It is not really possible to either buy or sell alcohol without violating the law. Given the present content of law, one cannot even home deliver alcohol – it must be bought from a licensed shop only. Selling liquor online, microbrewery etc. are illegal in India until laws are reformed.
Karnataka Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy intervened to stop the excise department from taking the proposal forward to sell booze online. Physical store owners are opposing the idea too.
Once the sale of liquors become legal and sale is online, the customers will be able to source it from anyone they like; it doesn’t have to be a shop in their area. If Amazon or Flipkart starts such a service, they might tie-up with just one wine store in a particular area. Then the others in the neighbourhood will get affected according to the shop owners of wine shops.
Not everybody can afford to go online. The smaller stores will have logistical problems so only the big stores will get business. But according to the excise department online sales will boost revenue and help curb drunk driving. Some are of the opinion that it will result in a monopoly and destroy smaller traders.
HipBar, which started India’s first legitimate alcohol home delivery services in Bengaluru, has suspended operations in Karnataka in the light of recent developments against protest of selling booze online. .
There are restrictions on the number of bottles of alcohol one can store at home, restrictions on delivery, and on payments to delivery boys. These have to be figured out before going ahead with the online sale.
Some are also of the opinion that in India, alcohol regulations are the subject of State list and hence a pan-India approach to sell alcohol online probably won’t be fruitful. Different states in India have their own regulations when it comes to selling liquor.
Some officials from excise department are of a different opinion that allowing online booking and delivery of liquor won’t have any significant impact on excise revenue.
The excise department had received many representations for allowing online booking and door delivery of liquor. It held 2 rounds of meetings with stakeholders, then decided t bring the same to the Chief Minister’s notice.