Addressing beer culture misconception in Indian society

April 17, 2024
Beer as a social beverage has been enjoyed by millions of people for centuries across cultures.

New Delhi, April 17 (IANSlife) Beer as a social beverage has been enjoyed by millions of people for centuries across cultures. Yet in India, its image is often clouded by misconception steaming from long-rooted social beliefs and traditions terming beer to be evil for health. These myths have been spread from generation to generation, and as a result, many people are missing the opportunities of the multifaceted world of craft beers, not to mention a chance to have a beer with friends.

Vedant Kedia, Chief Growth Officer of Mount Everest Brewery Limited (MEBL) debunks some of the most common misconceptions about beer culture in Indian society, paving the way for a more informed appreciation of beer.

Misconception 1: Beer is unhealthy altogether

While excessive alcohol intake is unquestionably bad, beer in moderation can provide some benefits. It contains antioxidants, which can be beneficial to fight cell damage, along with B vitamins that contribute to energy production and silicon, which may improve bone mineral density and bone health. Also, Light beers usually have fewer calories and carbohydrates than regular beers anyway, hence making them a potentially healthier choice. But, just like in any other case, moderation is what counts.

Misconception 2: All beers are bitter and bland

This simply is untrue! The Indian craft beer movement has made strides with a variety of beers covering the expansive range of categories where on one side light and refreshing wheat beer with hints of citrus or honey can be seen and on the contrary, on the darker side, brews with roasted malt, coffee, or chocolate flavours may be grouped. In between lies a vast landscape of beers, from crisp pilsners to malty ambers and floral IPAs. Furthermore, Indian breweries are experimenting with local ingredients, creating beers with familiar flavours such as mango, ginger, and even chai spices, making them more accessible.

Misconception 3: Beer is for celebrations only

Beer’s versatility extends far beyond celebratory occasions. It’s a fantastic drink to share with friends after work, fostering conversation and relaxation. A cold beer can unwind you after a long day, allowing you to de-stress and enjoy the moment. It can elevate a variety of occasions, from casual get-togethers to movie nights or simply enjoying a quiet moment at home.

Misconception 4: Beer is expensive

There is a misconception that imported or high-end craft beers are the only options. While some may be more expensive, there are many reasonably priced variants available at domestic prices. Indian microbreweries are continually developing and providing high-quality beers at affordable prices. Furthermore, many bars and restaurants provide happy hours with reduced beverages, making it a viable social activity.

Misconception 5: Beer is a “Western” drink and has no place in Indian culture

This myth disregards the historical link between India and beer. According to historical evidence, rice beers were drunk in ancient India, maybe as early as 3000 BC. These indigenous beverages, which are sometimes tied with religious rites, highlight a long brewing tradition that precedes colonialism. They are also highly associated with religious ceremonies and showcase a long-standing brewing tradition that predates colonialism. Local names like “Handia” and “Chhang” are a testament to this heritage. Today, the masters of modern Indian craft brews are re-inventing the old traditions with some twist on their sleeve, introducing to new consumers combined feelings of familiarity and regional ingredients as well as new techniques.

Breaking free from these myths helps us to see beer for what it is: bringing together a collection of different flavours resulting in a beverage that holds an important place in history. Focusing on health-conscious consumers has been a challenge as caffeinated beverages typically add extra sugar or low-calorie sweeteners to cater to this market. Balancing taste and health is a delicate task that requires creative and innovative solutions.

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