Goa government readies to brand 'Feni' as 'heritage brew'

Panaji: After bagging a Geographical Indication, Goa's 'Feni' is now getting ready to stand out among country liquors and to be tagged as 'heritage brew', a senior official said in Panaji on Saturday.

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"Goa government has already initiated a process to tag Feni as heritage brew outside the state. With this, Feni will get a opening in markets outside Goa," Mac Vaz, President, Goa Cashew Feni Distillers and Bottlers Association told PTI ahead of a conference of stakeholders scheduled to be held here tomorrow.

Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar will inaugurate the meeting tomorrow morning. "Because of the negativity attached to country liquor, people perceive this (feni) too as one of those country liquors. Now we want to give it a different tag and classification," Vaz said.

He said we need to realize that Feni is the 'Kohinoor' among alcoholic beverages. It attained the GI mark in 2010. After receiving the GI mark, the perception of Feni has gone up globally, he said.

"We Indians look down at our own assets, only when white men acknowledge it then we wake up and realize the essence of our assets," Vaz commented. "India has a USP globally, anything that comes from India has a natural pull," he said.

For the makers of this liquor, getting GI sign has helped financially. Vaz said post GI mark, sales have also soared four times. Goa has 28 units which bottle Feni across the state.

Talking about the stakeholders' meet, Vaz said, "there was a need for celebrating Goan spirit as a proud alcoholic beverage from India.

"Just like Americans celebrate their Mustang horses we must celebrate our Marwari horses. Similarly, just like the West is taking their own spirits to the world like Scotch, Champagne and they are coming to India, we should feel proud to take swadeshi spirits from India to the world," he commented.

"Feni is an example of Made in India. For me Make in India is little diluted version of Made in India. Feni is the produce of India and we have been motivated with this emotion for over a decade," he said.

Referring to world famous Cartoonist late Mario Miranda, Vaz said, "Mario had coined a phrase for 'Feni' terming Goa is a land of Feni and Harmony.. Feni like harmony in Goa should be protected," he said. Vaz said the attempts to have odourless 'Feni' produced in the state is unwanted one.

"Scientifically it is not rocket science to get aroma out of any beverage. We have done it through technical experiments in our laboratory. But we believe something of that kind is not necessary...Feni's flavour is its character. If we remove it would be like any other spirit," he said.

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