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Push for sorghum beer

Fresh impetus for beer from sorghum Anheuser-Busch produced the first nationally distributed gluten-free beer in the US in 2006, under the brand name Redbridge.

The Indian Institute of Millets Research (IIMR) in Hyderabad has come up with an initiative to promote sorghum (jowar) for brewing beer which, experts say, could revolutionise the beer market in the country.

A pilot plant has been set up at the IIMR campus to study the techno-economic feasibility of the drought-resistant crop as the most suitable grain for brewing beer.

Imported malts cost between Rs 80 and Rs 120 per kg. Sorghum is available at Rs20-40 per kg.

Beer brewed out of sorghum will be gluten-free, of superior quality, and cost less, officials at the Nesting Incubation and Entrepreneurship for Leveraging Agri-innovations in Nutri-cereals Technology incubator have said.

Sorhgum can be malted in a fashion similar to barley, but requires a higher temperature for germination.

The IIMR initiative aims to attract more entrepreneurs to take up beer production using sorghum, and establishing a continuous supply chain of the raw material by taking farmer groups into confidence.

Sorghum is widely used as the main ingredient in beer in Nigeria, South Africa and other southern African countries. Though wheat, millets, sorghum, rice and corn are used for brewing in several countries, barley is the most preferred grain for beer.

The institute is willing to partner with micro-breweries by sharing its research and technology. Mr. B. Dayakar Rao, Principal Scientist at IIMR, told PTI that lab-scale production of beer from sorghum has been carried by the institute for the last 4 years. For more information write to dayakar@millets.res.in or call +91-9963288838.