Kallu - local brew (Palm wine) of Kerala now tagged as ''Coconut Vodka'' is rural based thriving ndustry

Kerala Kallu (Palm wine) shopoddyshop.in

If you step into the rural area of Kerala state you can not miss the name board Kallu shop  (''Shappe'') close to the narrow path leading  to the   humble looking  shanty. It may look jerry-built or rundown place set in an isolated  serene rural backdrop that will add  zest to the tipplers.   Way back a few decades ago, Kallu shops were dens of hooliganism, revelry, verbal brawls and uncontrollable conservation, centering around local politics.  Now, the Kallu shops  offer a friendly atmosphere, serving traditional snacks or light food  like kappa (mashed tapioca) and spicy fish curries, etc., besides  Kallu, to enthrall the patrons. The shops are entirely manned by men and it is male-centric. 

Kallu ''Shappe'' in Kerala  lh3.googleusercontent.com

Commonly called Kallu (alcoholic content is about 8 %) does not carry any social taboo associated with alcoholism as in the pre and post independence period but the traditional brew lost its place in the society because of the advent of cheap liquor on the market and safety regulations in its production and toddy tapping. It is now a popular alcoholic beverage  under  new government regulation carefully extracted from the sap of coconut or palm flowers. The alcoholic content is reduced to less than three percent to attract more customer.  Its production is legal but with safety government regulation.  Kallu shop also sells non-alcoholic beverages like Neera, non-fermented sap  (called Neera or Pathaneer in Tamil Nadu) Pathaneer,  similar to fruit juice rich in potassium, it is good for health but its shelf life is short and has to be consumed within a specified time. However, it can be refrigerated and  stored for consumption.

Kerala Kallu shop, oddyshop.in

/Local palm wine Kallu, Kerala. realbharat.org

Way back decades ago in neighboring Tamil Nadu  state where it used to be popular but now its production is banned and punishable under law. To prevent spurious liquor or hooch production the ban was enforced in the past in TN state.  In spurious liquor or hooch ethanol content is sourced from battery acid and methyl alcohol, a chemical solvent used as furniture polish by the vendors.. Methyl alcohol  present in small quantities in industry-grade ethyl alcohol causes severe health problems. Occasional hooch tragedy does occur in TN due to spurious liquor containing Methyl alcohol. . 

Kallu shop and food items, Kerala. experiencekerala.in

Drink quote. quotetab.com

 Nestled in the lush green picturesque idyllic pockets of the rural areas  countryside of God's own country there lie countless shanties that  serve as haven for the lower middle class people  who love a getaway from the routine, mechanical life. The landscape  with  back water lined all along with groves of  swaying palm trees, etc has added extra allure. 

They are  more or less like rural drinking pub, serving as an outlet for the local folks to burb up their  frustration and  disappointments in life.  Intertwined with Kerala's vibrant rural society, they,  in the shadows of coconut or palmyra trees far away from  the urban mess,  provide the people an ideal vibe  to relax without getting too high under drunken stupor.  Hence in Kerala state  Kallu carries a new name  tag the modern Coconut Vodka, a sort of social lubricant.


The Production of  toddy, delivery and sale  offers ural employment to innumerable people. Toddy is tapped by traditionally  trained people called  “Ettukayas” mostly belonging to  who form 40% of Kerala's population.  Tapping families called “maniyans'', know the various aspects of tapping -  from climbing trees, tapping and collecting the sap, fermenting it, etc., through generations of experience passed on to them by their elders  and the toddy business depends on their skill and cooperation. It is a government recognized agricultural based industry employing more thna 40000 to 50000 people. 

The government  has a plan to introduce liberal policy regarding the production of toddy. Many people in the state  are of the view that  bottled kallu should be allowed to serve in many places in licensed restaurants, hotels, etc., so that the wrong impression that ''Kallu is inferior to beer or any other  foreign drink will  slowly disappear among the people. It is a natural, native low alcoholic brew with no harmful chemicals in it''.