Nigerians turn to traditional brew as economy staggers - International | NTV

Nigerians turn to traditional brew as economy staggers

Tuesday January 28, 2020



Government worker Iorliam Shija sits in one of the ramshackle bars along the banks of the Benue river in central Nigeria sipping from a gourd filled with frothy burukutu.

The vinegary alcoholic beverage has been made here for generations from the fermented grains of sorghum and millet and consumed as a traditional alternative to beer.

Now, as Nigeria's economy struggles to grow, the local brew is enjoying a boom from clients looking for a cheaper option.

"If you have beer or burukutu, I will go with burukutu," Shija told AFP.

"It is natural and it is what our people are used to drinking."

Even though it is still early, the makeshift joints are already filled with drinkers young and old, male and female.

Women ladle the brownish liquid -- which typically varies in strength from around four to 10 percent alcohol -- out of large clay pots into dried calabashes for customers to drink alone or in a group.

Typically burukutu which has its roots with the Jukun people of central and north Nigeria -- is consumed by all stratas of society and serves as an important focal point for social gatherings.

But those partaking say that as Nigeria's economy limps along more people in this rural area are turning to it instead of the more expensive mass-produced beers.