Alcohol Consumption and Trends in India

India holds a significant position in global alcohol consumption, ranking as the world’s ninth-largest consumer overall and second-largest consumer of spirits, such as whiskey, vodka, gin, rum, tequila, and liqueurs, trailing only behind China. India’s total alcohol consumption has surged to over 663 million liters, marking an 11% increase since 2017. Notably, India stands as the world’s largest whiskey consumer, outpacing the United States by threefold, with one in every two whiskey bottles sold globally being in India.

Furthermore, data from the 2021 NFHS (National Family Health Survey-5) highlights that approximately 10% of all adults in India (aged 15 and above) are alcohol consumers. Among them, alcohol consumption among adult women (aged 15 and above) is modest at 1.3%, while it reaches 18.8% among adult men (also aged 15 and above), providing insights into recent consumption trends among the country’s adult population.

According to the National Family Health Survey-5 (NFHS-5) data, alcohol consumption patterns in India can be summarized as follows:

  1. Women’s Alcohol Consumption: Only 1.3% of women in India are reported to consume alcohol.

  2. Men’s Alcohol Consumption: In contrast, the national average for men who consume alcohol is significantly higher at 18.8%.

  3. Regional Variations: Alcohol consumption is particularly prevalent in the North East and Eastern states of India.

  4. Highest Consumption in Arunachal Pradesh: Among all states, Arunachal Pradesh stands out with the highest proportion of both men (52.7%) and women (24.2%) who drink alcohol. After Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim has the second-highest alcohol consumption rate among women (16%), while among men, Telangana comes next (43%). 

  5. High-Consuming States for Men: For men, states with high alcohol consumption rates include Arunachal Pradesh, Telangana, Sikkim, Manipur, Goa, and Jharkhand.

  6. High-Consuming States for Women: Among women, high alcohol prevalence is observed in all North Eastern states and Telangana.

  7. Specific Regional Trends: Men’s alcohol consumption is notably high (40% and above) in the upper Brahmaputra region of Assam, various districts in Jharkhand, the Bastar region of Chhattisgarh, and the Chhota Nagpur region of Jharkhand and Odisha.

These findings from NFHS-5 shed light on the diverse patterns of alcohol consumption across different states in India, with variations between genders and regions

Source: NFHS (National Family Health Survey-5)

 

#States and UTSWomen  %
( 15 yrs+)
Men %
( 15 yrs+)
1Andaman & Nicobar Islands5 39.1
 2Andhra Pradesh0.523.3
3Arunachal24.252.7
4Assam7.325.1
5Bihar0.415.5
6Chandigarh0.318.6
7Chattishgarh534.8
8D&N1.127.8
9Delhi0.521.6
10Goa5.536.9
11Gujarat0.65.8
12Haryana0.316.1
13Himachal Pradesh0.631.9
14Jammu and Kashmir0.28.8
15Jharkhand6.135
16Karnataka0.916.5
17Kerala0.219.9
18Ladakh3.823.6
19Lakshadweep0.30.4
20Maharashtra0.413.9
21Manipur0.937.5
22Meghalaya1.532.4
23Mizoram0.923.8
24

Madhya Pradesh

117.1
25Nagaland0.924
26Odisha4.328.8
27Puducherry0.327.7
28Punjab0.322.8
29Rajasthan0.311
30Sikkim16.239.8
31Tamil Nadu0.325.4
32Telangana6.743.3
33Tripura6.233.1
34Uttar Pradesh0.314.6
35Uttarakhand0.325.5
36West Bengal1.118.1
 India1.3 %18.8 %

 Source: Data from National Family Health Survey-5 carried out from 2019 to 2021 

Top 10 states by Men Alcohol Drinkers (%)

As per the findings from NFHS (National Family Health Survey-5), alcohol consumption among adult men aged 15-49 years stands at 18.8%. Notably, the North-Eastern states exhibit the highest percentage of men who consume alcohol, with Telangana and Goa following closely behind.

When we delve into regional specifics:

  • Among North Indian states, Himachal Pradesh has the highest alcohol consumption rate among men at 31.9%, followed by Uttarakhand at 25.5%.
  • In Southern India, Telangana leads with the highest alcohol consumption rate among men at 43.3%, followed by Tamil Nadu at 25.4%.
  • Conversely, the states of Rajasthan, Jammu Kashmir, and Gujarat report the lowest rates of alcohol consumption among men.
#States & UtsMen %
(15 years & above)
1Arunachal52.7
2Telangana43.3
3Sikkim39.8
4Manipur37.5
5Goa36.9
6Jharkhand35
7Chattishgarh34.8
8Tripura33.1
9Meghalaya32.4
10HP31.9

SourceNFHS (National Family Health Survey-5)

Top 10 states by Women Alcohol Drinkers (%)

According to the National Family Health Survey-5 (NFHS-5), alcohol consumption among adult women aged 15-49 years stands at 1.3%. Notably, the North-Eastern states exhibit the highest percentage of women who consume alcohol, with Telangana and Jharkhand following closely behind. Conversely, the lowest rates of alcohol consumption among adult women are observed in North and South Indian states.

#States & UtsWomen %
( 15 years & above)
1Arunachal24.2
2Sikkim16.2
3Assam7.3
4Telangana6.7
5Tripura6.2
6Jharkhand6.1
7Goa5.5
8A&N5
9Chattishgarh5
10Odisha4.3

Top States in Alcohol Consumption

As per the latest Reserve Bank of India data, Uttar Pradesh which gets the maximum excise revenue (which is mainly levy on alcohol) in the country. UP gets around ₹31,500 crore as excise revenue followed by Karnataka which has the second largest excise revenue of ₹20,950 crore. Maharashtra is third with 17,477.40 crore revenue.

