You must have heard about people selling old wine in a new bottle but now the Delhi government has found that many popular restobars in the city are supplying expired beer to customers.
The excise department found prominent pubs at popular hangout spots such as Hauz Khas, New Friends Colony and Connaught Place serving stale beer during surprise inspections from August last year till April this year.
This has prompted a crackdown by the government wing on city’s bars and pubs. Officials said any violation by pub owners could attract major penalty, including cancellation of licence.
The Delhi Police has also received complaints of bar owners serving drinks to their customers past 1am, following which the department has launched a sustained campaign.
“Delhi Police is running a special drive to keep a tight vigil on the timings of the restobars. In the recent past it was found that many bars were open after 1am (the permitted time). Initially the owners were left with a warning but if found violating the norms again, the bars will be shut down,” said Madhur Verma, Deputy Commissioner of Police, New Delhi.
A police officer from the south district also said cops would strictly enforce the excise rules in the city and any complaints of expired liquor will be dealt with firmly.
In a written response to a question asked by AAP MLA Vishesh Ravi in the Delhi Assembly, the excise department said 214 pubs, bars and restaurants were inspected by its enforcement branch during the past year and of these, 94 restobars were found violating excise rules.
According to data provided to the assembly, nine restobars located in Vasant Vihar, Rajouri Garden, Saket, New Friends Colony, Punjabi Bagh, Laxmi Nagar, Connaught Place and Janakpuri were found serving expired beer to customers during the inspections.
An excise official said beer bottles of various brands have different written advice. For instance, labels of beer bottles of some brands say “best before six months from the date of manufacture”, while others read “best before twelve months from date of manufacture”.
The department takes action if restobars and clubs are found serving beer which has expired based on the written advice, he said. Five cases of serving alcohol to underage customers were also found and complaints lodged with the police accordingly, the department said. In Delhi, the legal drinking age is 25 years.
In June 2015, the department had submitted a proposal to the AAP government advocating bringing down the legal drinking age to 21 for consumption of beer and wine. But, it was turned down. The department said during inspections, most of the restobars and clubs were also found violating the seat-capacity condition. In these cases, fines were imposed on such establishments.