Overturning the August 2014 ruling, restricting liquor sale to only the ~24 hotels with five-star accreditation in Kerala, the Kerala Government has announced that effective July 1,2017, three and four-star hotels in Kerala will be allowed to serve Indian made foreign liquor (IMFL).
Two-star hotels will be allowed to run beer/wine parlours. The government has also allowed the serving of liquor in banquet halls of hotels, for a fee. This ruling is expected to benefit over 130 three- and four-star hotels in Kerala.
Presently, three and four-star hotel bars in Kerala operate under the FL-11 licence which allows them to serve only beer and wine, as opposed to the FL-3 licence which allows IMFL also to be served.
For a state with limited geographic spread and high population density, the liquor ban within 250-500 metres from the highway had impacted several hotels—irrespective of their star-accreditation, particularly in the commercial capital of Kochi. Kerala has over 9,000 premium hotel rooms located across 17 of the key business/tourist destination in the State; 29% of these are located in Kochi, 10% in Trivandrum; and 9% each in Alleppey and Kovalam. Renewal of the FL-3 license under the new directive would be subject to the property falling outside the limits under the liquor ban.