Beer should not be considered as alcohol product: Kerala govt

The Kerala government's unusual request to get beer scrapped from the list of alcoholic drinks is perhaps because they want to encourage its people to switch from hard drinks to beverages that are low on alcohol content. Photograph:( AFP )

New Delhi, Delhi, India Feb 13, 2017, 11.16 AM (IST)

Beer should not be viewed as an alcohol product, according to a local government in India.

The government of India's southern state of Kerala urged the Supreme Court on Monday to remove beer and toddy, a beverage made from the sap of palm trees, from the definition of alcohol, according to Manorama Online.

In India, the alcohol by volume (ABV) in beer ranges from four to eight per cent, whereas toddy has four per cent alcohol content.

The Kerala government's request may seem unusual on the surface. But scratch the surface and one can see a long-term plan outlined by the government.

People in Kerala are famous for consuming hard liquor -- one of the key reasons for the government deciding to not renew bar licences in 2014.

The following year, the government thought of handing out permits to outlets keen to sell beer and wine. The reason was that a report on prohibition in 1988 recommended that the state should encourage people to consume drinks with low alcohol content instead of hard drinks.

The Kerala government also asked the country's highest court for more time to remove liquor outlets along the highway.