India's roadside alcohol ban deals $14b blow to bars

A bottling plant worker checks bottles of Black Power whisky for impurities.
VIVEK PRAKASH / REUTERS

A bottling plant worker checks bottles of Black Power whisky for impurities.

India's hospitality industry is in a state of near panic after the sale of liquor near major roads.

The move is designed to combat drink-driving, and is aimed mainly at the many roadside shacks that dot highways, CNN reported.

Every bar, from luxury hotels to beer shacks, within a 500-metre driving distance of state and national highways must be alcohol-free.

The move has caused panic in the India's hospitality industry.

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Some businesses are already coming up with ways of getting around the law, for example by building new road access ways.

"Just in [rough] terms we are looking at close to about US$10 billion (NZ$14b) worth of annual revenue loss in front of our eyes right now," Rahul Singh, honorary secretary of the National Restaurant Association of India told CNN.

"We're talking about hotels and restaurants and clubs and golf clubs and even armed forces [clubs]."

"Why would anyone go to a Starbucks when there's no coffee?" Singh said.

He is the CEO of The Beer Café, a chain of more than 40 pubs across India.

The chain's revenues had dropped by 99 per cent since the 500-metre rule took effect.

"We serve beer. Yes, we have food and snacks, but people come to have beer and then they have food with it. Beer first, food later," Singh told CNN.

 

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