Now, a mobile wallet app solves tipplers' woes

Harassed drinkers hit by government and Supreme Court curbs on liquor supply can breathe easy as a new mobile wallet app, called HipBar, offers help to consumers tide over all such curbs.

The RBI-licensed mobile wallet app is the new hope for those who want to slake their evening thirst as technology is beginning to make their life easier, say reports.

The new app promises to help liquor consumers overcome the recent Supreme Court decision to ban the sale of liquor within 500 metres of national and state highways.

It would also obviate the need to wait for hours outside bars and restaurant-cum-bars for a peg or two or standing in serpentine queues outside liquor shops for buying their favourite brand.

Users can download the HipBar mobile wallet app, which is currently operational in Bengaluru, for paying for their favourite liquor brands, which will store the bottles in the cloud. These can be later redeemed at any local retail stores, restaurants and bars that are part of the platform, says a Times of India reports.

Founded by Prasanna Natarajan from Chennai, the start-up has several global liquor brands on its platform, besides a network of over 50 retail stores and 30 bars in Bengaluru.

"Apart from covering a network of establishments that sell or serve alcohol, we also act as a discovery platform, where our 80,000 plus consumers can find an array of liquor brands. It is increasingly becoming difficult for someone to have a drink at their convenience. In some states, people stand in a queue for about 4 hours to get their hands on one bottle," the Times report quoted Prasanna Natarajan as saying.

The HipBar app claims to have average daily bookings of Rs1.5-2 lakh on weekdays, which rises sharply during weekends.

The app, which claims to follow strict KYC (know your customer) norms, including age validation of users, is now gaining acceptance outside Bengaluru as well. People across the country are downloading the app even though the company is yet to expand in other cities.

A similar app, HipCask that offers beer passport to consumers, allowing them to select offers at a particular price within a specified period is already in operation in Mumbai. Besides, there are several other startups, the report says.