Africans have been making and using alcohol and alcoholic substances since prehistoric times. With the huge role alcohol plays in traditional African religion and cultures, it is no surprise.
It is used in libation, as medication, in cooking, among others. Generally, alcohol is used mostly during rituals, marriage ceremonies and clan or family festivities in Africa.
That is not to say, however, that it is not consumed outside of these situations and settings. In fact, the African continent has been identified by the alcoholic beverage industry and market researchers as a key area for alcohol market growth, despite some of the side-effects raised by the World Health Organization.
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Nowadays, consumers of alcohol gravitate more towards the imported and ‘polished’ brands available on the continent. The beers, wines, tonics and bitters seem to have taken over the alcohol market in most countries. Many entities have sprung up across the continent to tap into the market, producing what the consumers want and keeping the supply steady.
Prior to the advent of these alternative types of alcohol, there existed (and still exist) locally made, indigenous African beers, liqueurs and liquors. These were made from locally sourced materials and very natural and organic ingredients.
Due to the relative lack of patronage, the production of these historic drinks has seen a significant reduction. Fermented drinks have typically been a source of vital nutrients, from palm-wine in West and East Africa to Tej in Ethiopia.
Alcohol should be taken responsibly, and in minimum quantities at a time. With that said, here are four locally brewed African liquors that are still competing with the so-called polished and Western brands: