Big Alcohol is pushing hard to increase alcohol sales in India. In their latest pursuit of ever more profits the alcohol industry is targeting the Diwali.
Diwali is the Festival of Lights. It is one of the major festivals celebrated by by Hindus, Jains, and Sikhs. The festival usually lasts for five days and falls in the Hindu lunisolar month Kartika (between mid-October and mid-November).
The main day of the festival of Diwali (the day of Lakshmi Puja) is an official holiday in Fiji, Guyana, India, Malaysia, Mauritius, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Suriname, and Trinidad and Tobago.
Diwali is mainly connected to goddess Lakshmi and god Ganesha. Many other regional traditions connect the festival to several other gods and goddesses. The festival represents the same symbolic victory of light over darkness, knowledge over ignorance, and good over evil.
Western alcohol companies exploit religious festivities for corporate gain
Big Alcohol is exploiting the Diwali festival for corporate objectives. This year’s Diwali is the first held without COVID-19-related restrictions after two years of pandemic. The festivities are expected to be massive.
The growing alcohol norm propagated by Big Alcohol is leading to rising alcohol use during festivals in India. Alcohol companies are producing and distributing more products ahead of Diwali, to drive higher sales and maximize profits.
For example, Diageo-owned gin brand Nao Spirits & Beverages sold 53,000 cases of their products last year. The company aims to double this number this year. Meanwhile, beer maker Medusa Beverages Pvt. has teamed up with three breweries in North India to boost production ahead of the festival season.
The Indian alcohol market is predicted to grow by 7% annually in the 2021-25 period, as per the IWSR Drinks Market Analysis. All alcohol companies are scrambling to get a chunk of the profits.
Apart from pushing for higher sales during festival seasons Big Alcohol lobbies against Indian alcohol taxes and recently ISWAI exploited the proposed UK-India Free Trade Agreement (FTA) to push for a slashing of the 150% import tax on foreign alcohol products to only 75% immediately and then to 30% over the next 3 years.
The International Spirits & Wines Association of India (ISWAI) directly represents Big Alcohol corporations Bacardi, Beam Suntory, Brown Forman, Campari Group, Diageo, Moet Hennessey, and Pernod Ricard.