States Of The Union: The Most Popular Local Brews Across India
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The 28 states and 8 union territories that make up the Indian subcontinent are home to countless distinct cultures and traditions. The wide variety of traditional alcoholic beverages produced by each state are fascinating projections of this cultural diversity. Every state has its own signature alcoholic beverage, from the spicy and sweet raksi of Sikkim to the mellow and refreshing toddy of Kerala. These regional beverages are delectable introductions to the cuisine of any given state. This article explores some of the more interesting local brews that can be found across the country.


This fiery distilled spirit from the emerald state of Goa is made using either cashew fruit or coconut sap. Cashew-based feni has umami and astringent notes on the palate, whereas coconut-based feni has a nutty taste backed by a fruity undertone. The second distillate produced during the production of this beverage is called arrack, a lower-proof drink that tastes similar to feni. This robust spirit tastes best in a tall glass with a green chili, a squeeze of lime, and soda or limeade on top.

Poro apong 

Poro apong, or "chai mod," is a potent rice beer that is made by the Mishing tribes of Assam. When drunk in moderation, the brew is thought to be good for your health because it is made with over twenty different plants.

Rajasthani Royal Liqueurs

One can find several heritage liqueurs in the state of Rajasthan, manufactured by the state-owned Rajasthan State Ganganagar Sugar Mills Ltd. The operation oversees the production of eight different types of liqueurs that feature traditional ingredients such as kesar, elaichi, saunf, badam, et al.


This rice beer is a staple of Meghalaya’s food culture; no Meghalaya household will let you leave without consuming a glass of the drink. The brew is a mainstay at parties and is served at almost every bar and restaurant in the state, with a piece of charcoal often added to the glass to even out the sweetness.


This potent brew is made by fermenting the sap of coconut or palm trees. The drink is commonplace in the south Indian states of Kerala, Karnataka, Goa, Andhra Pradesh, and Telangana. Toddy is often sold at shacks across these states and is produced by family-owned operations.

Kodo ko Jaanr

This light brew is native to the state of Assam. The beer is produced using endemic finger millet and is unique in the fact that it is consumed with boiling water.


This distilled beverage is produced in the dry state of Manipur. The moonshine is made using rice wine as the base spirit and is flavored with locally grown hops, herbs, and fruit. It is a popular drink among the youth in the region and is commonly consumed in a dilution similar to alcopops like Breezer.


This potent moonshine is consumed with great zest in the state of Telangana. The brew is incredibly inexpensive, albeit unsafe, owing to the use of black jaggery. The drink is flavored with raw mangoes and may feature the addition of local spices.


This rice wine, made by women of Assam’s Dimasa tribe, has the distinction of being the first traditional north-eastern beverage to be awarded a GI tag. The herbal wine features the addition of several local botanicals, which are fermented with endemic sticky rice for up to one week. The wine may be consumed as a digestif or by itself to reap the supposed medicinal benefits.


This millet-based beer is popular in both Himalayan and north-eastern states that are proximal to Nepal and Tibet. The brew is served warm, or hot, as a means to ward off the cold during the winter months. The drink is served in wooden glasses and is usually unfiltered.


Xaj, or xaj pani, is a rice-based brew that is popular in the state of Assam. It is characterized by a pungent odor and made using an endemic sticky rice called bora saul. There is little uniformity with regards to the taste and strength of the beverage, with families and bars across the state having their own recipes for the same. However, there are efforts underway to establish a standard metric with regard to the beverage, spearheaded by researchers and enthusiasts who are hopeful for the commercial production of the traditional brew.


This stiff drink is savored with great zest by the locals of Sikkim. The drink is made by distilling chaang and has a flavor profile similar to sake. Just like chaang, this spirit has its origins in Nepal as a celebratory drink.