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Consommateurs et pratiques sociales et culturelles du vin

Consumption Culture of Indigenous Beverages: An Explorative Study of Fruit Wines of Meghalaya (India)

Culture de consommation des boissons indigènes : Une étude exploratoire des vins de fruits de Meghalaya (Inde)
Sharad Kumar Kulshreshtha and Ashok Kumar

Abstracts

Every destination has its own ethnic values and cultural diversity which reflects through its languages, costumes, custom and traditions, mythologies, beliefs, rituals, cultural events and finally local food and beverages. All these ethnicities are quite alluring to attract anyone towards culture and special interest tourism. Nowadays tourists and visitors are experiencing local culture, arts and handicraft, traditional dance and music, relishing local ethnic delicacies, delicious cuisines, as well as tasting local beverages etc. In respect of beverages especially, wines play an important role for wine lovers to explore such wineries, vineyards, fruit orchids, wine festivals for experiencing winemaking, wine tasting, wine pairing, wine consumption or purchase etc. Winemaking has existed throughout Indian history but was particularly encouraged by the Romans, Egyptians and European nations. Wine is an alcoholic beverage obtained from the fermentation of the juice of freshly gathered grapes, the fruit of the vine plant. According to the legal regulations of European Union, the wine is the product obtained after the fermentation of freshly gathered grapes whereas; wine can be made from other types of fruits. These wines are referred to as fruit wines, and named after the fruit which is used in their preparation (for example Strawberry wine).
Meghalaya is also known as ‘Abode of Clouds’ is a state in North East India and is a home of 3 tribes namely- Khasi, Garo and Jaintia. Before 1972, it was part of Assam, a state of North East India. Indigenous wine making is part of very old tribal tradition culture where they prepare wine with available local fruits with indigenous knowledge and practice,used to consume these wines during some tribal festivities. During the British colonial period, there was enough time for blending and enriching wine making knowledge with indigenous and British culture. Co-mixing of culture and wine consumption is greater influence to local people to explore varieties of fruits wines in Meghalaya. Fruits wine is also festivities beverages here. Meghalaya is blessed with a variety of agro biodiversity and vivid climatic conditions which favours cultivation of different types of horticultural products like fruits, vegetables, flowers etc. Meghalaya also has so many indigenous species of fruit plants which may not be found anywhere else in the country. These native tribes still continue such indigenous customary practices of wine making from these fruits and vegetables. The horticultural wealth of the state in terms of fruits includes Peach, Plum, Pear, Pineapple, Banana, Jackfruit, Sohpieh, Sohiong (Black cherry), Sohsang, Sohphoh, Sohlang, Sohbrap (local names of Pasion fruit), Sohmon, etc. All these fruits and passion fruits have most preferred for wine making and also well have been considered well known in fruit wines among local and wine tourist. Meghalaya has planned to venture in the area of fruit wines. These fruit wines and indigenous beverages are consumed during occasions and rituals throughout the year.
The production of indigenous beverages such as local fruit wine may serve as a good source of income for rural livelihood of the ethnic groups and a source of revenue to the state. Since both the food and wine promotes a destination by motivating a tourist to visit to a particular tourist destination. Hence, the production may be encouraged at the level of cottage and small scale industry to promote the rural tourism and entrepreneurship development. In this context, the Shillong Wine Festival organised by Meghalaya Wine Makers Association and other indigenous fruit festival will preserve, promote and also help create awareness not only on the art of indigenous wine making practices but also its commercial potential as tourism industry.
The future of these Indigenous fruits wine making may be more prosper and sustainable when it may promoted by the state government as a cottage industry by providing suitable standard benchmarking facilities such as Food Safety and Standard Authority of India (FASSAI). The wine festival of Shillong attracts wine connoisseurs and wine tasters from across the world. In spite of these potentials the wine making is not legalising in Meghalaya, the natives prepare and serve it for self or festivities consumption only. The Government should legalise fruit wine making in the perspective of a job opportunity to encourage entrepreneurship among the youth and also in promoting tourism. Wine tourism includes visits to wineries, vineyards/orchards and restaurants famous for special local wines, as well as organized wine tours, visits to wine festivals and other special events. Wine tourism is now accredited as special-interest tourism (SIT). Wine tourism carves a niche sector that could help in developing the social and economic status of the Meghalaya.
This explorative study highlights link between wine consumption with traditional tribal culture, and how are the natives of Meghalaya still continue these traditional fruits wine making practice as part of indigenous tribal culture which same as remains century ago. This paper is based on the qualitative component with ethnographic study, combining direct observation with interviews of local natives of Meghalaya. This paper will focuses on indigenous wine making and consumption as part of ethnic tribal culture, how these fruit wines are transforming a unique tourism product for attracting wine tourists and also promote Meghalaya as a nascent emerging wine tourism destination.

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Introduction

  • 1 Abegaz K, et. al., "Indigenous processing methods and raw materials of borde, a Ethiopian traditio (...)
  • 2 Lillicrap D., Cousins J., & Smith R., Food and Beverage Service (5th ed.), Tottenham, London, Hodd (...)
  • 3 Martin A. O’Neill and Adrian Palmer, Wine Production and Tourism—Adding Service to a Perfect Partn (...)

