Kerala - is it a dry state?

#1 Feb 4th, 2012, 23:23
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#1
Is it true that there is no alcohol in Kerala, or only in hotels. Not that important but living around vinyards in the South of France it's nice to have a bottle of wine with dinner. Thanks for any info
#2 Feb 4th, 2012, 23:30
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Nope, it isn't. There may be one dry day a week in some places.

Enjoy (The only remaining dry state I'm aware of would be Gujarat.)
#3 Feb 4th, 2012, 23:38
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finding an affordable bottle of wine during dinner might be a challenge though.

Better switch to Kingfisher
#4 Feb 5th, 2012, 00:06
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Thanks for the info

Yes its a beer in brown paper bag state
#5 Feb 5th, 2012, 04:34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lidboymk2 View Post ...Yes its a beer in brown paper bag state
At dinners we asked for and were served "special tea"

distaff
#6 Feb 5th, 2012, 07:06
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You can buy alcohol on every day of month except on the 1st day.
Finding good wine might be challenging though. If you are near Kovalam, the state beverage shop will have good/OK wines.

Only hotels with bar can serve you wine/alcohol during dinner. Though as hfot2 mentioned many do this though in tourist areas not in clear glass

Quote:
Yes its a beer in brown paper bag state
Sorry, can you please explain ?
#7 Feb 5th, 2012, 11:42
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You may want to consider bringing a couple of Bottles(Duty free)
Wine with you.

The Luxury Hotels will have wine at a luxury price.

vandy
#8 Feb 5th, 2012, 13:01
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Even Indian wines (yes there are some) are expensive and not that good. Most large towns have a liquor store. If I fail to go to mine one a week they think I must be ill!
#9 Feb 5th, 2012, 13:07
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Kerala is not a dry state and does have its liquor shops As the others mentioned, the wine will definitely not be the best (especially seeing as you are a wine connoisseur!)

The suggestion of bringing your own duty free bottles is an excellent one and osmething you should consider seriously
Some of my ramblings!

http://windowtoindia.me
#10 Feb 7th, 2012, 18:31
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1 of every month is dry Folks out here! :-)
#11 Feb 8th, 2012, 02:11
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#12 Feb 11th, 2012, 18:17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lidboymk2 View Post Is it true that there is no alcohol in Kerala, or only in hotels. Not that important but living around vinyards in the South of France it's nice to have a bottle of wine with dinner. Thanks for any info
Having just arrived back from Kerala (yesterday) I can give the up to date information.

Kerala is not a dry state except for the 1st of each month when it is illegal to sell alcohol anywhere, including hotels & restaurants. (Doesn't appear to include hotel mini-bars, though and the hotel will usually stock you up the day before if you want). There are several other days as well but can't remember them.

Most towns & cities have a bottle shop, although they aren't easy to find, just watch for the queue. Alcohol is expensive in most of the country as a deterrent to consumption - although according to the Times of India last week it doesn't work as many simply produce their own alcohol. Exception is Pondicherry - no surprise as this was once a French colony.

Indian wine didn't have a good reputation, and up to a couple of years ago it simply wasn't worth the effort, but we have been surprised this year by the improvement in quality. We have been drinking 2 different vineyards, Sula and Grover. The white (Sauvignon Blanc) was very fruity and the Merlot (Grover) very much like a French Tricastin.

Hotel restaurant prices range from INR1250 - 1500 a bottle so not toooo expensive.

Imported wine is much more pricey - average French wines selling for around INR4000 and to be honest, they don't taste well in the climate, certainly not worth the price.

We didn't find any local restaurants with wine on the menu, as many are not licenced for sale of alcohol and most diners don't appear to be interested in wine. When all else fails, most sell Kingfisher Beer, INR150 - 250 per 660ml bottle which goes very well with the local dishes.

Unfortunately the "Special Tea" (ie beer in a teapot and poured into a mug to avoid the high licencing costs) has all but disappeared at least from Fort Cochin due to a clamp down by the authorities.
#13 Feb 13th, 2012, 05:22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by briangb View Post Most towns & cities have a bottle shop, although they aren't easy to find, just watch for the queue.
Or ask around for the wine shop as they're known

Drinking culture in India is just very different yes (and often still with something of a shush-shush edge to it); wine with your dinner I've only seen in pretty posh places, that I don't frequent a lot. As Brian said, in simpler places that do serve alcohol at all illicitly or otherwise, I guess you may be happy with a beer, perhaps a shot of booze.

