December brought some good fortune for the liquor industry, with Delhiites gulping down alcohol worth almost Rs 1,000 crore, sources said.

While the actual data on the number of bottles sold through vends and hotels and bars during the month is still being compiled, a source said the amount had been calculated on the basis of the revenue the excise department earned as duty paid on liquor bottles.

According to sources, the excise department earned Rs 465 crore as duty on liquor in the month of December in comparison with Rs 460 crore earned in the last month of 2018, showing an insignificant increase of just about 1%.

“This amount is calculated on the basis of liquor supplied to the vends, hotels and bars,” said an excise department official, requesting anonymity.

Delhi has a network of 864 Liquor vends — government-run and private — while 951 Hotels, Bars and Clubs have the license to serve Alcohol to customers.

Interestingly, Delhi witnessed a record sale of liquor in December 2019, which was the second-coldest month ever since 1901.

Sources said the excise department’s decision to slash the prices of a few popular brands of imported liquor contributed the increase in its earnings. The excise department in November last reduced prices of about 10 brands of foreign liquor by 20-25%.

“The sale of these brands witnessed a surge of about three times after the prices were revised. Earlier, people used to buy foreign liquor from neighbouring Haryana due to a price difference of Rs800-1200 per bottle and smuggle it to Delhi. With reduced prices, the difference in the rate is not much, which made Delhi customers buy these brands locally,” said an official.