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‘Impact of COVID-19 on the alco-bev industry, and how it has devised newer ways to bounce back’

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The alco-bev industry and its offerings has for long and rightly been associated as an integral part of social gatherings, events and occasions and the highest projection is with the infamous Friday and Saturday nights at clubs and bars. The industry right from the onset of the pandemic, took a heavy blow owing to the subsequent nationwide lockdown and social distancing norms leaving an adverse effect on the manufacturers, liquor shop owners and our bartenders/mixologists.

In India the alcohol & beverages which was once considered a recession proof  industry also faced its share of declining sales given that it does not fall under the category of essential commodities. However, with people staying at home for longer periods of time did lead to a rise in needs of in-home entertainment and time out from everyday chores, both at the work and home front. As soon as liquor sales resumed in the country, consumers were slowly seen to trickle back to celebrating occasions and events with alcohol and spirits, with parties and get-togethers moving its destination to zoom.

As Almost 70 percent of alcohol distribution in India happens through liquor vends or shops, while 30 per cent happens on the premise, that is, in bars, pubs, hotels, and restaurants. The latter has continued to stay on the low given continued social distancing norms and most units are slowly re-opening with limited staff, and bartenders. With the situation still being away from normal, mixologists have largely been confined to their homes with little to no new work opportunities.

The year 2020 has been transformative in ways more than one, and every industry has in its own way adapted and evolved to the new(er) work methods and opportunities to thrive and make better out of this collective crisis that we are facing at a global level. To talk about the alco-bev industry in particular, new ways have been adapted and devised in a short span of time. Digitization has been an integral part of these developments and has rather proven that while nothing can replicate meeting and greeting in person, there are still fun ways to do things from a distance.

As a young entrepreneur looking to make a change in the alco-bev industry, with a vision to bring out a digital platform that builds an ecosystem of the hospitality industry, alco-bev brands and spirit enthusiasts, the year and the rapid shift towards digital platforms acted as a catalyst for change and newness. The platform has aided us in not only providing consumers with exclusive consumer driven cocktail / beverage centric experiences all with the comfort of staying at home, but has also majorly helped in providing further growth opportunities to bartenders and other members of the industry by means of a platform meant to champion homegrown brands and bartenders.

With the year ending with learnings of new ways and adaptive ways to function. We came to a realization that with team efforts, a never give up attitude and readiness to adapt is what has made this a year that we shall remember for a long time. The year 2021 may come with more challenges as there is a lot more to learn and do, but we’re ready more than ever to bring out a change and continue to re-imaging new business growth opportunities.

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