Gurgaon finally takes a lead over Delhi, if only in the realm of liquor retailing. Haryana, and by extension Gurgaon, has allowed the setting up of a shop-in-a-shop, by which a liquor store can be located in a large supermarket. It’s a good, user friendly concept, says Raghu Bahadur, which will be welcomed by both the trade and the shopper.
The consumer will no longer be at the mercy of the “English Wine & Beer” outlets that have sprung up all over the country along the roadside, their contents warmed by the bracing 45º winds flowing in freely through their full-length open counters.
The first of these shops was set up in Spencer’s in Gurgaon about a year ago. Now Global Wines & Spirits, a liquor importer and distributor, has made a strong entry into this segment. They have already opened three shops in Gurgaon and one in Faridabad and two more are coming up shortly. So far they have chosen Reliance Super and SRS Value Bazar supermarkets, spread strategically across Gurgaon’s prime residential areas. Each shop is located in an area within the supermarket specially dedicated for this purpose.
The licence issued to these shops allows them to sell only imported spirits and beers (foreign made foreign liquor, to give bureaucracy its due), but makes an exception in the case of wine, allowing the sale of both foreign and Indian wines. This is good news for the wine trade, and Indian vintners in particular. Buyers of wine require time to browse in pleasant surroundings, and these new shops are surely the answer.
The important point is that wine is stored in air conditioned space and customers are attended to by trained and friendly staff. Another important advantage is that the customer can carry his purchases inconspicuously along with groceries and shampoos, and so avoid the possibility of being set upon by snatchers riding motor cycles. Don’t be surprised then if you see me walking up to the wine counter seeking advice: “I have bought some lauki (long gourd) and karela (bitter gourd) for lunch. Can you suggest a good rosé to go with it?”
Why has Delhi lagged behind in adopting the shop-in-a-shop concept? The amazing answer is that licences given in Delhi to such shops allow them to sell only beer and, just wait for this, breezers. Yes, breezers. It is unlikely that a licencee will find it worthwhile to rent expensive space in a supermarket just for selling beer and breezers.