Brewers to supply beer at last year’s offer price

Cuttack: The Odisha High Court on Thursday allowed beer manufacturers to supply the beverage to the state-owned Odisha State Beverages Corporation (OSBC) at last year’s prices.

The interim order is expected to end the beer crisis in Odisha and the face off between the state government and beer manufacturers.

After the government came out with a new excise policy which requires beer manufacturers to supply beer to the OSBC at 20 percent less than its normal price, the beer companies had moved the court against the decision.

Five major beer manufacturers SABMiller India Ltd, Carlsberg India Pvt Limited, United Breweries Ltd, MP Beer Products Ltd and Devans Breweries Ltd, which control about 70 percent of the supply to the beer market in the state, had refused to sign the mandatory agreement with the government.

The court asked for a meeting between the price fixation committee of the state government with these five companies to break the impasse.

The next hearing would be held on July 16.

Excise Minister Damodar Rout said: “We would take steps after examining the direction of the High Court.”

Meanwhile, the government is planning to revise the cut in offer price from 20 percent to 10 percent. The refusal of major beer manufacturers to sign the mandatory agreement has led to a beer crisis resulting in a decline in revenue collection in the state.