Soon, liquor bottles in Kerala will carry QR labels

The state government of Kerala has decided to inscribe QR-code labels on liquor bottles sold in the state to curb illegal sale.

28 Feb 2022 | By Aultrin Vijay

The state government of Kerala has decided to inscribe e-labels with QR codes on liquor bottles being sold in the state, thereby ensuring transparency in liquor sales.

According to a Times of India report, the move is aimed at reducing the illegal sale of liquor as the QR code will help the authorities to easily scan and track the point of origin, point of sales and authenticity of liquor bottles. The order in this regard was issued by the taxes department on 1 February 2022.

“As per rule 26 of the foreign liquor rules, 1953, it is mandatory to affix security labels over the liquor bottles being sold in Kerala. At present, the security labels are fixed manually at warehouses of Kerala state beverages corporation. The Indian-made foreign liquor (IMFL) bottles, which are stored in the warehouses, are taken out only after affixing the security labels issued by the excise department and verified by excise officials posted in each warehouse,” the report stated.

Bevco – beverage corporation of Kerala – had earlier told the government that opening each of IMFL cartons and affixing the labels manually was a time- and manpower-consuming task. It recommended replacing manual stickers with QR-coded labels, citing technological advancements.

The TOI report mentioned that the excise commissioner had recommended to the government that as per the rules, security labels with the signature of the excise commissioner is mandatory on IMFL bottles and the QR-code-based system can be inscribed in addition to the existing security label on the IMFL bottles.

“On the basis of the recommendations of the stakeholder agencies, the government has now decided to include the QR-based labels in addition to the security labels for which necessary changes in the rules will be made soon,” it stated.

The QR-code stickers would be handed over to the distilleries that are shortlisted for supplying IMFL to Bevco and these would be inscribed at the point of origin of IMFL bottles. The existing security labels for affixing on the IMFL bottles are prepared by C-DIT under the supervision of the excise department.

The security label consists of a serial number, the signature of the excise commissioner, a hologram and the emblem of Bevco. The colour pattern of the security labels is shuffled periodically in order to ensure that these are not replicated. The KSBC had sold 187.5 lakh cases of IMFL and 72.4 lakh cases of beer in 2021.