Rival in feni`s backyard - an Indian tequila
Panaji: Feni, Goa`s own homebred liquor, is in for some competition in its own backyard. A tequila, brewed in Andhra Pradesh and bottled and packaged here, could soon spar with this state`s best known spirit.
India`s first indigenously-made tequila is marketed under the brand Desmondji, which was launched recently and is on display at the four-day Konkan fruit festival dedicated to the fruits of the tropical strip of land stretching from Maharashtra to Goa.
Manufactured by the company Agave India, Desmondji is manufactured from the blue agave, a cactus like plant found on the Deccan plateau in Andhra Pradesh, similar to the agave plant found in the Mexico region, where the drink originally hails from.
"I was doing some research on tequila and agave when I came across a photograph of the blue agave plant in Andhra Pradesh. The latitudinal lines in Mexico where the plant grows passes over a certain region in Andhra Pradesh, where I first set out to hunt down the agave," said Desmond Nazareth, from whose name the tequila draws its name.
He is the director of Agave India, which is the holding company for the brand Desmondji.
He said naming the agave brew and other range of alcoholic cocktail blends Desmondji was his obeisance to an ancient custom, where the liquor used to be named after the person who brewed it.
Tequila, however, being a proprietary word associated with Mexico and its exclusive regional processes, Desmond prefers to call his brew `agave` to avoid proprietary conflict.
"I want to always maintain an environmentally and socially conscious core value set, while delivering to the consumer the key superior ingredients of globally famous cocktails by innovating with Indian raw material," he said.
Marketed under a broader brand Agave India, the production facilities designed for zero discharge, the project will also engender rural employment and wasteland cultivation, according to the former techie, who is an Indian Institute of Technology-Madras alumnus.
Agave India has a manufacturing plant in Chittoor in Andhra Pradesh, while the tequila and other brews are bottled and packaged in a facility located in Goa.
Miguel Braganza, secretary of the Botanical Society of Goa (BSG), which is organising the Konkan Fruit Festival, said the tequila would only add to Goa`s unique bouquet of exclusive and indigenously prepared alcohols.
"We will also be serving locally made urrak (single distilled fermented cashew juice) at the festival because it is has therapeutic effects. The tequila will also add to the value tremendously," he said.
"The unusual Konkan Fruit Fest has in the past attracted large numbers of the general public, students, horticulturists and academics and has been successful not only in creating widespread interest in our common food heritage but also in providing opportunities to growers to showcase and market their produce in a sustainable and affordable manner," he said.