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Delhi Wine Club
Allow Separate Wine and Beer Duty-Free Shops

Posted: Tuesday, 24 March 2015 11:37

Allow Separate Wine and Beer Duty-Free Shops

March 24: A whiskey war seems to be in progress at the Delhi Arrivals Duty Free Shop which is oozing with strolleys that are given free with purchase of 2 bottles of whiskies like Chivas Regal, Jonny Walker Black, Glenlivet and a horde of other tempting offers, writes Subhash Arora who asserts that wines with no attractive display or offers have few chances of sales and feels a separate shop for only wine and beer sales ought to be leased out if the government is serious about alcohol misuse

Click For Large ViewNever has the Duty Free shopping been so convenient and tempting, at least at the Delhi Airport International Arrival, for the whiskey fans. It has zeroed in on the 2-liter liquor limit allowed duty-free for incoming passengers. Before you can make up your mind on whether to buy wine or which label and before you can reach the limited number of shelves at the farthest end of the shop and find out there are no special deals, you are enticed with attractive, multi-coloured posters offering a free carry-on 4-wheeler trolley (strolley). Pick out your 2 whiskey bottles ranging from $80 to $100, put them in the strolley and walk out like a lottery winner!

Click For Large ViewIf the posters staring at you don’t mesmerize you, there are business-hungry sales persons (who are surely on commission-based incentives) pouncing on you and trying to convince you to make the impulsive purchase. They don’t care which brand you choose so long as you buy a pair that gets you a free strolley. There are even other less popular whiskeys like Grants that offer a twin pack at discount so you won’t think of any other liquor or wine.

Click For Large ViewThey are required by law to offer you the product without the incentives. So you are offered a discount of $8-12 on two bottles. No one with a logical brain would take the latter offer-never mind if you need a strolley or not. The magnetic pull towards the super-deal is enough to attract you. One is not sure of the quality of these strolleys but one of the sales persons trying to convince me to buy whiskey said told me unconvincingly that they were made by Samsonite to the vendors’ spec.

There is another good reason for buying whiskey on arrival (until a decade or so ago, there were no duty free shops on arrival). One can never be sure of the genuineness of every bottle of liquor one buys from retailer or a bootlegger is genuine (especially in Gurgaon) or it has been doctored.  No wonder, the exit side of the Arrival shop facing the baggage carousels, looks like a wholesale shop in Karol Bagh  or Lajpat Nagar markets selling strolleys and Click For Large Viewencroaching the Airport Authority space (surely, they are not paying rent for the extra space).

Separate Wine Shop

The airport authority ought to find an attractive solution for the wine and beer drinkers by allotting and leasing a separate shop to sell only wine and beer at reasonable rents. This may be easier said than done because of legal and technical issues. But if Dubai airport can have a shop selling only wines and boast a fabulous wine collection, it ought to be feasible in India-one just needs to have the will. The DF shops try to maximizing their profits by making people buy more whiskey and there is nothing wrong in that. They might not even bother about another shop selling only wines. In any case, they are not interested in wine sales promotion-as is obvious from the wine display and the strolley bazaar.

Click For Large ViewAllow six wine bottles option

This is also the time to re-visit the Indian Wine Academy website for the government to consider allowing duty free allowance based on alcohol and not the 2-liter quantity. As it is, wine bottles are primarily in 750 mL packing and one may buy legally only 2 bottles as the third one would be at the mercy of the customs inspector as it would technically cross the threshold.

Click For Large ViewIn all fairness and a big credit to them, the Customs are more liberal towards bringing wine but they hold a Damocles’ Sword over your head if you carry 3 bottles totalling 2.25 liters making it cross the legal limit and making it difficult for the wine importers or foreign producers to offer a 3-bottle pack, a common sight in the duty-free shops and the wineries/wine shops overseas. This special pack encourages the customer to buy 3 different labels, enabling him to sample more wines at slightly cheaper price when on special offer. Currently, there is not a single wine on ‘sale’, a $2- discount on a couple of bottles notwithstanding, if you can locate the wines lost in the alleys of strolleys.

Of course, the detractors would claim that the current rules are in consonance with the liquor policy on arrival in other countries. If the government can think out-of the box and increase the duty free allowance from Rs. 5000 to currently Rs. 35-40,000, it can think out-of-the-box and consider allowing extra bottles of wine too-keeping the total alcohol level the same as whiskey.

Think about it!

For one of the earlier articles/ Blogs, please visit:

Blog: Allow 6 Bottles of DF Wine on Arrival

Subhash Arora

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