Monday, 26 March 2012

'From Lumps to Lager: The race to slake a continent’s thirst'

There is a particularly silly piece in this week's The Economist: The race to slake a continent's thirst. It reads like as an hesitant advertisement: a 'report' on how a brewery joins the race to provide cheap beer as a 'force for good' by selling cold drinks 'in a hot continent whose billion citizens are just starting to have a bit of spare cash'. According to The Economist, although Africans chug admirable quantities of sometimes excellent homebrew ('made from anything fermentable'), breweries are betting that 'Africa's fast-growing middle class will want to trade up'. For a clearer picture, it illustrates this lumpy tax-free homebrew, which sadly, lacks a 'certain cachet':

I found the article more silly than condescending. Condescension implies a recognisable of some form of superiority that this article lacks since a 600-word piece that manages to mix up facts that could have been verified on a company's website misses the 'good' grade.

The assumption that drinking cheap bottled beer rather is 'trading up' is as inane as insisting that everyone else switch from 'inferior' factory-bottled beer to the home-made 'healthier' brew .  People must learn to tolerate and respect choices without trying to change them.

I am not much of a beer drinker. I had a quick affair with beer in Geneva since it was the cheapest alcohol my intern budget could afford. I haven't tried it much afterwards, neither have I brewed some at home.

News item on Reuters: Diageo, British drinks giant to 'accelerate beyond the current 15 percent' and 'Some 80 percent of Diageo's Africa business comes from Nigeria, South Africa and East Africa'.