1Tourism is a dynamic and competitive industry divided into different sectors, namely, Accommodation, Recreation and Entertainment, Transportation, Travel Services and Food & Beverage Services. Wine is an important segment in food and beverage service and has a very rich history. The Old Testament in the Bible gives evidence of the existence of wines, but there is a definite evidence of its use in China in 2000 BC and in Egypt in 3000 BC1.Wine is an alcoholic beverage obtained from the fermentation of the juice of freshly gathered grapes2. Several wine producing regions around the world have promoted wine tourism in order to get economically benefitted. The Growers’ associations and others in the hospitality industry in wine regions have spent significant amounts of money over the years to promote such tourism (wine tourism, 2009). Fruit wines play a major role in Indian wines; these are fermented alcoholic beverages made from a variety of base ingredients (other than Grape). They may have additional flavours taken from fruit, flower and herb. Fruit wines are usually referred by their main ingredient. Wine tourism is a form of the niche tourism and it is a new entrant to the world tourism system. The wine tourism has significantly developed in the countries like Italy, France, Australia, Hungary, South Africa and it is one of the central tourist motivation for destination development, but in India it has not yet carved its remarkable position, still there is a significant growth of wine tourism if it is explored in the efficient and effective manner. Today, wine tourism is acknowledged as a growing area of special-interest tourism throughout the world and it is an increasingly important tourism component of for many wine-producing regions. With its wide range of benefits, including foreign-exchange earnings, the creation of both full- and part-time jobs, and the generation of secondary economic activity, wine tourism is emerging as a lucrative industry sector with the ability to generate substantial long-term wealth and sustain steady tourism growth for these regions3.

About Meghalaya

2The State of Meghalaya was carved out of Assam in April 1970 and was declared a full-fledged State in January 1972. It covers an area of 22,429 sq. km with a population of about 23 lakhs. This small population, comprising only about 0.2% of the nation’s population, has made distinctive contributions to the national heritage as well as economy. The State has most of its land covered by hills interspersed with gorges and small valleys. The state is gifted with dense forests and rivers cascading down rolling terrain, it is one of the most scenic state among the North Eastern States.

3The state has been the provider of energy to the region not only in the form of electric power and coal but also in form of food and Beverages. As the state is termed as “ Scotland of the East ”, the state capital Shillong can be termed as “Liverpool of India” for being the growth centre for jazz, rock and pop music since the days of the Beatles. Dance and music is a way of life in Meghalaya and there is no celebration without dance and music. Meghalaya, endowed with nature’s gift and collective endeavour of the society, has made the state economically stable and it is one of the very few states in the country which can boast of such achievements.

Wine Tourism

  • 4 Singaravelavan R., Food and Beverage Service, Oxford University Press, 2011

4Wine: Wine is an alcoholic beverage obtained from the fermentation of freshly gathered grape juice. It refers to the fermented by-products of grapes (Vitis Vinifera) but it may include any undistilled alcoholic fruit product obtained after fermentation. The alcoholic content varies from 10 to 14%4.

Fruit Wines

  • 5 Baslingappa S., Thakor N.J and Divate A.D., "Fruit Wine Production: A Review", Journal Of Food Res (...)

5Fruit wines are un-distilled alcoholic beverages usually made from grapes or other fruits such as peaches, plums or apricots, banana, elderberry or black current etc. which are nutritive, more tasty and mild stimulants5. Fruit wines are usually referred to by their main ingredient (e.g., plum wine or elderberry wine) because the usual definition of wine states that it is made from fermented grape juice. In the European Union, wine is legally defined as the fermented juice of grapes. Fruit wine is commonly called country wine. Fruit wines are fermented alcoholic beverages made from a variety of base ingredients (other than grapes); they may also have additional flavours taken from fruits, flowers, and herbs. This definition is sometimes broadened to include any fermented alcoholic beverage except beer (Wikipedia).

6Fruit wines have traditionally been popular with home winemakers and in areas with cool climates such as North America and Scandinavia; Africa, India, and the Philippines etc. The modern fruit wine may be used more widely as an aperitif, an accompaniment to meals or even used in food and can be considered parallel to grape wines. This wider use and the basic idea of fruit wine as an alternative to grape wine is a new concept6. Fruit wine is undergoing gastronomic renewal. New, scientific cultivation and productions methods and the use of local varieties of fruit, primarily apples and cherries, based in local “terroir” are bases for new types of fruit wine with high gastronomic value. Producers are experimenting with new fruit varieties, new cultivation methods (using different fertilizing methods, land areas, harvest times, apple and cherry varieties etc.) and new production methods (storing temperature, fermentation, chemical control etc.).

Reasons for Growing Interest in Wine Tourism

  • 7 Liz Thach, Wine Business Monthly Trends in Wine Tourism- Discover the motivations of wine tourists (...)

7Wine tourism has been growing because of interest in wine in general. Additionally, in many cases, government provides assistance to wine producers. The Resource Guide for start-up suggests that “as government officials have become aware of the wine industry’s potential to create economic opportunities in rural communities, they have increasingly supported initiatives such as plantings of vines and orchards, other capital investments and sales and marketing campaigns”. Governments realized the benefits of wine production for the local economy. The wine producing regions are promoting wine tourism realizing the returns it provides in smaller investments as compared to other forms of tourism. Another reason for the increased response to the wine industry is due to the change of values in society resulting in an increased interest in environmental issues. The ‘green’ tourist activities are gaining popularity due to increased interest in environmental issues. That is why agro- and eco-tourism have become a popular trend7.

