Kerala Govt is adding a little bit more rum to its liquor policy, which professes temperance in a phased manner. The government has given Travancore Sugars and Chemicals Ltd (TSCL), Tiruvalla, the go-ahead to open one more bottling line for its popular Jawan Rum label to meet the excess demand. With this, the number of lines will go up from three to four. Production will increase from 1.5 lakh cases a month to two lakh cases, said a senior officer at the state government undertaking.
“We are not able to meet the demand at the current rate of production,” said TSCL general manager Alex P Abraham. Bottling lines are essentially production lines where the rum is filled into bottles on a large scale. TSCL supplies the rum to Kerala State Beverages Corporation (Bevco), which holds the monopoly on liquor sales in the state.
Through an order issued last week, the government decided to increase the bottling lines after the TSCL MD pointed out that there was a huge demand for the relatively cheaper Jawan Deluxe Rum. It was also pointed out that no additional financial burden would descend on the government on account of the new bottling line.
It was in June 2017 that TSCL had applied to the government to open the new bottling line. Earlier this month, Excise Commissioner Rishi Raj Singh okayed the proposal. Interestingly, the decision to ramp up rum sales has come at a time when the LDF Government is facing heat over an alleged move to allow new distilleries.
For decades, rum – a distilled beverage made from molasses – had remained the staple of the Malayali tippler. But by 2015, brandy had pipped rum for the top post. For instance, in June this year, Bevco sold a little over 7.32 lakh cases, while brandy accounted for 8.63 lakh cases. Rum sells more in southern Kerala, but the northern districts largely root for brandy.