Alcohol is relatively expensive yes, as compared to other Indian expenses; it does indeed depend on local taxation, so the one state or Union Territory (such as Pondicherry) will be better for it than the other. Now wine is relatively even more expensive.

Indian wine production is indeed said to have been picking up quite a bit over the past decade or two or so, some of it is said to be not at all bad by now; I'm not much of a wine drinker let alone a connoisseur, so can't really say.

In a bar (look or ask around* for a bar & restaurant, these may vary from a pretty hardcore hole in the wall** to really quite pleasant places, and anything inbetween; they are often good places for simple hearty cheap food, though the very simplest may well just have some snacks on offer. If they're nowhere to be found in town, around the railway or bus station is often a good bet; or there may of course just be none. Though in Kerala, I'd say this would have to be pretty uncommon; maybe in very small places. They'll often double as a wine shop btw, possibly a little more expensive, of course. Just as a wine shop may well have an attached drinking room btw, you can bet on these being pretty hardcore, indeed), I'm not even sure if they'd commonly have wine on offer, you'll mostly see beers & booze going by here, though I suppose one could always ask and see what happens. Despite the name -- it stems from Victorian British days, I believe --, I'm not even sure if y'r average simple wine shop would stock wine, for that matter.

* Perhaps with some sense of discretion, it may indeed not be looked upon so favorably by all.

** That may well not be a wise choice for women travelers alone or even in pairs, btw.

Of course the main cities may well have real "pubs" & seeking to create that atmosphere whether of the cosy or the hip & modern variety, and to a greater or lesser degree of success. Even in a place like Kochi, I'm not aware of too many of these, though, although there must be a few. Cocktails seem to be pretty big in these places, as are an array of interesting mocktails, for the non-drinker clientele, of course.

Note Indian retaurants come divided roughly into pure-veg. (or simply called veg.) and non-veg. places; the latter serve usually vegetarian food as well as meat or seafood dishes, whereas in the former, no meat is prepared at all, nor alcohol served. Not every non-veg. place will serve alcohol, but you'll never find it at a pure-veg. place.

I take it Kerala doesn't have many pure-veg. places, anyway. Apparently Hindus here don't observe any taboo on beef even, and meat and seafood is commonly on the menu. Vegetarians need not worry, but if you insist on these pure-veg. places, this may apparently be more problematic.

Finally, do note "dry" days may and likely will include any festival and election dates and the likes. There's often no way around it, either: They really are dry days. If you've stocked up before and consume privately that's no problem, but otherwise you're just out of luck until things open again.

More finally, from memory in Kochi (or Cochin, and its mainland and main side of Ernakulam. Ernakulam is otherwise really a pretty amazingly hip & swanky place) in early 2009, everything would close at around 10PM I think, maybe 11. On weekends and perhaps starting on Thursdays, perhaps the more swinging places at around midnight'ish or a little after. It's always possible some places attached to the really fancy hotels may go on longer (or they may well not), that I wouldn't know about.

Even in the main metros, don't expect too much to be going on after say midnight indeed. It will depend, of course, and may be a who's-who thing.
Last edited by machadinha; Feb 13th, 2012 at 06:35.. Reason: edited
#14 Feb 13th, 2012, 07:56
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#14
FYI, Kerala stands first in per capita consumption of liquor in India .
If you are in a city in Kerala, you will find the 'Beverages shop' or 'liquor shop' quite easily by asking around, as most Malayalees will know it .
'Wine shop' is mostly seen in Tamil Nadu.
#15 Feb 15th, 2012, 23:24
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#15

Lol

Being a Keralite myself I LoL'ed reading this as we are always under the spot light of media for being the NO.1 state in per capita consumption of alcohol[and meat].
It's very easy to find a bar or Beverage outlet on any town or city.
There is no legal restriction preventing women from entering Bars as far as I know,the only restriction is social
Sorry for any typos
I am drunk!

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