Following Swiggy and Zomato, Amazon and BigBasket are now getting into the lucrative business of home-delivering alcoholic beverages. According to the Reuters, both companies have secured the necessary permissions to deliver alcohol in West Bengal. The announcement was made Friday by West Bengal State Beverages Corp, the agency authorized to grant liquor licenses in the state. Amazon has been invited to sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the state, said the agency.
The licenses to Amazon and BigBasket are part of a concerted policy shift across the country towards legalizing the home-delivery of alcohol. Swiggy and Zomato have already started deliveries in Ranchi, and are expected to expand the service in the coming days. To ensure that the feature doesn’t get misused, Swiggy is implementing a mandatory age verification system. As part of the plan, users will have to verify their age using Aadhaar Card, Voter ID, or Passport.
The International Spirits and Wines Association of India (ISWAI) has welcomed the opening up of alcohol retail to e-commerce platforms. In a statement to the Reuters earlier this year, the trade body’s executive chairman, Amrit Kiran, said: “It is imperative they (states) reduce the load on the retail counter … by encouraging home delivery”.
It is worth noting that this is not the first time a delivery service has proposed an alcohol delivery service. Hyperlocal delivery platform, Dunzo, had once launched a home-delivery service for alcoholic beverages. However, it had to be shut down because of regulatory issues. Now, however, things are finally moving forward on this front with attitudes towards alcohol changing across the country.