Economic and Social Benefits of Wine Tourism

  • Increasing the number of visitors and repeat visits
  • Extending length of stay and money spent by visitors
  • Enhancing visitor satisfaction by increasing activities for tourists
  • Broadening the market segment.

Motivations for Wine Tourists to Visit

8The motivation for tourists visiting wine regions varies depending on the attributes such as interest, age and nationality. There ten major reasons for tourist’s motivations are:

  • To taste wine.
  • To gain the knowledge about a product/ industry.
  • To experience wine setting, this can include meeting a winemaker and tour of vineyards and Wine cellars.
  • To enjoy the beauty of countryside, learn about farming, agri-tourism & rural tourism.
  • To appreciate the combination of local food and wine. This kind of vacation has its own Name, which is culinary tourism.
  • To enjoy and participate in wine festivals and special events.
  • To enjoy the romance and elegance of wine culture.
  • To appreciate agriculture and art.
  • To gain knowledge about “green” and eco-tourism.
  • To enjoy the health aspects of wine.

Classification of Wine Tourists

9For developing the wine destinations and to market the wine tourism products, it is essential to understand who are the winery visitors? On the basis of their perceptions regarding the important attributes within wineries and wine regions, which might include a wide range of attractions and activities, wine tourist can be classified into three categories.

10The three main categories of wine tourists are:

  • Accidental or Curious wine tourists
  • Interested wine tourist and
  • Dedicated wine tourist

Table 1 - Classification of Wine Tourism.

Open Door Wine Tourism Edutainment Disneyland Wine Tourism Eventification
Cellar door wine Tourism Receiving people for wine tastings and cellar visits Education+ entertainment Harvesting workshop Blending session Vineyards/orchards nature walk Cooking classes Big budget project Often mixed with general tourism One time events focussed on wine Eg. Wine festivals Fete du vin Gastro walks Village harvest festival etc.

Compiled by the authors.

Table 2 - Classification of Wine Tourists.

Accidental visitors or curious tourists Interested wine tourists Dedicated wine tourists:
• Wineries seen as a tourist attraction of the region visited.
• A cellar door visit is an opportunity for a social occasion with friends or family.
• Below average knowledge of wines, but moderately interested in wine.
• Interest and curiosity aroused by drinking wine, road signs, brochures or general tourism promotion.
• Moderate income and education.
• May purchase at winery but unlikely to join the mailing list.
• Cellar door visit is an enhancement to their trip, but not the prime motivation for visiting the region.
• Moderate to high interest in wine.
• Moderate to high income, usually tertiary educated.
• Likely to have visited other wine regions.
• Likely to purchase wine at winery.
• Likely to join a mailing list.
• Wine lovers who visit wine regions frequently as an integral part of a trip.
• Above average knowledge of wine.
• Extremely interested in wine and winemaking.
• Mature, high income, high education level.
• Likely to purchase wine at winery.
• Likely to join mailing list.

Compiled by the authors.

Wine Tourism as Special Interest Tourism (SIT)

  • 8 Douglas N., Douglas N. & Derret, R., Special Interest Tourism, Australia, Wiley, 2001.
  • 9 Getz D., Explore wine tourism: Management, development & destinations, New York, Cognizant Communi (...)
  • 10 Raut A. & Bhakay, J.. J. Food Ag-Ind, 2012, 5(02), p. 141-155
  • 11 Idem.

11The emergence of special interest tourism (SIT) is viewed as an evidence of the increasing diversity of holiday interests of the early twenty-first century leisure society8. Wine tourism, as special interest tourism (SIT), encompasses a wide range of experiences built around tourist visitation to wine outlets, wineries and wine regions9. One of the most widely used definitions of wine tourism is from visitor’s perspective. Wine tourism is now acknowledged as a emerging area of special-interest tourism throughout the world, and it is an increasingly important tourism component for many wine-producing countries. The wine sector has shown significant growth in the last five years in India and the tourism related activity has also increased, particularly in Maharashtra10.Wine tourism has been growing because of tourists interest and governments assistance to wine producers. The Resource Guide for start-up suggests that government officials have become aware of the wine industry’s potential to create economic opportunities in rural communities11.

Wine Tourism in India

12The Ministry of Tourism (MOT),Government of India has been taking a number of initiatives to promote tourism in the country. They have adopted various tourism themes in order to increase the incursion of tourists. Wine tourism is the latest among all forms of tourism, although many eyebrows were raised by this theme, as India has always been seen as a country oriented towards culture and heritage. However, after much of brainstorming, the government has identified the significance of wine tourism in India and promoted it in the form of special interest tourism. Although relatively new, wine tourism in catching up with other areas and would soon give good competition to other tourism themes (Wine Tourism in India, 2009).

  • 12 Joshi V.K. & Attri Devendra, "Panorama of research and development of wines in India", Journal of (...)
  • 13 Idem.