The own-tax revenue mostly consists of liquor sales as well as land registration and stamp duty. The rest of the taxes are subsumed by GST. Hence, higher excise duties are an indicator of higher revenue from liquor sales.

#StateExcise revenue (₹ cr)Share in revenue (%)
1Uttar Pradesh31,517.4021.8
2Karnataka20,95020.6
3Maharashtra17,477.408.3
4Madhya Pradesh11,873.7019.9
5Tamil Nadu7,262.30 5.8

State with Lowest Alochol rate in India

Goa has among the lowest tax rates in India and Karnataka has the highest levy among the large markets in the country. An analysis done by industry body The International Spirits and Wines Association of India for TOI has estimated that a bottle of spirit — which means whisky, rum, vodka and gin — that costs Rs 100 in Goa can cost Rs 134 in Delhi and as much as Rs 513 in Karnataka. At 49% of the MRP, the levies in Goa are much lower than the 83% in Karnataka and 71% in Maharashtra. The price index factors in the import duty levied on the overseas product, which will be common across states. 

As a result of local taxes, there can be a difference of over 20% in the price of a bottle of popular Scotch brands in Delhi and Mumbai. For instance, a bottle of Black Label that costs around Rs 3,100 in Delhi sells for around Rs 4,000 in Mumbai

source: Times of India

Alcohol Drinking Frequency

The latest Study suggests that Indian men who drink are doing so more often. Among the men who said they drank, 15.4% said they used alcohol almost every day. Among women, the study found, that 16.9% said they drank ‘almost every day’ in the latest survey. 

Alcohol Drinking frequency (Indian Men)

  • almost every day – 15.4% 
  • once a week – 43.5% 
  • less than once a week – 41% 

Alcohol Drinking frequency (Indian Women)

  • almost every day – 16.9% 
  • once a week – 36.6% 
  • less than once a week – 46.6% 

Source: NFHS (National Family Health Survey-5)

Most Preferred Alcoholic Drink in India

Contrary to the popular perception that Indians mostly drink and love whisky, YouGov’s latest survey reveals only 16% of urban Indians call whisky their favorite drink, despite nearly half having tried it.

Beer and wine seem to be more popular with more than half of the respondents (56% and 55%, respectively) saying they have tried it and roughly a quarter (24% and 22%, respectively,) calling it their favorite alcoholic beverage. Whisky sees a preference among males, especially GenX respondents while beer finds favoritism to younger adults (GenZ & millennials). According to the survey report, stickiness to their favorite brand is higher among beer and wine lovers as compared to whisky favourers.

Drinks urban Indians have tried vs drinks they love

Drinks Tried (%) Most Loved (%)
Beer 56 24
Wine 55 22
Vodka 47 11
Whiskey 46 16
Rum 38 7
Breezer 32 7
Brandy 32 2
Gin 25 2
Tequila 24 2
Cocktails 18 2
Liqueurs 11 1
Cider 10 1
Other 3 1

Source: YouGov’s latest survey

India: most commonly consumed beverage by current alcohol users

As per the study, National Survey on Extent and Pattern of Substance use in India, Country liquor or ‘desi sharab’ (about 30%) and spirits or Indian Made Foreign Liquor (about 30%) were the most preferred alcoholic beverages among current users. Proportion reporting predominant use of low-alcohol content beverages (like beer, wine) was small at the national level as well as in almost all the states.

It was notable that in the north-eastern states, people using alcohol reported higher preference for home made rice beer, while the highest proportion of drinking illicit distilled liquor (kacchi sharab) was reported from Bihar (30%).

Beverage Types % of Total
Spirits (IMFL)  30%
Country liquior  30%
Strong beer  12%
Light beer  9%
Home brewed alcohol  11%
Wine  4%
Illicit liquor  2%
Any other  2%

Source: Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, Government of India report: National Survey on Extent and Pattern of Substance Use in India.

Top states in number of people with Alcohol Problems

As per the study, National Survey on Extent and Pattern of Substance Use in India, at the national level about 2.7% of population (2.9 crore individuals) is affected by alcohol dependence. However, there are significant state level variations. States with the highest prevalence of alcohol dependence are Tripura (13.7%), Arunachal Pradesh (7.2%), Chhattisgarh, Punjab and Andhra Pradesh (around 6% each).

Proportion of current users of alcohol who are alcohol dependent ranged between 4.7% and 48.3% across various states. At the national level, around 18.5% of current users of alcohol consume alcohol in a dependent manner. However, more than 40% of alcohol users drink alcohol in a dependent pattern in Puducherry (48.3%), Punjab (44%), Andhra Pradesh (43.5%) and Karnataka (40.3%).

It is also interesting to note that while overall prevalence of current use of alcohol is lower in the states where alcohol use is prohibited as per law, a substantial proportion of alcohol users in these states fall in the category of harmful or dependent alcohol use (Gujarat – 30%; Bihar – 16%, Manipur – 17%, Nagaland – 20%).

Overall in the country, about 5.2% of population aged 10-75 years (about 5.7 crore individuals) need help for their alcohol use problems (i.e. they consume alcohol in a harmful or dependent pattern).

Top ten states: number of people who need help for alcohol problems in 2018 (in lakhs)

#StateNumbers (in lakhs)
1Uttar Pradesh160
2Andhra Pradesh47
3Tamil Nadu37
4Madhya Pradesh31
5Maharashtra30
6West Bengal27
7Punjab27
8Chhattisgarh24
9Odisha21
10Karnataka20

Source: National Survey on Extent and Pattern of Substance Use in India, by Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, Government of India 

Indian States by Alcohol Consumption | Alcohol Drinkers in India