New Delhi: Glass is coming to India, with an eye on opening up its bars to tourists.
The beverage industry, which has long been dominated by big-name brands such as Guinness and Coors, is about to get a new push as it seeks to compete in the fast-paced, global market.
India has been eyeing a cocktail bar since 2015, when it became the first country in the world to introduce a cocktail lounge, where diners can indulge in cocktails in private and without crowds.
The move was met with a flurry of publicity from the country’s premier beverage makers and tourism firms, and the cocktail bar was soon established in the heart of the capital, with more than 3,000 bars across the country.
But with so many bars around the city, there is still a long way to go.
“There is a huge need for a cocktail restaurant in India,” said Sanjeev Bhattacharya, a consultant and former executive at the beverage company Anurag Chemicals, which opened its first bar in New Delhi in July 2016.
Bhattachary said the company plans to open more than 50 bars over the next three years, with around 200 restaurants across the city.
Some restaurants are already in place and will open later this year, while others will open within the next few months, he added.
One of the biggest hurdles for bars is that India’s liquor laws are complicated, and bars will not be able to serve alcohol as alcohol is considered to be illegal in India.
In 2016, the government passed an amendment to the liquor laws, making it a crime to sell alcohol in public places or to allow people to drink it.
While the law was enacted only to address the problem of drunkenness in bars, the law has been widely criticized for allowing bars to sell booze as well.
The amendment is now being challenged in court.
Anurag, which manufactures the beverage called Pico Martini in India, is now working with several tourism and hospitality companies to open bars.
It has invested about $50 million in the venture.
There are about 1,000 pubs across India, but many bars in Mumbai and other cities are in disrepair, and there is little or no space for them.
This has led to complaints about how to manage a cocktail club, and an influx of foreign tourists, who are more than willing to pay a premium for the privilege.
Bar owners are being asked to increase the bar’s size and to pay more to staff and to improve the food and drinks.
The liquor regulations are also expected to come under pressure, as the industry is expanding rapidly and a cocktail is a staple of many people’s meals in India and abroad.
At least 15 of the world’s top 20 cocktail bars are in India with the likes of Pippin and Ramesh in Dubai and La Vida in New York, among others.
Last year, Guinness, Coors and Budweiser joined forces to open a bar in Mumbai.
Cocktails can also be found at bars in India that serve as night clubs.
The popular drinks include the vodka martini (the equivalent of a martini glass) and the gin martini.