maha: Maha removes restrictions on craft wine bar license and area | Bombay News

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MUMBAI: To promote winegrowers and the agribusiness sector, the government of Maharashtra has made more liberal its policy on naturally fermented pure wines made from fruits/flowers, also known as craft wines. Through a notification issued recently, the state government has removed the minimum square footage restriction for craft wine bars. Previously, the criterion was 16 m² or 172 square feet.
The state also removed restrictions on wine store licensing; now anyone can apply.
As part of the newly declared wine policy, these changes have been made to the excise rules to increase the scope of craft wines, Principal Secretary of Excise Valsa Nair Singh said.
Craft wine is made by fermenting fruit, flower, rice, or banana juices (classified as stem) without adding sugar or jaggery. Fermentation is mainly done by the yeast naturally present on the skin of the fruit or added externally, without the addition of external alcohol or synthetic aromas.
In addition to allowing the sale of wine in growlers — boxes for on-site packing of at least 1 liter and at most five liters — in exclusive wine shops and beer bars and shops, the power to grant Wine shop license has been conferred to an official at district level, Singh said, adding that a special license for wine festivals or low rate events/exhibitions has been introduced.
In its series of liberal rulings in the recent past, the state has already expanded the facility to taste, drink and trade premium liquor brands from “super premium” liquor stores or markets, in addition walk-in and self-service facilities. For this, the surface of the store must be 601 m² and more.
Similarly, an “elite” category of stores with surfaces of 71 m² to 600 m² has been set up where single-storey, self-service and tasting areas will be offered. Thus, the liquor shopping experience in the city would be akin to duty-free imported liquor markets inside airports, officials said.
Liquor made from fruits and flowers, such as mohua and green cashew cover (kaju obligation), has been given a Foreign Liquor Made in Indigenous India (IIMFL) label to make it available in a wide range stores and expand the customer base. Previously, it was in the category of country spirits.
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