by Richard Lasrado
Posted at 5-15 pm
Bangalore, May 11: Alcohol is the root of all evil, some say. Now there is a root here on the way to becoming a raw material for alcohol.
State excise minister Renukacharya has hit upon the idea of approving manufacture of alcoholic beverages from beetroot. This has a double-edged benefit according to him.
One, molasses is the raw material for breweries. It is a by-product of sugar production from sugarcane. Since sugarcane is seasonal, there is always a paucity of molasses at certain times of the year. There are sixtyfive breweries in the state, whose thirst for molasses has been found difficult to quench.
The distilleries had therefore sought permission to prepare the brew from staple food produce like barley, rice, wheat and corn. The government thought this could eat into the food output, thus causing a shortage. But beetroot can beat that problem, says the excise minister.
Two, the growers can be encouraged to grow more beetroot and they can reap the benefit of additional income.
But would the richness of the root, which is expected to bring riches to the farmers, meet with the quality demanded in liquor-making? Doubtful, we are told.
Here too, our mantri sahebru has an instant solution. If you don't have it, import!
So there are plans to import special breeds of beetroot from abroad and distribute them to farmers. A technical committee already formed will go into the matter and report to the government.
Taking into account the time factor involved in the import, distribution, sowing, germination, sprouting and formation of beet bulbs, quite some time will elapse. So those who were already in celebration mood may have to wait.
Proponents of moderation and anti-alcohol campaigners are sure to go red as a beet or go beetroot over the whole issue.
But connoisseurs may say, "If you can't 'beet' 'em, join 'em!"
Three cheers to that!
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