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Beer better than Milk

There is more protein in beer than in milk. What's more, beer has fewer calories than apple juice, milk or cola and contains neither fat nor cholesterol. These claims have been made by the All India Brewer's Association.

The apex body representing 42 beer manufacturers, has urged the food processing ministry to delink beer from the status of liquor and whisky, so that it can be advertised and marketed like any other product. They have argued that liquor has an alcoholic content of 42.8% while beer has only up to 7%.

Beer is battling to get the status of milk. The all India Brewer's Association (AIBA) have argued in a memorandum to the government that a glass of beer contains more protein than does the same quantity of milk.

Not just that. They have said that the calorie content in beer is lesser than that of a bottle of apple juice, milk or any cola. So do not club beer with hard liquor in computing tax, argues the industry.

"It has been given the status of a fast moving consumer good (FMCG) that can be traded over the counter at any departmental store", says the Vice-President and President of Shaw Wallace. "Beer distribution has to be made open as in Singapore."

The industry's representation for removing beer restrictions are straight and simple: Beer is only an agri-food. Arguing that it has neither fat nor cholesterol, the beer manufacturers' body has told the government that an average bottle of beer gives four vital minerals and five important constituents of vitamin B and proteins. Raw material for beer is malt, the same as for health drinks Maltova and Horlicks.

In their representation titled 'Indian Beer Industry - Needs Policy Support'. AIBA has pitched beer as a "mild and healthy beverage", conforming to the tenets of "responsible" drinking.

" Beer has to be taxed on the basis of alcoholic strength keeping levels on alcohol content as bench mark", say many of the top manufacturer's. Duties and tax account for 40% of the beer cost in India while it is of the order of 20% in US, France and Germany.

They have said that the cost of one litre of beer taken as percentage of daily income in the high selling states of Andhra, Karnataka and Maharashtra is close to 28%.

The comparable figures for US, France and Germany are less than 3%. And if India attains this level of even 15% then the beer should cost around Rs. 30 per litre (Rs. 20 per bottle).

"It is a highly capital intensive business. It is not feasible for the brewers to sustain the current market pressure", says the top shots. "Brewing companies are increasingly being declared sick", they add.