Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Goan Feni – Our Scotch at last!

Goan FeGoan cashew for fenini has been popular all over the world thanks to the very land of Goa being a favourite tourist destination. This local brew from Goa is envied for its taste and purity by people over the world as it has no near competition. Besides all other so called country liquor made in any part of India is adulterous personified and cannot be trusted like the Goan Feni.

It is therefore pleasant news that this extract from Goa will soon get the Geographical Identification (GI) tag expectedly by early January 2009. The GI is a name or sign used on certain producGoan cashew Feni bottlets which corresponds to a specific geographical location or origin – a town, region or country.” Such a sign enables a certification for the product and implies certain qualities or reputation that the product carries by virtue of its geographical origin. Just as Scotch is llicensed to be produced only in Scotland, Champagne in France and tequila in Mexico, the Goan feni will enjoy similar status and the GI certification will thereby ensure that Goa rightfully retains the term ‘Goan Cashew Feni’ and so no other state , region or country can make a beverage with the same name, thereby dusting out the many plans of anxious states like Maharashtra who planned to brew cashew feni.

The Gi certification is expected to give recognition to feni while ensuring that standards are maintained for its brewing process. The brand is therefore expected to be promoted abroad in the same league as Scotch,Champagne or tequila.

Goa and goans have been producing goan feni for centuries . After crushing the cashewCashew feni brewing process fruit , the juice obtained is distilled to produce feni and an estimated thousand cottage industries and traditional brewers produce over 8 lakh litres of feni every year. Being a distinct brand Feni has found good acceptance in India and abroad with over 40,000 cases of feni exported every year all over the world including the US, Canada, Germany and the United Kingdom.

The government of Goa has classified feni under ‘ country liquor” segment which meant that Feni has not been allowed to be sold in other states of India. However the GI recognition could change all this. Goan Feni will suddenly acquire a brand image and its exclusivCashew fruit for feniity would be its strength to make inroads in all markets making it an USP to promote the product.Also the country liquor tag which goan Feni never deserved, will be shrug off and it is most likely to be re-classified as a traditional drink which it has always been for the niz goencar.

While a bottle of Feni costs anywhere between Rs 75 – Rs 800 depending upon its purity, the prices could rise many folds with the GI certification while also streamlining the process for brewing the brand.

Geographical identification has proved to be a great resource of the World trade organization system which regulates to protect a state’s interest by preventing anyone from patenting a brand without its origin being in that location.

Currently over 40 items have been identified by the government for GI certification and protection which include, spices of Kerala, Kolhapuri chappals, traditional pickles from Andhra Pradesh, , Nagpur oranges, Kancheepuram silk sarees and Darjeeling tea .

Xittuk Goencar

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