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Indian Government aids wine bars

Published:  23 July, 2008

ASIA: Maharashtra Government extends alcohol licences to wine bars

Amendments to the Bombay Prohibition Act, which oversees the sale and consumption of all alcoholic beverages, include allowing wine bars to sell locally produced wine.

Up until now, alcohol licences have only been granted to hotels and restaurants selling food. The changes to the rules will mean wine bars with 160sq ft do not have serve food to qualify.

But the wine bars cannot sell any other alcohol except for wine grown within the state of Maharashtra.

The Government claims the restrictions will help "local grape cultivators and wineries," It is also expected to lead to a mushroom of wine bars, especially in Mumbai.

"The recent changes will help the wine industry grow faster," a Government spokesman said.

The Government hopes the amendments will boost the state's fledgling wine industry.

Other incentives it has put in place include: giving wine makers "excise holiday" until 2011; introducing a grape processing industrial policy with incentives like sales tax concessions, simplified processes and procedures; fixed licence fees for 10 years and the creation of a wine institute and a grape board for quality control, certification and export promotion.

Maharashtra has two of the country's biggest grape-producing districts, Nasik and Sangli.