The export fizz in Goa’s liquor industry
Perhaps the liquor industry in Goa needs to be encouraged owing to its success in exports, points out Shoma Patnaik
Goa’s liquor industry needs to be viewed in a new light. Compared to other industries, the liquor industry’s track record in exports is remarkable. Steadily and without much fuss, local units have made significant progress in selling products overseas.
Ground level check reveals that exports of alcoholic beverages from the MPT, Vasco surged 32 per cent in 2016-17 from 6,431 tons in 2015-16 to 8,477 tons. Local units primarily export to the US, Canada and Middle East countries. And what’s more a good chunk of the volumes are in local brand names. Whisky is the main beverage that is exported along with small quantities of brandy, rum and Feni. Some of the large exporting units are John Distilleries, Fullerton Distilleries, Cheers Group, Vintage Bottlers. It is quite an achievement that deserves mention.
There are reasons why liquor exports are successful out of Vasco port, while other industries find it tough. According to Ravi Koppalkar, director, Fullerton Distilleries, a 100 per cent EOU, Goa has the potential to become a hub for liquor exports. “The state has an efficient and industry friendly excise department. In places like Maharashtra the department is rigid,” he says.
The state also has logistic advantages occurring from a nearby port, explains Koppalkar. He points out that, Fullerton Distilleries was set up in 2013 and “grown due to exports.” The company is moved to a bigger unit in three years and exports to African markets, he says.
According to Mohan Krishna, founder, Cheers Group, “The zero export duty in the state has encouraged exports.” Krishna explains that, liquor attracts state tariffs and all states levy taxes during inter-state movement of alcohol. “Other states treat exports on par with inter-state sales and levy duty but not Goa,” says Krishna. He adds that, India is emerging as an important country for export due to low cost of production and Goa is strategically placed to be a part of the development.
Stakeholders in the industry point out that, exports need to be promoted owing to its ability to earn foreign exchange. They point out that, exports also add to Goa’s brand equity if the consignment is locally branded.
In the future too, the industry is confident of increasing volumes. Krishna points out that his company will soon be exporting rum for the first time to US and Canada.
Industry experts point out that exports to boom out of MPT, the infrastructure needs to be improved. Further mother vessels are needed at the port. At present exports are routed through Columbo through feeder vessels.
Krishna adds, that GST can be considered as threat to liquor exports. “Although no GST is levied on alcoholic beverages the inputs going in for production attract GST,” he says. Thanks to GST liquor is also set to get costlier in the domestic market.
Goa’s liquor industry is well established with around 60 licensed distilleries. The industry produces close to 500 lakh bulk litres annually.