Amazon.com Inc. has received an approval to deliver alcohol in West Bengal, nearly a month after it ventured into food delivery market in India. The West Bengal State Beverages Corp, the agency authorised to carry out online retail of liquor trade in India fourth-most populous state, said Amazon was among the companies found to be eligible for registration with authorities.
The U.S.-based ecommerce giant has been invited to sign a memorandum of understanding with the state, said the notice seen by BloombergQuint. Alibaba-backed Indian grocery venture BigBasket has also won approval to deliver alcohol in the state, the notice said. Amazon and Big Basket did not reply to an email seeking comment.
Amazon’s foray into the segment follows India’s biggest food-delivery startups, Swiggy and Zomato, starting similar services in some cities last month, including West Bengal. The initiative comes as the online delivery platforms look to cash-in on the high demand for alcohol as the country emerges out of world’s biggest lockdown.
Social distancing norms are also leading to a steady increase in the online demand. India’s spirit sector-which includes whiskey, brandy, rum and vodka-is estimated to expand 25% and touch $41 billion by 2022, according to Euromonitor International. Amazon’s push into liquor delivery is also a part of its larger strategy to expand its e-commerce empire in the world’s second-most populous nation as more and more people opt to shop online for everything from groceries to furniture.