The Excise Department issued more than 2,800 foreign and local liquor licences last year -- a majority in the Colombo and Gampaha districts.
The highest number of 1,073 licences were issued for retail sales of foreign liquor, 579 to hotels, 508 to restaurants and another 380 as special licences, according to the Administrative report of the Commissioner General of Excise.
Others receiving liquor licences were rest-houses, entertainment bars, foreign liquor taverns and estate canteens selling toddy.
The excise revenue collected during the year was Rs 28,516 million — an increase of around four percent over 2008.
The Department said there had been a drop in the consumption of liquor as a result of the “mathata thitha” programme of the government and production of both hard and soft liquor had decreased.