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Apps, Online Services You Can Use to Buy Alcohol in India: 10 Points

The COVID-19 crisis has given rise to several alcohol online delivery options in the country. Food delivery services like Swiggy and Zomato have forayed into the alcohol delivery segment, as the companies seek to cash in on high demand for liquor during the country’s coronavirus lockdown. The apps have already started operations in Jharkhand, Odisha, and West Bengal. Since it will be a while before services like Swiggy and Zomato start deliveries alcohol everywhere, various state governments have introduced official websites or apps for ordering alcohol online or to get tokens to buy alcohol from brick and mortar stores while following social distancing norms amid the pandemic.

Here are the top 10 points you need to know about apps and online services aiding alcohol purchase in India:

  1. Zomato has started delivering alcohol in Jharkhand, Odisha, and West Bengal. The company looks to expand to many more states across India to cash in on this recent demand for online delivery of liquor. The aggregator has a separate tab called Wine Shops in the cities where it is operating, and it promises delivery within 60 minutes. Zomato has a one-time verification process to ascertain the age of the customer. For now, Zomato is operational in Bhubaneshwar, Kolkata, Ranchi, and Siliguri cities, and more cities in the states mentioned above will get alcohol home delivery option soon.
  2. Swiggy is also delivering alcohol in the same regions as Zomato – after obtaining necessary approvals from the state governments. The food aggregator announced its foray into alcohol deliveries last month, and recently announced its entry into West Bengal. There is a separate ‘Wine Shops’ category inside the Swiggy app for all cities that it is operating in. Swiggy is giving access to a partner app to all its retail partners, and they can tweak item availability real-time through this app. Proper training is offered to retail partners, and only those with proper licensing and government required documents are taken on board the Swiggy alcohol delivery network.
  3. For customer age verification, Swiggy and Zomato both ask for a valid ID proof. This verification is done once, but every time alcohol is delivered to the user, an OTP confirmation is required for added safety. Swiggy also asks for the selfie of a user for added photo verification.
  4. In Delhi, the government has introduced a website called qtoken, where buyers can go to apply for a liquor purchase token. The government has permitted over 160 shops across Delhi to sell liquor, and qtoken gives out only 50 tokens per hour to people. On the token website, buyers are asked to fill out basic information like name and address, and choose the closest store. The buyer is then asked to choose the items for purchase, and an e-token is then issued for the user. The token mentions the time frame in which the user can go to collect the order from the shop.
  5. For people living in Kerala, there is an Android app called BevQ provided by Kerala State Beverages Corporation (BEVCO). The BevQ app is designed to manage overcrowding at liquor stores. Users are asked for basic information like name, mobile number and pin code. The app then generates an e-token with a QR code on their mobile phone. The e-token carries information such as the district, time slot, address, and QR code. This token will be scanned by the liquor store licensee following which the alcohol will be handed to the customer. Reportedly, a customer can buy liquor only once in four days in the state. Additionally, people residing in Red zones cannot purchase liquor or book a slot using BevQ app. The app managed to attract over one lakh downloads just hours after going live on Google Play.
  6. Apart from Zomato and Swiggy, people of West Bengal can also choose the online alcohol delivery option offered by the state government. Interested buyers need to register on the official website, fill in official information, choose a nearby liquor shop, items for purchase, and pay online via various gateways or choose the cash on delivery option. The delivery will be done by a delivery agent, and verification will done at the doorstep using a security PIN.
  7. The Maharashtra State Excise Government has also issued the liquor token system for delivery of alcohol. Head to the official page for generating the etoken, and fill in basic details like number and pin code. The website is currently requests for alcohol purchase from Pune residents only. It hasn’t listed Mumbai shops as the city is home to the most number of COVID-19 positive patients.
  8. Odisha is also taking online orders of liquor through the Odisha State Beverages Corporation Limited official website. The whole process for retailers to list their shops online and manage payment from customers has been listed in a detailed manner. The retailers will need to register on the excise website first to enable online selling.
  9. Chhattisgarh has a website and an official CSMCL app as well for alcohol online ordering. This is offered by the Chhattisgarh State Marketing Corporation Limited, and similar processes of registration and purchase needs to be followed. The government levies a minimum delivery charge of Rs. 120 on the purchase of liquor.
  10. There is an app called HipBar that claims to be India’s first legal alcohol home delivery service provider. It is currently operational in Cuttack and Kolkata only for now and is still under the process of collating liquor shops in these two cities. The app lists all the liquor shops in these areas, and let you pick one and purchase items from that shop. HipBar then delivers these items to your doorstep for a fee.

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Tasneem Akolawala
Tasneem Akolawala is a Senior Reporter for Gadgets 360. Her reporting expertise encompasses smartphones, wearables, apps, social media, and the overall tech industry. She reports out of Mumbai, and also writes about the ups and downs in the Indian telecom sector. Tasneem can be reached on Twitter at @MuteRiot, and leads, tips, and releases can be sent to [email protected].

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