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Alcohol Consumption in India

India is the world’s ninth-largest consumer of all alcohol. It is the second-largest consumer of spirits (whiskey, vodka, gin, rum, tequila, liqueurs), behind China. India consumes more than 663 million liters of alcohol, up 11% from 2017.  India consumes more whiskey than any other country in the world – about three times more than the US, which is the next biggest consumer. Nearly one in every two bottles of whiskey brought around the world is now sold in India.

Nearly 150 million adults (15 years and above) in India (10% of all adults) drink Alcohol, according to the NFHS Survey 2021.  As per the findings from NFHS (National Family Health Survey-5), Alcohol consumption amongst adult women (15 years & above) is at 1.3%, and for adult men (15 years & above) is at 18.8%. 

Source: NFHS (National Family Health Survey-5)

Alcohol Consumption Trends

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)

Statewise Alcohol Consumption in India

As per NFHS-5, On average, only 1.3% of women in India consume alcohol, whereas the national average for men is 18.8%. Alcohol consumption by both men and women is high in North East and Eastern states of India. 

In men, high-consuming alcohol states are Arunachal, Telangana, Sikkim, Manipur, Goa, and Jharkhand. Alcohol prevalence among women is high in all North Easter states and Telangana.

Of all states, Arunachal Pradesh has the highest proportion of both men (52.7%) and women (24.2%) who drink alcohol. Among women, Arunachal Pradesh is followed by Sikkim (16%); among men, it is followed by Telangana (43%). Besides Arunachal and Telangana, alcohol consumption among men is higher (40% and above) in the upper Brahmaputra region of Assam, districts in Jharkhand and Bastar region of Chhattisgarh, and the Chhota Nagpur region of Jharkhand and Odisha.

#States & UtsWomen  % ( 15 yrs+)Men % ( 15 yrs+)
1Andaman & Nicobar Islands5 39.1
 2Andhra Pradesh0.523.3
13Himachal Pradesh0.631.9
14Jammu and Kashmir0.28.8

Madhya Pradesh

31Tamil Nadu0.325.4
34Uttar Pradesh0.314.6
36West Bengal1.118.1
 India1.3 %18.8 %

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

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
4Madhya Pradesh11,873.7019.9
5Tamil Nadu7,262.30 5.8
Top 10 states by Women Alcohol Drinkers (%)

As per the findings from NFHS (National Family Health Survey-5), Alcohol consumption amongst adult women (15-49 years) is at 1.3%. NE states have the highest percentage of women Alcohol drinkers followed by Telangana and Jharkhand. Its least in North & South Indian states.

#States & UtsWomen %
( 15 years & above)
Top 10 states by Men Alcohol Drinkers (%)

As per the findings from NFHS (National Family Health Survey-5), Alcohol consumption amongst adult men (15-49 years) is at 18.8%. NE states have the highest percentage of men Alcohol drinkers followed by Telangana and Goa. 

Among the North Indian States, Himachal Pradesh has the highest Alcohol consumption (31.9%) among men followed by Uttrakhand (25.5%). In Southern India, Telangana has the highest alcohol consumption (43.3%) followed by Tamil Nadu (25.4%).

Alcohol Consumption among men is least in the States of Rajasthan, J&K, and Gujarat.

#States & UtsMen %
(15 years & above)

SourceNFHS (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
6West Bengal27

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