Beer sales have surged this year after a two-year gap due to the pandemic, the makers of the alcoholic beverage have said in their reports. Beer makers including United Breweries, B9 Beverages and DeVANS Modern Breweries said beer sales have risen for the first time in two years after the Covid-19 pandemic hit the country. They said that sales in 2022 have been exceptional after having plummeted in 2020, when Covid first hit India.
“Our sales plummeted by nearly 80 percent during the period January-May 2020 as compared to the same period of 2019 due to the complete shutdown imposed due to the pandemic. In 2021, sales increased by 73 percent (as compared to 2020) due to lesser impact of the pandemic. However, sales this year have been exceptional,” Moneycontrol.com reported quoting Prem Dewan, managing director of DeVANS Modern.
“We expect to end FY23 with an increase of at least 80 percent over the FY20 figure,” he added. DeVANS said it is likely to close FY23 with sales of more than 8 million cases and over 12 million cases in FY24.
United Breweries, which is the maker of popular brands including Heineken and Kingfisher also reported an uptick in their sales this year. “This year, with an early and intense summer, we witnessed normalcy in the market which has aided volume recovery post-COVID. March saw significant momentum and was a harbinger for the peak season,” said Rishi Pardal, managing director and chief executive officer, United Breweries.
A reason why this has happened can be contributed to India’s hot summer this year, which has seen heat waves over several parts in the north and west of the country. Summers in general peak season for beer makers, and draw 40-50 per cent sales. However, in 2020, sales of alcoholic beverages plunged, while beer sales came down by 30-40 per cent due to the pandemic.
The demand is so high that despite being almost fully operational in the north, east, and west of the country, B9 Beverages, which makes the Bira91 craft beer, cannot fulfill demands in certain areas, its CEO and founder Ankur Jain said.
In May this year, beer sales in Mumbai city and suburban districts have increased by 157.93 per cent and 103.29 per cent respectively compared to the same time in 2020, amid hot weather and increasing economic activity, according to a report by Hindustan Times. In Maharashtra, beer sales have risen by 199.25 per cent in the same duration, said the report.
Still, the beer industry faces its own challenges. With increasing cost input prices and a supply cut of wheat and barley, the main ingredients of beer, has led to a supply shortage. On top of this, other costs such as those of glass bottles and cartons, have also increased. This has led to a surge in pricing of the alcoholic beverages across the country.