Zomato targets push into alcohol delivery

Indian food delivery company Zomato aims to branch out into delivering alcohol, according to a document seen by Reuters, as it seeks to cash in on high demand for liquor during the country’s coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdown.

Zomato has already diversified into grocery deliveries as the restrictions on movement shuttered some restaurants and people hesitated to order outside food due to fears of catching the disease.

Swiggy, Zomato begin door delivery of fruits, vegetables in A.P.

Alcohol stores, closed nationwide on March 25, were allowed to reopen this week, generating queues of hundreds of people outside some outlets in some cities and leading to baton charges by police to enforce social distancing protocols.

There is currently no legal provision for home deliveries of alcohol in India, something that industry body International Spirits and Wines Association of India (ISWAI) is lobbying to change in conjunction with Zomato and others.

“We believe that a technology-enabled home delivery based solution can promote responsible consumption of alcohol,” Mohit Gupta, Zomato’s CEO for food delivery, wrote in a business proposal to ISWAI.

Zomato would target “areas that are relatively less affected by COVID-19,” Mr. Gupta wrote in the unpublished document, submitted to ISWAI in mid-April and seen by Reuters.

ISWAI’s executive chairman Amrit Kiran Singh said States should allow alcohol deliveries to help boost State revenues hit by the lockdown.

Zomato did not respond to a request for comment. Its main rival, Swiggy, which Mr. Singh said ISWAI had also contacted, declined to comment.

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