GUWAHATI, Aug 20 - 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 also a rice-based beverage popular among the Ahom and Tiwa communities.
�Several tests were conducted by our examiners to ascertain the presence of impurities, alcohol content, acidity, alkalinity, etc, and both the drinks have cleared all these tests. All the parameters were well within permissible limits. The producers � both happen to be entrepreneurs � are now eligible for the licence and registration,� a senior excise official told The Assam Tribune.
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 a tough competition.
According to the new �Heritage Brew� policy of the Excise department, the product should not contain more than 12 per cent 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.
The Department of Agricultural Biotechnology and the DBT-AAU Centre, Assam Agricultural University, after a decade of extensive research led by Dr Madhumita Barooah and her students, had developed a defined starter culture and optimised the technology for production of saaz pani with 10-12 per cent alcohol along with increased shelf life. The AAU had signed an MoU with Akash Gogoi�s M/s Maverick Technologies for transferring the technology to the company for commercial production. The company is setting up a state of the art manufacturing plant to produce and popularise saaz pani at two sites in Jorhat.
�We have given two names for registration of trademark, and we hope to get them approved soon. Once we the necessary approvals, we can start the production in about three months� time,� Gogoi told The Assam Tribune.
According to Gogoi, so far, the main obstacle in commercialising saaz pani has been the inability to brew uniform product and quality due to the lack of defined starter culture, optimised techniques and very short shelf life.
The judima samples were produced on an experimental basis by Neena Hasnu, an entrepreneur from Haflong.