The TASMAC high-end liquor store that has opened in Alsa Mall in Egmore has been receiving quite a bit of attention for the past week, ever since PMK founder and prohibition-supporter S Ramadoss issued a statement demanding its closure. While the store itself has not wowed customers like its classier cousins in Bangalore and other cities, efforts are underway to ensure that the services offered at the store are top shelf.
The shop is presently stocked mostly with stuff you could pick up at any of TASMAC’s dirtier outlets across the city. But TASMAC is letting no stone remain unturned in its effort to ensure that the city’s tipplers have something to rave about. “The idea is to ensure that once you step in you must not be able to walk out without buying something,” says a store hand.
To this end, store staff have been given a register in which they have been instructed to note down every brand that a customer demands that the shop presently does not stock. “We are sending the information back regularly to our superiors. More than a question of regularly stacking this shop with the usual products, our higher ups are focusing in stocking it with the right kinds of products,” adds the store hand.
The shop is not bad by the standards of the usual Chennai liquor store. It does stock some foreign spirits which are priced at a premium. But the majority of the shelves are lined with whiskies and brandies, that would turn up at the bottom of any list of classiness, and there are very few options for any of the other spirits. Indian rums, which are celebrated across the world for the high quality of Indian molasses from which they are made, are conspicuous by absence.
The shop also stocks only one beer, albeit an internationally recognised one. The store seems clearly designed to ensure that the beer remains warm and unsuitable for consumption in or around the mall.
Even though the new store stands a waist and a knee above the usual TASMAC outlet, it is still an underwhelming experience, according to some of those who turned up to check it out as a result of all the hoopla following Ramadoss’s statement.
“It is not as grand as he made it sound. He should go to the high-end shops in Bangalore, Delhi and Hyderabad. Only then will he have a frame of reference,” a customer was heard saying to his companion. “Even the newspapers made it sound like a big deal. Maybe they sent non-drinkers to report on it,” he added.
A fellow tippler, overhearing this, butted in. “This shop isn’t much. But it is a good start. Don’t jinx it by talking about it,” he said. Everyone in the tiny store nodded silently in agreement and went back to staring longingly at the shelves.