Covid-19 is a particularly tough time for businesses around the globe with reduced cash flow and new challenges altogether, but it has also given rise to new opportunities. For instance, foodtech giant Swiggy is looking to make an entry into alcohol delivery, but has also shut down its subscription programme Super.
According to a MoneyControl report, Swiggy Super subscribers can avail the services, however, new subscriptions and renewals have been barred for the time being. The company has reportedly decided to shut down Super as the coronavirus lockdown has taken a toll on the business. Internally, there is no clarity on whether the service will be brought back or if it will be revamped further.
Meanwhile, Swiggy is in talks with several state governments, seeking permission for home delivery of alcohol from local licensed retailers, chief operating officer Vivek Sunder revealed in a recent industry event. Rival Zomato is also holding discussions with the International Spirits and Wines Association of India (ISWAI) and state governments to venture into alcohol delivery as it believes that the delivery of liquor can promote responsible consumption of liquor and social distancing.
Pre-Covid, hyperlocal startups like Dunzo and Hipbar did have alcohol delivery services in a few cities, including Bengaluru. However, last year, the Karnataka High Court banned all such operations in the state.
The ISWAI, Confederation of Indian Alcoholic Beverage Companies (CIABC) and the All India Brewers’ Association (AIBA) have also reached out to many state governments seeking permission to allow the home delivery of alcoholic beverages. AIBA had also noted that beer and alcohol sales contribute close to 35% of revenues for many state governments.
Looking at the high demand for liquor, the Supreme Court has also suggested the state governments look into home delivery and online ordering of liquor to avoid overcrowding at the stores. The observation has also encouraged the states to take up discussions on liquor delivery with private players like Swiggy, Zomato, HipBar and Liqhub, without worrying about the legality of the action.