When Dhruv Khandelwal started working as an equity research analyst after finishing his MBA in the United States, he wanted to start an Indian financial services website. That changed when Khandelwal and his friends ran out of beer on a Sunday afternoon.

Letsbuydrink.com, a website launched by Khandelwal six months ago, offers imported alcoholic beverages for sale in India. The website has 2,000 registered members and averages monthly sales of 150,000 rupees ($2,460).

“It’s just a point of convenience for (customers) and that’s the target market,” said 29-year-old Khandelwal. “This is an industry where you need to build a brand image and you have to build confidence.”

Entrepreneurs and liquor vendors in India are betting on the online model to win more customers, while making it easier for people to order their favourite brands of beer or wine on the Internet.

With a $35 billion retail market that is growing at around 8 percent each year, India is the third-largest and one of the fastest-growing liquor markets in the world, according to Bangalore-based investment bank IndigoEdge.