Tequila’s Indian Cousin

For all our readers who are alcohol connoisseurs here is some great news. A food scientist from Andra Pradesh has filed for a patent for the Indian version of tequila.

It’s a well known fact that tequila originates from Mexico, where the Agave Americana plant is used in the manufacturing of tequila. However, the possibility of an Indian variant seemed a little far-fetched. Mr Sangati Chennakesava Reddy a food scientist who had previously researched on Opuntia (a plant from the cactus family), finally zeroed down on ‘Naara Kalabanda’ or ‘Kittha Naara’ . According to him, the plant’s pith portion due to its high starch content can be utilized to make ethnol. Prior to this discovery, farmers would only use the leaves to extract the gel, however the importance or the usefulness of the pith portion had not been previously explored. Mr. Reddy claims that the plant’s high start content can be used to produce good quality alcohol in an economical way.

The plant in consideration ‘Naara Kalabanda’, or Agave albomarginata of agavaceae family, is grown extensively in the arid Rayalseema region, where farmers use the plant as a barricade to protect their crops and orchards from cattle. This is due to the thorny exterior of the plant. It is primarily a desert plant which can survive even without adequate watering, fertilizers etc.

The plant yields 45 per cent alcohol with high pungency, which is much higher that 10-15 percent alcohol content that is yielded by other plants. According to Shaik Kaleemullah, professor of agriculture engineering at SV Agricultural College, it takes the plant about two years to grow/mature. However,once matured the plant can weigh up to a whopping 100 kilograms.

An assistant professor and food scientist from Sri Venkateswara University, same institution Mr Reddy is an alumni, stated that the alcohol obtained from the plant is not only cheaper but it does not required the addition of any chemicals. The alcohol is au natural, which is why in the patent application the name of the alcohol has been coined as ‘Naturohol’. Mr. Reddy’s patent application has been accepted for now. He is also negotiating with potential distiller and says that a few companies have also approached him.

Well, this news surely puts us  in high spirits, right?

Authored by Anchita Sharma

Sources-here and here