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Kerala to ban almost all bars by April 2015

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Watering holes in the Indian state to close by April

All watering holes in the Indian state of Kerala will be shut down by 1 April 2015, with only bars in five-star hotels allowed to continue, announced the government of the state that has the highest national per-capita consumption of alcohol.

Kerala’s government has ruled that the 418 bars that failed to upgrade to at least local two-star standards will not receive renewed alcohol licences, and Kerala’s 318 existing bars will not be able to obtain new licences after March 31. It is exploring the possibility of terminating such licences at an earlier date.

However, 23 five-star hotels will be allowed to continue running their bars.

Nothing has been 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% each year, for a total prohibition on liquor sales by 2024.

Kerala already has “dry” days on the first of every month when alcohol sales are prohibited, which it will extend to include Sundays, bringing the total number of liquor holidays to 52 days annually.

“The absence of bars will bring down occupancy rates in four- and three-star hotels as well as negatively affect hotels’ revenue yield with profits from F&B very significantly reduced,” said Riaz Ahmed, chairman of Abad Hotels and Resorts.

TTG India

[photo courtesy Kerala Tourism]

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