Saaz pani and judima have cleared a series of chemical tests, paving the way for their commercial brewing as the State’s first ‘heritage brews’. Judima is a traditional rice wine of the Dimasa tribe, while saaz pani is a rice-based beverage popular among the Ahom and Tiwa communities.
After conducting several tests to ascertain the presence of impurities, alcohol content, acidity, alkalinity, etc. both the drinks have cleared all the tests. One senior excise official said that all the parameters were well within permissible limits and that both the producers are now eligible for license and registration.
The traditionally prepared brew, mostly made from rice, is also known to have medicinal properties, and once it hits the markets, it is expected to give the foreign liquor and wine tough competition.
According to the new ‘Heritage Brew’ policy of the Excise department, the product should not contain more than 12 percent alcohol volume by volume.
The samples of saaz pani that got the green signal from the Excise department were produced by a Jorhat-based entrepreneur, Akash Jyoti Gogoi, with technical support from the Assam Agricultural University (AAU), Jorhat.
According to Gogoi, so far, the main obstacle in commercializing saaz pani has been the inability to prepare uniform product and quality due to the lack of defined starter culture, optimized techniques and a very short shelf life. The judima samples were produced on an experimental basis by Neena Hasnu, an entrepreneur from Haflong.