Representational image Credit: Representational image

New Delhi: With the lockdown forcing bars to remain shut amidst the global coronavirus pandemic, two forward-thinking firms are now taking the bars to homes in India. E-Commerce giant Flipkart has entered into a partnership with Diageo-backed Indian start-up HipBar to deliver alcohol to homes in West Bengal and Odisha. The move will see customers order alcohol from the comfort of their homes using the HipBar mobile app.

As bar visitors and alcohol lovers continue to rue the effects of the pandemic, there is now a way to continue to get their favourite drinks, as conventional methods of queuing in stores, in times like these seems to obsolete. If there is one thing the COVID pandemic has taught us with respect to shopping, it is that there is need for trustworthy home delivery systems. It has shown us that ordering from mobile apps is a faster, cheaper, and more efficient way to receive your goods from your favourite stores, without having to leave your home.

In India, Jharkhand became the first state in which companies began delivering alcohol through online platforms. Soon after this method showed promise, many other companies in different states began alcohol home delivery. This service of alcohol home delivery soon gained widespread acknowledgement as the safest way to get alcohol from your favourite shop, even while during lockdown. As the customer demand for this new method of supply of alcohol increased, Flipkart has decided to get in on the action. Odisha is one of the states to follow this trend of home delivery of alcohol.

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Flipkart’s recent collaboration with HipBar is one borne out of necessity to distribute alcohol in Odisha and West Bengal as a result of the high demand for alcohol. Flipkart has received approval from the local government in West Bengal and Odisha. This new partnership comes a few months after Amazon, Flipkart’s major rival, was licensed to distribute alcohol in West Bengal. With this new partnership, Flipkart hopes to get a larger share of the alcohol market by wrestling Amazon for customers.

The market for alcohol in India is pretty huge, little wonder why Flipkart is very interested in exploring it. According to IWSR Drinks Market Analysis, the Indian alcohol market is worth approximately Rs 2.03 lakh crore (which is $27.2 billion). The alcohol market has this high number and states like West Bengal are a major consumer of the commodity. The state is ranked the fourth largest state in India in terms of population. West Bengal has a population of about 9 crore (90 million). Odisha is also very populated, with an average population of 4.1 crore (41 million). As a result of this staggering number, companies in these states may encounter some challenges with respect to their competition. But still, these companies rake in huge profits for keeping their doors open.

When the pandemic first hit and the lockdown began in full effect, the government in India banned the retail sale of alcohol and after a while, that ban was lifted. However, some states in India still have a ban on the retail sale of alcohol. An example of a state where this ban is still active is Gujarat.

Conversely, ever since the ban was lifted, several attempts to legally stop citizens from purchasing alcohol from online vendors in Maharashtra and Jharkhand have proved futile. Food-delivery start-ups, Swiggy and Zomato have also begun home deliveries of alcohol. The high demand for alcohol in India is the major motivation for these start-ups looking to cash in. Big Basket is also preparing to begin home delivery of alcohol in Bengal and Odisha.

With several tech and FnB collaborations for home delivery, people in Bengal and Odisha can now stay indoors and still have a good time, with whatever brand they desire.

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