When the Russia-Ukraine war broke out in 2022, little did Chandramohan Nallur know that it would lead to the creation of a ‘Malayali’ beer in Poland. Nallur, a native of Palakkad, Kerala, had five containers of Indian rice flakes imported from Uttar Pradesh to make cereals. The exchange rate had fluctuated, and his African friend decided not to pick up the containers.
Nallur was left with 20,000 kg (44,092 lb) of rice flakes. With more rice flakes than he knew what to do with, Nallur was in a real pickle. With no storage facilities, Nallur considered converting the rice flakes into pet food but realized he’d be barking up the wrong tree. It was only after reading about Komban beer that he had an epiphany. Brewing beer was the answer!
Nallur and his designer friend, Sargheve Sukumaran, then decided to brew beer from the stock of rice flakes. Sukumaran designed the label around the headgear worn by artists who perform Kathakali – a traditional dance form from Kerala – and combined it with aviator sunglasses and the moustache of acting legend Mohanlal, reflecting their cultural identity. It was a stroke of genius!
Nallur and Sukumaran decided to name the beer ‘Malayali’ – a perfect name since it pays homage to their mother tongue and helps build bridges between Palakkad and Poland. After several failures, the duo finally created a beer that combines Indian rice flakes with Polish hops, creating an Indo-Polish connection.
After a few trials and tribulations, they finally hit the jackpot with their brew, which combined Indian rice flakes and Polish hops. This beer was so good that a Polish restaurant wanted to get their hands on it. And believe me; people couldn’t stop raving about how smooth it was – it’s no surprise that even the largest South Asian products distributor in eastern Europe, Little India Group, wanted to sell it in five EU countries from the start of the year 2023.
Malayali Spirits has developed a contract with the distributor for Indian and Asian grocery stores to supply 2,400 litres (5,074 pints) of beer every two months. The company has sold over 50,000 bottles of beer since June 2022 and is boosting production in the coming months.
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Nallur said the company is analyzing the market and waiting for the summer season, as that is the perfect time to have chilled beer. They know that nothing beats a chilled beer in the summer – except maybe a chilled beer with a side of nachos. It’s just the initial stage; they will see how the product goes in a few months. So they’re waiting patiently, like a camel in the desert waiting for a raindrop, to see how the product does in the wild. After all, it’s a beer-eat-beer world out there.
The story of Nallur and Sukumaran’s journey to create ‘Malayali’ beer is inspiring. They turned a pile of rice flakes into a tasty brew representing their love for their homeland and people. It’s like the ultimate fusion dish but in beer form. We can’t wait to see how Malayali beer will do in the market, but we’re rooting for them. Here’s hoping that they’ll soon be drowning in success like a pretzel in a mug of frothy beer!
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