13In India, an impressive progress has been made in development of technologies for preparation of wines from grapes, mango, apple, peach, pear, plum, cashew –apple, pine apple, pomegranate, banana, berry, strawberry and kinnow12 by wine refers to the fermented-any but it may include (Vitis Vinifera) products of grapes undistilled alcoholic fruit product obtained after fermentation the amount of wine. Compared to grapes production of another fruits are very small. In India, wine industry is in infancy stage13. The alcoholic beverages with characteristic flavour of the particular fruit like apple, pear, plum, apricot, cherry and mango are broadly termed as fruit wines.

  • 14 Brunori G. &. Rossi A., "Synergy and coherence through collective action: some insights from wine (...)

14The term wine route has a broader meaning from the tourist point of view which connects several wine producing regions. This route is further characterized by the natural attractions like mountains, hills, heritage place, vineyards, testing rooms, ethnic restaurants, and spiritual places nearby areas, local traditions and museums. In other words tourist following the wine route gets the opportunity to enjoy the wide range of experience like visiting vineyards, tasting of wine, wine making process, wine and food harmony, and local food and tradition. They can even try the culinary specialties of the region and buy products that characterize the area whilst enjoying the scenery14.

15India is a country with an ancient winemaking tradition but a very new and emerging wine producing industry. Wine tourism is gaining significant momentum in India. Many vineyards in India have in place their own tasting rooms so that the wine lovers can enjoy travelling to and exploring the wine regions in India. Wine Tourism in catching up with others and would soon give a good competition to other tourism themes. India is emerging as a good quality wine producer in the world.

Table 3 - Wine Producing Regions in India.

Nasik Region (Maharashtra State): This is the largest wine grape producing region in the country. This region includes Pune, Nasik and Ahmed Nagar. Many top wineries are located in this area including Chateau d’Ori and Sula Wines.
Sangali Region (Maharashtra State): This region includes Solapur, Sangali, Satara and Latur.
Bangalore Region (Karnataka State): This is located to the North of Bangalore City. The famous Grover Vineyards is situated here.
Himachal Region: This area is located in northern part of India. It is an emerging region for wine production.
North Eastern Region: This region includes the 8 north eastern states of the country. Mizoram, Arunachal Pradesh and Meghalaya are the main wine producing states.

Mohanty et al. South Asian Journal of Tourism and Heritage, July 2015, Vol. 8, No.2.

Wines in Meghalaya

16Fruit wines in Meghalaya will have a niche market at its best, where the excess quantity of fruit abundant in the areas can be processed. Meghalaya has plenty of fruits such as pineapple, banana, strawberry, passion fruit and sohiong, etc., that would make decent wines once the proper focus and commercial exploitation is made feasible. All this is possible only if and when the government of takes some positive steps to allow harnessing of the fermentation potential of its abundant fresh fruits. The production of indigenous beverages may serve as a good source of income for livelihood of the ethnic groups and a source of revenue to the state. The production may be encouraged at the level of cottage and small scale industry. The wine making from local fruits could also grow gradually as a cottage industry and then commercialized into an industry, which would automatically boost the economy of the state as well generate employment to unemployed local youths.

  • 15 Fellows P., Food processing technology: Principles and practice, (2nd edition), Baca Raton, CRC pr (...)
  • 16 Rose A.H., "Alcoholic beverage", Rose A.H. (ed.), Economic Microbiology I, Academic Press, UK, 199 (...)
  • 17 FAO, Traditional fermented food and beverage for improved livelihoods, 2012.

17Fermented alcoholic beverages have been widely consumed by people in almost all countries for centuries15. These fermented beverages are usually prepared from locally available raw materials using age-old techniques16 and their art is believed to pass down by cultural and traditional values to subsequent generations with the processing being optimized through trial and error17.

Table 4 - Indigenous Wines of Meghalaya.

SL.NO NAME OF THE WINE BASIC INGREDIENTS AND BOTANICAL NAMES SEASONALITY
1 Cashew nut apple Cashew Nut Apple (Anacardiumoccidentale) March to October
2 Cherry wine Cherry(Prunuscerasus L.) Throughout the Year
3 Orange Citrus sinensis (L.) Orange (Citrus sinensis) Throughout the Year
4 Ginger wine Ginger(ZingiberOfficinale) Throughout the year
5 Mulberry Wine Mulberry(Morus) May to August
6 Strawberry Wine Strawberry(Fragaria) December to march
7 Passion fruit Wine Passion fruit(Passiflora) May to July
8 Blackberry Wine Blackberry(Rubus) May to September
9 Plum Wine Plum(PrunusDomestica) May to September
10 Banana Wine Banana(Musa) Throughout the year
11 Jackfruit Wine Jackfruit(ArtocarpusHeterophyllus) May to September
12 Peach Wine Peach(PrunusPersica) May to September
13 Pear Wine Pear(Pyrus) May to September
14 Pine Apple Pineapple (AnanasComosus) March to October

Compiled by the authors.

History of Wine Making In Meghalaya

  • Meghalaya is a state blessed with many types of fruits, some of which are indigenous fruits.
  • Wines are produced as a hobby of nativesof Meghalaya since British period.
  • In Christianity and ethnic tribal culture wine consumption as part customary practices.
  • During the British colonial era, an English man Tom Harold Douglas Hunt established the first winery, Mawphlang Distilleries. The Mawphlang distillery employed around 250 villagers.
  • Its cherry wine, cherry brandy and plum brandy was sold and distributed all over India. The London Times, published a special article on Hunt’s wine company.
  • Winemakers are capitalizing on this, utilizing resources thereby helping farmers and tourism sector. and may be promoted as a cottage industry
  • Department of Horticulture, Govt. of Meghalaya, RRTC and NEEPCO has helped the wine makers.
  • The wine makers sell their products through cellar door sales.
  • The main channel of marketing is through word of mouth.
  • Wine festivals and other indigenous events are organized to promote tourism in the region.

Production of Indigenous Beverages Of Meghalaya

  • The ethnic communities of North East India follow almost identical system for fermentation, but they use different types of plants species in the starter culture preparation process, which are believed to add as an intoxicating property of the liquor18.
  • Rice beer is an integral part of life of several ethnic communities and it is known in different names in different places. It is called sake in Japan, Iao-chao in China, tape ketan in Indonesia, Khao- mak in Thailand, daru, kali, pachwai and hadia in India.
  • Even the rice beer is known with different names in the different states of North East India19.
  • Almost all tribes are fond of drinks and consume during every ceremony, festivals, marriages, funeral feasts and offer it to their Gods and deities20.

Production of indigenous beverages

Figure 1 - Official Indian propaganda against alcohol abuse.

Figure 1 - Official Indian propaganda against alcohol abuse.

Sharad Kumar Kulshreshtha and Ashok Kumar.

Figure 2 - Production of indigenous beverages.

Figure 2 - Production of indigenous beverages.

Source: Authors Compilation.

Production of fruit wines

Figure 3 - Production of Fruit Wines.

Figure 3 - Production of Fruit Wines.

Source: Authors Compilation.

Rewiew of related literature

  • 21 Bennett L.A., Campillo, C. Chandrashekar C. R. and Gureje O., "Alcoholic Beverage Consumption in I (...)
  • 22 Idem.
  • 23 Mohan D., & Sharma H.K, "India", Heath D.B. (ed), International Handbook on Alcohol and Culture, W (...)
  • 24 Marshall M. (dir.), Through a Glass Darkly: Beer and Modernization in Papua New Guinea, Boroko, Pa (...)

18Consumption practices of beverages vary substantially among different countries of the world. An understanding of such differences can help researchers, clinicians, and policymakers to develop prevention, diagnostic, and treatment measures as well as overall alcohol policies that are appropriate for a given country21. Alcoholic beverage consumption patterns vary considerably among different countries and even among different ethnic groups within one country. These variations in drinking patterns include, the types of beverages consumed and preferred, occasions associated with the consumption, drinking levels that are considered normal, and population subgroups for whom drinking is considered acceptable. Television, movies, and scholarly publications have depicted and investigated differences in drinking traditions to such an extent that people throughout the world are increasingly aware of drinking patterns in cultures other than their own of different ethnic backgrounds22. The consumption of alcoholic beverages in India predates British colonization. However, in comparison to other countries, alcohol consumption was not considered central to normal social life or daily meals in pre-colonial India. Nevertheless, in certain tribal groups throughout the country alcoholic beverages still are considered “a gift to humankind and, in turn, were reverently offered to the nature gods and other sacred powers”23.Each of the North Eastern States of India has a highly diverse and multicultural population, and major differences exist between their urban and rural areas. Moreover, the these states have distinct histories of traditional alcohol production and consumption as well as widely contrasting contemporary drinking patterns and alcohol-related problems24.

  • 25 Castairs G.M., "Daru and bhang: Cultural factors in the choice of intoxicant", Marshall M. (ed), B (...)
  • 26 Bennett L.A., Janca A., Grant B.F., and Sartorius N., "Boundaries between normal and pathological (...)
  • 27 Medina-Mora M.E., Rascon M.L., Otero B.R. and Gutierrez E., "Patrones de Consumo", Gilbert M.J. (e (...)
  • 28 Isaac M., "India", Grant M. (ed), Alcohol and Emerging Markets: Patterns, Problems, and Responses, (...)
  • 29 Idem.
  • 30 Idem.
  • 31 Dorschner J., "Rajput alcohol use in India", Op. cit.
  • 32 Sundaram K.R., Mohan D., Advani G.B., Sharma H.K. & Bajaj J.S., "Alcohol abuse in a rural communit (...)
  • 33 Idem.
  • 34 Idem.

