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Swiggy, Zomato to start liquor deliveries during virus lockdown in India

India was among the few countries to restrict liquor and tobacco sales as it announced one of the world's strictest lockdowns in March

Liquor | Food delivery | Coronavirus

Reuters  |  Bengaluru 

Deliverymen of food aggregator Swiggy wait along a roadside during the nationwide lockdown in wake of the coronavirus pandemic. PTI

India's top two food-delivery startups, and Zomato, will begin delivering alcohol in some cities starting from Thursday, as they cash in on the high demand for booze during the country's

India was among the few countries to restrict and tobacco sales as it announced one of the world's strictest lockdowns in March. Hundreds of people started queuing up at stores earlier this month when the country eased some restrictions, leading police to resort to baton-charges to disperse crowds in some cases.

The will roll out the service in select cities in the eastern state of Jharkhand, starting with its capital of Ranchi from Thursday, and said in separate statements.

said it was in advanced talks with multiple states to launch the service in more locations, and both firms said the move to allow alcohol orders through smartphones will promote social distancing and customer safety.

"By enabling home delivery of alcohol ... we can generate additional business for retail outlets while solving the problem of overcrowding," said Anuj Rathi, vice president of products at Bengaluru-based Swiggy.

The new service also comes as both Swiggy and face sharp declines in their core business, with restaurants remaining shut during India's two-month lockdown, forcing the to cut hundreds of jobs to save cash.

Reuters reported earlier this month that was aiming to branch out into delivering alcohol.

Swiggy is backed by South African internet group Naspers Ltd, while Ant Financial, an affiliate of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, is a major investor in Zomato.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Thu, May 21 2020. 16:10 IST