Bangalore, India’s pub capital, could soon emerge as the country’s wine city too with over 100 wine boutiques and wine taverns set to dot its streetscape.
The extensive campaign by the state government to promote wine as a healthy drink with simple licensing norms for setting up boutiques and taverns is getting a huge response.
“We have already issued licences for 39 boutiques and taverns in Bangalore alone, and the number will cross 100 by the end of December. In all, over 400 boutiques and taverns will come up all over the state, with north Karnataka showing an edge over the south,” Karnataka Wine Board managing director B Krishna told Express.
Anybody can start wine boutiques after obtaining a licence by paying an annual fee of just `5,000. The licence fee for wine taverns is `1,000. Wine boutiques can just sell and not serve wine. Wine taverns, however, will be allowed to serve snacks, Krishna said.
He claimed wine consumption in the state has been on the rise since 2007, when the new wine policy was unveiled. From 4.30 lakh litres in 2007-08, it touched 40.76 lakh litres in 2012-13.
The Wine Board has been organising festivals in various parts of the country to promote wine as a healthy drink.
The wine festival at Mysore saw 70,000 footfalls and recorded wine sales worth over `50 lakh.
Though neighbouring Maharashtra too is aggressively promoting a new Wine Policy, its outlets don’t match the ambience and standard of Karnataka’s boutiques and taverns.
According to Lokesh, who owns a string of wine boutiques in Bangalore, licence regulations like ensuring a distance of at least 100 metres from religious places and education institutions apply to these wine joints too, as they do for bars. The night deadline for closure too is the same. But consumers cannot claim a health tag and get away with drunk driving if they exceed the alcohol limit.