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The Delhi government has allowed home delivery of alcohol through web portals and mobile apps— but it may be a while before that bottle lands on your doorstep.

The government notified home delivery by provisioning it in the Delhi Excise (Amendment) Rules, 2021, on Monday.

But industry executives aren’t holding their breath. For starters, home delivery of liquor has only been allowed for retailers who hold an L-13 licence. Delhi has no L-13 licence holders.

Moreover, the digital platforms to order deliveries are yet to be set up.

According to the Delhi Excise (Amendment) Rules, 2021, published in a gazette notification on Monday, L-13 licence holders will be permitted to carry out home delivery of liquor using a web portal or mobile app.

“The licensee (L-13 holder) shall make delivery of liquor at the residences only if the order is received through a mobile app or online web portal, and no delivery shall be made to any hostel, office, and institution. The licensee shall not sell liquor to any person for consumption “on" the premises," it said.

Several industry executives said they are seeking more clarity on the terms and conditions for issuing L-13 licences.

To be sure, the L-13 licence has been part of the previous Delhi Excise Rules of 2010. Its scope has now been expanded.

“In 2010, it (L-13) was for Indian liquor only, and order had to be through email or fax. As times have changed, the 2021 amendment includes Indian as well as foreign liquor, and orders have to be received through mobile app or web portal," said Rahul Singh, who runs The Beer Cafe chain. Singh added that new players could look at acquiring the L-13 licence just to exclusively kickstart home delivery of alcohol in the national capital.

Vinod Giri, director general, Confederation of Indian Alcoholic Beverage Companies (CIABC), an industry body for domestic liquor makers, said that the process of giving the L-13 licence and the terms and conditions related to it will be clear once the details are spelt out. “While the announcement establishes the intention of the government, unless the details come out, it is difficult to say who is eligible and how the delivery system will work," he said.

Giri said the implementation could “take some time".

Others said they are awaiting clarity on whether these orders will be carried out by the retailer or third-party aggregators such as Zomato and Swiggy, or both.

“Delhi would need to clarify how the system would operate, whether retailers would be allowed to home deliver, whether there would be a separate licencing regime, whether separate entities would be brought on board for delivery, or whether the manufacturers themselves will be allowed to tie up through wholesalers and deliver," said Shifa Rastogi, brand marketing head at craft beer BeeYoung.

CIABC said Mumbai and Kolkata are good examples of how the mechanism of home delivery of liquor can work, which others should emulate.

Making liquor available online will give the industry access to a much wider audience, she added. Going digital also has the benefit of greater transparency and help with product discovery, she said.

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