Alcohol Consumption and Use in India

Alcohol Consumption and Use in India

India is the world’s third-largest market for alcoholic beverages, with an estimated value of $35 billion. The spirit segment, which includes whisky and rum, is expected to grow to $41 billion by 2022. So, how much are Indians drinking, what is their poison and what does it mean for the domestic industry?

Indians are drinking more than ever. One in seven Indians in the 10-75 age group use alcohol, a 2019 government survey found. Rapid urbanisation, rising income, easy availability and changing attitude towards alcohol and lifestyle are contributing to growing consumption in India.

But some things haven’t changed—India’s love for hard liquor, heavy drinking, men out-drinking women by a mile and preference for country liquor as well as the so-called Indian-Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL).

India’s high spirits make it the third-largest market—after China and Russia—for alcoholic beverages in the world, with an estimated value of $35 billion.The per capita consumption of (pure) alcohol in India was reported at 5.7 litres a year in 2016, up from 4.3 litres in 2010 and 2.4 litres in 2005, a 2018 WHO report said.

Total consumption—considering only drinkers—is 14.6 litres a year, which is lower compared to the world average of 15.1 litre.

Alcoholic beverages are broadly classified as beers, wines and spirits. The spirit segment in India, which includes whisky, brandy, rum and vodka, is expected to grow by 25 percent to Rs 2.92 lakh crore ($41 billion) by 2022, according to Euromonitor International.

Source: WHO – Global status report on alcohol and health 2019

Percentage prevalence of Alcohol use in the 10-75 age group

About14.6 percent of the population in the 10-75 age group use alcohol, a 2019 survey by the government revealed. higher among men at 27.3 percent compared to1.6 percent among women— for every one woman consuming alcohol, 17 men are drinking

  • Chhattisgarh35.60
  • Tripura34.70
  • Punjab28.50
  • Arunachal Pradesh28.00
  • Goa26.40
  • Andaman & Nicobar Islands25.40
  • Uttar Pradesh23.80
  • Manipur22.40
  • Haryana21.60
  • Delhi21.30
  • Uttarakhand18.80
  • Daman & Diu18.30
  • Madhya Pradesh17.70
  • Chandigarh17.50
  • Telangana16.80
  • West Bengal16.70
  • Odisha16.40
  • Sikkim15.70
  • India14.60
  • Tamil Nadu14.20
  • Andhra Pradesh13.70
  • Kerala12.40
  • Dadra and Nagar Haveli11.60
  • Puducherry9.50
  • Himachal Pradesh8.90
  • Assam8.80
  • Nagaland8.10
  • Mizoram7.80
  • Jharkhand6.50
  • Karnataka6.40
  • Maharashtra5.70
  • Gujarat3.90
  • Jammu and Kashmir*3.50
  • Meghalaya3.40
  • Rajasthan2.10
  • Bihar0.90
  • Lakshadweep0.20

Source: Magnitude Substance Use in India 2019

Country liquor, or desi sharab, and spirits, or IMFL, are the favourites, with each accounting for 30% of the alcohol consumed in India.

Globally, 44.8% of alcohol consumed is in the form of spirits followed by beer(34.3 % and wine (11.7%).

Chhattisgarh, Tripura, Punjab, Arunachal Pradesh and Goa, in that order, are the biggest consumers of alcohol in the country.

More than half of the male population of Chhattisgarh, Tripura and Punjab uses alcohol, the government’s Magnitude of Substance Use in India 2019 survey found. Among women, Arunachal Pradesh (15.6%) and Chhattisgarh (13.7%) topped the table.

Most commonly consumed Beverages by alcohol users In India

Globally, 44.8 percent of the alcohol consumed is in the form of spirits followed by beer (34.3 percent) and wine (11.7 percent).

About 43 percent of alcohol users in India consume more than four drinks on a single occasion, indicating heavy episodic drinking.

One in five men suffers from alcohol dependence, while one in 16 alcohol-using women depend on it.

In the Northeast, the preference for homemade rice beer is higher than the rest of the country. The highest proportion of drinking illicitly distilled liquor (kacchi sharab)—about 30 percent)—was reported from Bihar.

Wine penetration in India is low, with an estimated 2-3 million consumers consuming 24 million litres. Wine-drinking remains largely urban, with Mumbai accounting for 32 percent of India’s consumption, Delhi 25 percent, Bangalore 20 percent , Pune 5 percent and Hyderabad 3 percent.

Production and trade

In India, 12 joint venture companies have the licensed capacity to produce33,919 kilo-litres of grain-based alcoholic beverages a year. More than 50 units are making beer.

For the longest time, whisky, rum and beer were the preferred choices of Indians but with the rise in disposable income, urbanisation and low-priced domestic wines, wine consumption is rising slowly but steadily.

Maharashtra has emerged as the leading wine-producing state of the country. There are over 35 wineries in the western state, which is growing grapes on around 1,500 acres for wine. To boost production, the state government has declared wine-making a small-scale industry, offering excise concessions.

The demand for Indian beers made from malt, wine, brandy, whisky, rum, gin, etc is growing in the global market.

India exported alcoholic products worth $322.12 million (Rs 2,386.91 crore) in 2020-21, Agriexchange APEDA data shows. The United Arab Emirates, Ghana and Singapore are India’s top export destinations, while it imports majorly from US, UK and Belgium.

India’s alcoholic beverages trade over the last 5 years

YearExports (US$ million)Growth (in %)Imports (US$ million)Growth (in %)
2016-17298-351921
2017-183271060161
2018-19302-866911
2019-20231-23651-3
2020-2132239537-18

Source: Agriexchange APEDA|Moneycontrol

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