19The different states of India have rich cultural variability with respect to ethnic, religious, and linguistic groups. The drinking patterns observed in the nation reflects that variability, and results obtained in specific regions of each country can be generalized only to a limited extent. For example, one cannot accurately characterize the drinking patterns of all Indian ethnic and cultural groups based on findings for just one of those groups. In this research article, the information presented on consumption culture & practices is based on investigations conducted in Shillong, a city in the north eastern state of Meghalaya. Additional information on Indian drinking practices in this article is based on two ethnographic studies of alcohol consumption conducted among the Rajput, a military caste in north-western India25. In order to highlight the role that indigenous beverage consumption plays in a culture or country, researchers commonly use the terms “wet” and “dry.” Wet cultures are those in which alcohol consumption is a highly valued part of social life. Conversely, in dry cultures, alcohol consumption typically is considered aberrant behavior26. Some differences exist in the alcoholic beverage preferences of various population subgroups. For example, although both men and women drink, women tend to prefer wine. Also, young people consume beer and wine more frequently than other alcoholic beverages27. Few general population studies of alcohol consumption patterns have been conducted in India, and those that do exist were conducted primarily in the late 1970s, shortly after prohibition policies by the federal government and individual states were reversed. Furthermore, although various epidemiological studies have been conducted in specific regions of India, their generalizability to the entire country is questionable, at least in part because of methodological problems28. The most consistent finding in all of the studies was that men are the primary consumers of alcoholic beverages. However, the percentage of men who had consumed an alcoholic beverage in the previous year varied widely among different regions, ranging from 16.7 percent in Madras City in southern India to 49.6 percent in a Punjab village in northwest India29. Conversely, the alcohol consumption rates among women were consistently low (i.e., less than 5 percent)30. In a study of a clan of Rajput in the city of Khaalapur, Dorschner31 identified three types of drinkers: abstainers, social drinkers, and alcoholics. Of the men included in the study, 44.5 percent were abstainers, 16.4 percent were social drinkers, and 39.1 percent were heavy drinkers or alcoholics. Thus, although slightly more than one-half of the men consumed daru, spirit, or “English alcohol,” moderate social drinking was not the norm among those drinkers. In contrast, all the women in the study were abstinent. These overall drinking patterns are consistent with national epidemiological studies conducted in India but contrast sharply with those of Asian countries and many Western countries. One reason for the specific drinking patterns in India may be the strong advocacy of abstinence by Indian religious groups. For example, among the Hindus (who make up more than 80 percent of India’s population) alcoholic beverages are forbidden for Brahmins and other upper-caste groups who are strict vegetarians. Members of all other caste groups who are meat eaters (e.g., the warrior, farmer, and scavenger-untouchable castes) are permitted to drink. Muslims also are not supposed to drink, although some Muslim men consume alcohol. Finally, Buddhists and Jains, who are strict vegetarians, are forbidden to drink. In addition, political prohibition policies in certain states may contribute to Indian drinking patterns. Another epidemiological study conducted in the rural areas of Rajasthan demonstrated that although alcohol consumption had become accepted among men, it was still infrequent among women32. However, drinking by women was more accepted in certain castes, particularly on festive occasions, such as weddings33. In general, by the early 1980s alcohol consumption apparently had become an accepted leisure activity for men who were married and living in small families (i.e., husband, wife, and no more than three children) in this rural area34.

Research gap

20There has been little direct research on documentation undertaken on Indigenous beverages of Meghalaya. Fruits wines are unique feature of Meghalaya which is prepare by native tribes (Khasi Garo and Jaintia).

21There is an urgent need to document these indigenous beverages and about consumption culture which highlights :

  • Its indigenous knowledge, skills involved preparation .
  • Indigenous practices of developing wine as tourism products.
  • Wines may evolve as special interest tourism in Meghalaya.
  • Scope of wine centric tourism entrepreneurship development.

Ojectives of the study

22The proposed study has been conceptualized with the following objectives:

  1. To highlight the consumption culture and preparation of Indigenous beverages of Meghalaya.
  2. To study the role of indigenous beverages/fruit wines in transforming a unique

Research methodology

23Area of Study: State of Meghalaya.

24This research work is based on the quantitative component of ethnographic study, combining direct observation with interviews of local natives.We have made observations of thedestinations and interviews with the producers, members of Forever Young Club, Meghalaya wine makers association in Shillong, Sohlia, Sohiong, and Umran.The secondary data sources includes reputed journals of tourism research, books, web sites, national and local newspapers, Reports from Department of Tourism, Government of Meghalaya, Department of Horticulture, Government of Meghalaya.

Consumption of alcohol in India

  • Alcohol has been associated with many societal issues ranging from crimes, accidents, poverty, and ill-health.
  • On the other hand, the immense economic benefits it gives not only to people directly involved in its production and sale but to the Government is hard to ignore. The excise revenue estimated in Delhi for the year 2018-19 is Rs 4700 Crore.
  • With Rs 29,672 Crore in the previous year, Tamil Nadu is the top earner from the sale of alcohol among Indian states35.
  • With an estimated worth of $35 billion, the alcohol market in Indian is the third largest in the world36.
  • The legal drinking age ranges between 18 to 25 years depending on individual state law, and with 53% of the population above 25 years, India provides as a huge market for alcoholic beverages (India Demographic Profile, 2018).

Table 5 - State-wise alcohol consumption per capita per week (in ml) as of 2018-19.

State/UT Indigenous Beverages Beer, Imported Alcohol, Wine
Andaman & Nicobar Island 656 532
Andhra Pradesh 561 104
Arunachal Pradesh 749 346
Assam 304 19
Bihar 266 17
Chandigarh 37 42
Chhattisgarh 120 27
Dadra & Nagar Haveli 2,533 498
Daman & Diu 252 1,079
Delhi 55 86
Goa 47 108
Gujarat 53 3
Haryana 89 43
Himachal Pradesh 149 73
Jammu & Kashmir 32 7
Jharkhand 320 14
Karnakata 23 102
Kerala 94 102
Lakshadweep 0 0
Madhya Pradesh 133 12
Maharashtra 65 19
Manipur 155 6
Meghalaya 74 49
Mizoram 29 2
Nagaland 159 23
Odisha 146 20
Puducherry 154 144
Punjab 141 50
Rajasthan 80 43
Sikkim 41 307
Tamil Nadu 20 85
Tripura 163 2
Uttar Pradesh 34 5
Uttarakhand 38 43
West Bengal 74 12

National Sample Survey Office (The Hindu news report) and https://www.mapsofindia.com/​my-india/​india/​alcohol-consumption-in-india.

