ars, pubs and restaurants in New Delhi are wooing women as their relatively new potential customers. The surge in the number of female drinkers over the past few years has given a boost to the alcohol industry. There is a huge demand for women-friendly drinks in the market with a 40-50% rise in the number of female drinkers over the past two-three years, says Sohrab Sitaram, founder of Chi Kitchen & Bar. The surge has given a kick to the sales of vodka, light beers, wine and international cocktails.
Of late, the demand for women-friendly drinks including sweet white wines, vodka and light Mexican beers has increased. "New alcohol is coming up in India because of the gender diversity. A sudden rise in the demand for ciders, a light European beer, Pinky, a light blended Swedish vodka and sweeter rose wines has given an immense market opportunity to both domestic and international drink companies that are benefiting in sales from the growing trend," he says.
"I go out on weekends for girls' night outs. Most pubs offer discounts on drinks and have ladies special nights, which makes it a good deal for us. My parents know that I drink when I am partying out. The idea of me having a couple of beers and enjoying after a long week of hard work has slowly become acceptable to them," says Aaditi Massey, who works with a private sector bank. Most new drink companies are offering discounts and deals including special ladies nights, free drinks at karaoke and gigs to attract women, who are adding to the sales in a big way. "For us, however, women are no rarity, and to make them stay longer hours, we ensure them good security. There is a lot of training and internal briefing nowadays on how to handle single women tables. We make sure our security personnel escort women in late hours," adds Sitaram.
The phenomenon of women drinking has increased the sale of specific drinks by around 25-30%, says M.N. Naqvi, assistant manager, Route 04, Connaught Place. The bar-restaurant offers free cocktails between 8 p.m. and 12 a.m. to women on Tuesdays, along with a round of free Kamikaze shots on Thursdays. "The number of all-women tables is growing by the day. We have started our new free cocktail packages over the past five months to offer them a better deal. The earlier trend of all-men groups hovering at the bar or of couples coming in has changed. More women groups today dominate the party scene. As a result the sales of light vodkas and international cocktails like martini, which are popular among women, have shot up," he says. 33-year-old self-employed Shalini Mehra says, "I have been drinking since I was 19. Not many women used to drink then or were even comfortable with the idea. But now the scenario has changed. The change could be because of more women joining the workforce. Also, they don't need to seek the permission of a chain of family heads to go out, which used to be the case in most joint families."