Indian City Notes Marked Decline in Beer Sales for May 2011

When you think of beer drinking nations, most people think of Germany, the UK or even the US. Most people usually don’t add India to that list, though the nation has recently been growing in terms of beer consumption. However, for New Delhi, that trend might be reversing. The city posted a considerable decrease in the amount of beer consumed by residents in the city and it might just be caused by the weather.

A Look at Statistics

New Delhi, India’s capital city, usually averages about 15 12-packs of beer per person consumed during the month of May. This corresponds to the beginning of the warmer months of the year when citizens traditionally become much thirstier. However, this May brought not an increase in consumption, but a decrease on the scale of 2 12-packs per person for the month, or an average of just below 13 per person. The government (the Excise Department) is blaming the shift on unusually cool temperatures for the month. However, the beer industry is blaming it on something else – higher costs for beer in general.

The cost of beer rose by 20 rupees per bottle after the city government imposed an additional levy last July. The move was designed to take advantage of the heavier drinking trends during warmer months of the year, but it seems to have backfired. While taxes for the city were higher thanks to the greater cost of beer per bottle, the decline in consumption was certainly disheartening. The city also noted an overall downturn in beer sales year over year, which the government still insists is related to cooler weather. In their defense, the city did experience more rain than is usual which might have played a role. However, the beer industry remains steadfast that the hike in costs is the true reason.

Part of an Asian Downturn?

Interestingly, India is not the only nation experiencing an overall drop in the volume of beer sold. Australia has also experienced a significant decline in the amount of beer purchased per person in recent months, dropping that nation’s consumption and sales data to pre-1950s levels. Is this part of an Asian market drop? Experts say that is not the case and that it’s really nothing more than coincidence. For those watching the industry, some patience will be required to see how everything turns out.