ALL watering holes within Kerala will be shut down by April 1, 2015 with only the bars in five-star hotels allowed to continue, announced the government of the state that boasts the highest national per capita consumption of alcohol.
Kerala’s government has ruled that the 418 bars that have failed to upgrade to local two-star standards will not receive renewed alcohol licences, and Kerala’s 318 existing bars will not be able to obtain new ones after March 31, 2015. It is exploring the possibility of terminating such licences earlier.
However, 23 five-star hotels will be allowed to continue running their bars.
Nothing has ben said yet about the fate of 111 bars selling only beer and wine, but industry sources believe they will be shut eventually.
Beverage Corporation’s 334 retail outlets selling alcoholic beverages will be closed in phases of 10 per cent every year, for a total prohibition on liquor sales by 2024.
Kerala has existing “dry” days on the first of every month when alcohol sale is prohibited, which it will extend to include Sundays, bringing the total number of liquor holidays to 52 days annually.
Riaz Ahmed, chairman, Abad Hotels and Resorts, said: “The absence of bars will bring down occupancy rates in four- and three-star hotels as well as negatively affect the hotels’ revenue yield with profits from F&B very significantly reduced.”