Legal age of consuming alcohol in India

Table 6 - Legal age of consuming alcohol in India by states.

LEGAL DRINKING AGE STATES OF INDIA
18 Years Andaman Nicobar islands, Himachal Pradesh, Kerala, Mizoram, Pondicherry, Rajasthan, Sikkim
21 years Jammu and Kashmir, Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Chhattisgarh, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Daman and Diu, Goa, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Tripura, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Uttarakhand
25 years Delhi, Chandigarh, Meghalaya, Punjab, Haryana
Dry States Nagaland, Manipur, Lakshadeep, Bihar, Gujarat

Joseph, Z. & Thomas, J. Atna Journal of Tourism Studies 2018, Vol. 13, No. 2, 29-40.

Consumption culture in India and Meghalaya

  • India is one of the fastest growing and the third largest market for alcohol in the world.
  • According to the Business Wire (2017) the alcoholic beverage market in India is growing at a CAGR of around 7.72% over a 10 year period and will reach a value of INR 5.3 trillion by the fiscal year 2026.
  • As per the 2014 World Health Organisation's report on alcohol and health, 30% of Indians regularly consume alcohol and per capita consumption of alcohol annually stood at 4.3 litres.
  • India's association with alcohol goes way back into history. Alcoholic beverages and its effects are mentioned in ancient historic texts and writings. Ayurveda mentions its use as well as the consequences of its misuse.
  • The subject of alcohol is included in the state list under the seventh schedule of the Constitution of India. This means that rules regarding the sale and consumption of alcohol are a state issue and each state and union territory has adopted a different approach towards its alcohol policy.

Food and wine harmony

  • The choice wines with the food are based on the sommelier’s suggestion or with their own experience.
  • Indigenous beverages like rice beer may be consumed with any meal during festivals, ceremonies etc.
  • Wine is a perfect partner for food.
  • Dry white wine goes well with fish and fatty foods.
  • Red wines may be served with red meats, games.
  • Sweet wines are served with sweets and desserts.

Responsible beverage service policies and practice in India

  • Restriction with respect to the location of the shops
  • Sale of alcohol is not allowed in most states on
    1. 2nd October
    2. Republic Day
    3. Independence Day
    4. During Government elections and counting
    5. Prevention of public peace
  • Sale of alcohol is prohibited to
    1. People with a mental disorder
    2. A person already intoxicated
    3. A person suspected to take part in any unlawful activity, riot or the disruption of public peace
    4. Excise officials, police officers, railway servants and motor bus chauffeur, on duty or in uniform
    5. A person under the minimum age limit set by the state37.

Conclusion

25The state of Meghalaya produces indigenous beverages ranging from Rice Beer to Fruit wines. The fruit wines are prepared from the fruits grown in abundance, few of them are exotic in nature. The indigenous tribes of Meghalaya, Khasi, Garo and Jaintia produces these beverages using their traditional knowledge and skills which passes on from generation to generation. The history of wine making in Meghalaya links with the British colonial period. Fruit wine lovers and producer visits have the potential to increase local tourism to a larger extent. Meghalaya has a rich agro-biodiversity and a leading producer of exotic fruits. Fruit growers and wine producers within the same area could give basis for fruit wine routes; consumption of modern high quality fruit wine could also become a more wide-spread if the other stakeholders such as local restaurants and hotels are included in the overall marketing of local tourist destinations.

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Notes

1 Abegaz K, et. al., "Indigenous processing methods and raw materials of borde, a Ethiopian traditional fermented beverage", J Food Technology Africa, 7, 2002, p. 59-64.

2 Lillicrap D., Cousins J., & Smith R., Food and Beverage Service (5th ed.), Tottenham, London, Hodder & Stoughton, 1998

3 Martin A. O’Neill and Adrian Palmer, Wine Production and Tourism—Adding Service to a Perfect Partnership.

4 Singaravelavan R., Food and Beverage Service, Oxford University Press, 2011

5 Baslingappa S., Thakor N.J and Divate A.D., "Fruit Wine Production: A Review", Journal Of Food Research And Technology, 2014. Journal homepage: www.jakraya.com/journa/jfrt.

6 Sundbo D. & Sundbo J., "Interest Regimes in Fruit Wine Tourism", Journal of Gastronomy and Tourism., 3, 3, 2018, p. 163-176.

7 Liz Thach, Wine Business Monthly Trends in Wine Tourism- Discover the motivations of wine tourists and the challenges, benefits and trends in wine tourism, August 15, 2007.

8 Douglas N., Douglas N. & Derret, R., Special Interest Tourism, Australia, Wiley, 2001.

9 Getz D., Explore wine tourism: Management, development & destinations, New York, Cognizant Communication Corporation, 2002

10 Raut A. & Bhakay, J.. J. Food Ag-Ind, 2012, 5(02), p. 141-155

11 Idem.

12 Joshi V.K. & Attri Devendra, "Panorama of research and development of wines in India", Journal of Scientific & Industrial Research, 64, 2005, p. 9-18.

