The use of Alcohol as drink is an age old story in India and it appears that the technique for fermentation and distillation was available even in Vedic Times. It was then called ‘Somarasa’ and was used not only for its invigorating effect but also in worship. To date, not only has the consumption of alcohol been continued but it is an integral part of the ayurveda system of medicine.
Alcohol is one of the commonly consumed intoxicating substances in India. It has traditionally been drunk in tribal societies, although it has won increasing Social acceptance among other groups, urban males being the prime example. It is easily available and widely used, especially at festivals such as Deepawali and Holi. At the Moment the use of Alcohol is infrequent among women who also tend to resist the habit among male family members.
Between 15 and 20 percent of Indian People Consume Alcohol and, over the past twenty years, the number of drinkers has increased from one in 300 to one in 20. According to The Hindustan Times, it is estimated that of these, 5 percent can be classified as alcoholics or alcohol Dependent. This Translated into about five million people addicted to alcohol.
Of what is actually consumed, the Intake of Indian Made Foreign Liquor(IMFL) is growing at a considerable rate of 15 percent a year. Again, The Hindustan Times says that 65 percent of the Indian Liquor Market is controlled by Whiskey manufacturers. The State of Kerala stands first in per capita consumption of liquor at 8.3 liters followed by Punjab - 7.9 Liters.
INDIAN LIQUOR BRANDS
The Varieties of Alcohol Manufactured for Consumption in India are:
2. Country Liquor
3. Indian Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL)
Indian Liquor Brands have registered significant growth in recent years – some of the top Indian Alcohol Brands showing an increase of as much as 50% in Sales (2006-2010). United Breweries registered an increase of nearly 20 percent in Sale in the year 2006-2007.
Beer began to be exported to India in the early days of the British Empire, including porter and India Pale Ale, also known as IPA.
The first brewery in India was set up in Kasauli, in the Himalaya Mountains, near Shimla, in the late 1820s by the Englishman Edward Dyer. Dyer's brewery produced Asia's first beer, called Lion. The brewery was soon shifted to nearby Solan (close to the British summer capital Shimla), as there was an abundant supply of fresh spring water there. The Kasauli brewery site was converted to a distillery which Mohan Meakin Ltd. still operates. Dyer set up more breweries at Shimla, Murree, Rawalpindi and Mandalay.
Another entrepreneur, H G Meakin, moved to India and bought the old Shimla and Solan Breweries from Edward Dyer and added more at Ranikhet, Dalhousie, Chakrata, Darjeeling and Kirkee. In 1937, when Burma was separated from India, the company was restructured with its Indian assets as Dyer Meakin Breweries, a public company on the London Stock Exchange. Following independence, in 1949 N.N. Mohan took over management of the company and the name was changed to Mohan Meakin Ltd. The company continues to produce beer across India to this day and Lion is still available in northern India. Lion was changed from an IPA to a lager in the 1960s, when due to East European influence, most brewers in India switched from brewing Ales to brewing lagers. Today no brewer in India makes India Pale Ale. All Indian beers are either lagers (4.8% alcohol — such as Australian lager) or strong lagers (15 % alcohol - such as Australian Max super strong beer). In various parts of north-eastern India, traditional rice beer is quite popular. Several festivals feature this nutritious, quite intoxicating, drink as part of the celebrations. The rice is fermented in vats that are sometimes buried underground. Elephants are known to attack villages, with the primary agenda of drinking from these vats. Following one...
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