’s online or offline, as it’s not allowed.”

Chaitanya, founder of Igloo Brew Works explained, “Due to COVID-19, the brewing industry suffered a major hit. The online delivery and offers were helping us recuperate from the loss but since we cannot advertise, there would definitely be an impact on our business since people are not very confident yet to go out for drinking and would prefer to enjoy drinking at home itself.”

Vipul Hirani, founder of Crafters on the other hand said, “We need to respect the government’s decisions and there is nothing that can be done. This situation was always there and we need to carry on with the new regulations.”

Sharing similar views, Ishan Grover, founder of Kadak craft beers mentioned “It was only a matter of time before the government stopped the online ordering and advertisements of alcohol. We will go back to operating like how we used to as the relaxation was never meant to be permanent.”

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