Accepted paper:

From traditional brews to commercial lagers: an ethnographic study of alcohol consumption in Ethiopia


Christina Tekie (Duke University )

Paper short abstract:

The social and cultural meanings associated with the consumption of various commercial beer brands versus traditional brews in Ethiopia

Paper long abstract:

This paper examines the growing consumption of commercial beer products in place of traditional brews like tella in Ethiopia. Nearly twenty years ago, the Ethiopian government sold-off the first of its four state-owned beer companies. Today, the industry is fully privatized resulting in the proliferation of several varieties of mass-produced lagers into the marketplace. The popularization of commercial beer in Ethiopia provides an opportunity to analyze how different beer brands take on different meanings in the public imaginary. And more broadly, how these commercial beer products have come to be materially and affectively associated with an ethos of development while indigenous brews with local culture and tradition. This investigation is part of a wider ethnographic study on beer companies operating in Ethiopia which aims to understand how the alcoholic beverage industry has transformed not only consumption practices in Ethiopia, but the social dynamics of doing business.

panel P110
Food cultures in Africa: food production, consumption, and prestige ranking in the age of development