Bhutan & Booze: Not just downing but drowning in it
on 24/06/11 at 10:21 amBooze News
Bhutanese across the country, in 2010, probably glugged down alcoholic drinks equivalent to some 667 trucks that carry petroleum into the country.
The trucks have a capacity to contain 9,000 litres of petroleum fuel.
The figure is reached, considering each of the 27 different alcohol drinks that the Army Welfare Project (AWP) produces contains 12 bottles in a case, and that each bottle holds up to 750 millilitres (ml).
In 2010, the project recorded 741,195 cases of 27 different brands sold in the domestic market.
So, while parliamentarians continue debating on the ills of alcohol and its adverse impact on Bhutanese society, going by the 2005 census population figures at 672,425 people, each person drinks at least a case of one of the many brands of alcohol.
Break it down to ages between 20 years and 64, perceived to be most active in terms of drinking, and number 320,042, each Bhutanese citizen has more than two cases of the liquor for themselves.
Of the 27 brands of alcohol the AWP recorded for domestic sales, Rock Bee brandy tops the list of sales at 187,903 cases in 2010.
It was an increase from 124,500 cases sold in the domestic market in 2009.
Each case of the brandy contains 12 bottles and each bottle has 750ml of the liquor.
That means, Bhutanese across the nation tanked themselves up with close to 1.7M litres of alcohol drink, or as many as 170 petroleum oil trucks last year.
Black Mountain whisky followed closely, having 133,551 cases recorded for sale in the country last year.
The cases contain the same number of bottles and liquor inside them as the previous brand, which means there was as many as 1.2M litres of the drink available in the market for Bhutanese to drown in.
In 2009, 117,813 cases of the whisky were spread across the country.
Following that came the Royal XXX rum, where 121,431 cases or 1M litres of it channeled into 4,404 operational bars across the country against 6,829 licenses the trade officials had issued.
The number of cases supplied for domestic market soared from 72,288 cases in 2009.
Besides Bhutanese, consumers of the three brands of hard drinks include the 46,212 expatriate workers, who were in the country in 2010.
The Special Courier whisky, reckoned to be popular among certain sections of the Bhutanese population, saw sales within the country jump from 9,606 cases in 2009 to 11,156 cases in 2010
Cases of Bhutan Highland whisky also increased to 13,125 last year from 9,863 cases the year before.
Alcoholic drinks like K5 whisky, introduced in the market in 2008, saw its sale pick up from 213 cases in 2008, to 1,031 in 2009 and 1,263 in 2010.
Sales for 1907 whisky that was introduced around the same year, however, saw a decline in its sales from 89 cases in 2008 to 40 in 2009.
The sales recorded a slight increase in 2010 at 55 cases.
By Samten Wangchuk