High spirited Sri Lankans who crushed a so-called unbeatable terrorist outfit in 2009 has now set another world record by placing the country among the top boozing nations in the world, a study carried out by a local research firm showed.
According to Capital Alliance (CAL), the country’s falling hard liquor consumption in the pre-war era, particularly in 2008-09 appeared to have received an instant stimulus right after the conclusion of the war to shoot up the total consumption volume to 85 million liters by the end of 2012 from a low of 65 million liters in 2009.
Demonstrating this phenomenon, in 2010 alone, the consumption volume has increased by as much as 21 percent over 2009. Meanwhile the total hard liquor consumption volume grew at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5.6 percent in the period up to 2012 while the volume is expected to peak to 93.1 million liters in 2015 with a CAGR of 2.6 percent, (slightly below the global average growth of 2.8 percent).
As a result the country now ranks among the top boozing nations in the world when both recorded and unrecorded hard liquor consumptions are taken into account. Thus, in 2011 each Lankan is recorded to have consumed 11.2 liters of alcohol, below only to Czech Republic, France and Russia.
This development certainly will raise an eye brow particularly of the current regime who spearheaded a liquorfree righteous society way back in 2005 with the implementation of the ‘Mathata Thitha’ campaign and censored liquor consumption scenes in electronic media.
The country’s illicit alcohol market, which still accounts for half of the liquor market that narrowed down from 65 percent market share in 2010 is further expected to shrink to 34 percent in 2015 due to the growth in per capita GDP levels, expansion of distribution network for licit alcohol (ease of access) and increase in health awareness of alcohol consumers.
Nevertheless CAL stated that with the expected duty increase at a CAGR of 8 percent and prices to increase at a CAGR of 12 percent over 2012-16, the demand for licit liquor could tend to slowdown.
The CAL report also highlights that moonshiners offer illicit liquor for a price less than 50 percent of its licit counterparts and still enjoys a gross profit (GP) margin of over 60 percent (vs. licit liquor GP margin of 14 pc).
It further reveals Sri Lankans’ unfettered preference for Special Arrack which constitute 71 percent of the total liquor market of which 87 percent of them are to Special Arrack made by Distilleries Company of Sri Lanka PLC who commands a market share of 75 percent in the legal local hard liquor market.