13 Idem.

14 Brunori G. &. Rossi A., "Synergy and coherence through collective action: some insights from wine routes in Tuscany", SociologiaRuralis, 40(4), 2000, p. 409-423.

15 Fellows P., Food processing technology: Principles and practice, (2nd edition), Baca Raton, CRC press LLC, USA, 2000.

16 Rose A.H., "Alcoholic beverage", Rose A.H. (ed.), Economic Microbiology I, Academic Press, UK, 1997.

17 FAO, Traditional fermented food and beverage for improved livelihoods, 2012.

18 Mao A.A., "Ethnobotanical observation of rice beer Zuchu preparation by the Mao Naga tribe from Manipur", Bulletin Botanical Survey of India, 40, 1998, p. 53-57.

19 Deka D., Sarma G.C., "Traditionally used herbs in the preparation of rice-beer by the Rabha tribe of Goalpara district, Assam", Niscair, 2010, p. 469-462.

20 Singh P.K., Singh K.I., "Traditional alcoholic beverage, Yu of Meitei communities of Manipur", Niscair, 2016, 184-190.

21 Bennett L.A., Campillo, C. Chandrashekar C. R. and Gureje O., "Alcoholic Beverage Consumption in India, Mexico and Nigeria: A cross-cultural comparison", Alcohol Health & Research World, 22(4), 1998, p. 243–252.

22 Idem.

23 Mohan D., & Sharma H.K, "India", Heath D.B. (ed), International Handbook on Alcohol and Culture, Westport, Greenwood Press, 1995, p. 128–141.

24 Marshall M. (dir.), Through a Glass Darkly: Beer and Modernization in Papua New Guinea, Boroko, Papua New Guinea, Institute of Applied Social and Economic Research, 1982.

25 Castairs G.M., "Daru and bhang: Cultural factors in the choice of intoxicant", Marshall M. (ed), Beliefs, Behaviors, and Alcoholic Beverages, Ann Arbor, University of Michigan Press, 1979, p. 297–312. Dorschner J., "Rajput alcohol use in India", Journal of Studies on Alcohol, 44(3), 1983, p. 538–544.

26 Bennett L.A., Janca A., Grant B.F., and Sartorius N., "Boundaries between normal and pathological drinking: A cross-cultural comparison", Alcohol Health & Research World 17(3), 1993, p. 190–195.

27 Medina-Mora M.E., Rascon M.L., Otero B.R. and Gutierrez E., "Patrones de Consumo", Gilbert M.J. (ed), Alcohol Consumption among Mexicans and Mexican Americans: A Binational Perspective, Los Angeles, Spanish Speaking Mental Health Research Center, University of California, Los Angeles, 1988. p. 27–52.

28 Isaac M., "India", Grant M. (ed), Alcohol and Emerging Markets: Patterns, Problems, and Responses, Philadelphia, Brunner/Mazel, 1998, p. 145–175.

29 Idem.

30 Idem.

31 Dorschner J., "Rajput alcohol use in India", Op. cit.

32 Sundaram K.R., Mohan D., Advani G.B., Sharma H.K. & Bajaj J.S., "Alcohol abuse in a rural community in India", Part I: Epidemiological Study. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 14, 1984, p. 27–36

33 Idem.

34 Idem.

35 India Today, See if your state is among top ten booze revenue earners, October 8, 2016. Retrieved from https://www.indiatoday.in/india/story/booze-revenue-alcohol.

36 Idem.

37 Vohra B., Alcohol laws in India, July 18, 2016. Retrieved from https://www.lawfarm.in/blogs/alcohol-laws-in-india.

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List of illustrations

Title Figure 1 - Official Indian propaganda against alcohol abuse.
Credits Sharad Kumar Kulshreshtha and Ashok Kumar.
URL http://preo.u-bourgogne.fr/territoiresduvin/docannexe/image/2270/img-1.jpg
File image/jpeg, 46k
Title Figure 2 - Production of indigenous beverages.
Credits Source: Authors Compilation.
URL http://preo.u-bourgogne.fr/territoiresduvin/docannexe/image/2270/img-2.jpg
File image/jpeg, 53k
Title Figure 3 - Production of Fruit Wines.
Credits Source: Authors Compilation.
URL http://preo.u-bourgogne.fr/territoiresduvin/docannexe/image/2270/img-3.jpg
File image/jpeg, 52k
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References

Electronic reference

Sharad Kumar Kulshreshtha and Ashok Kumar, « Consumption Culture of Indigenous Beverages: An Explorative Study of Fruit Wines of Meghalaya (India) », Territoires du vin [Online], 13 | 2021, Online since 15 December 2021, connection on 09 December 2022. URL : http://preo.u-bourgogne.fr/territoiresduvin/index.php?id=2270

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About the authors

Sharad Kumar Kulshreshtha

Department of Tourism & Hotel Management, North-Eastern Hill University

Ashok Kumar

Department of Tourism & Hotel Management, North-Eastern Hill University

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Copyright

Licence Creative Commons
Les contenus de la revue Territoires du vin sont mis à disposition selon les termes de la Licence Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International.

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