Accepted Paper:

has pdf download Alcohol consumption among the "new middle class" in India  


Chihiro Koiso

Paper short abstract:

Alcohol consumption is strictly prohibited in traditional Hindu culture. Recently, however, wine consumption has become a conspicuous trend among the urban "new middle class" Hindus. What are the main factors behind this change, and how do people accept it?

Paper long abstract:

In orthodox Hindu culture alcohol is strongly condemned. In the most authoritative book of the Hindu code, Manu-smriti (Laws of Manu), alcohol consumption is strictly prohibited as one of the five great sins. However, with the adoption of an open economic policy by the Indian government in the 1990s and the emergence of the "new middle class", people's attitudes towards alcohol have been changing.

Although the concept of "new middle class" is not a fixed one, it can be characterized by a rapid increase of income and new consumption behavior. Middle class people are presumed to be more than 300 million, and alcohol consumption is getting ever more popular among them during the last 10 years. Compared to other alcohol, wine is perceived quite positively as a fashionable and healthy drink.

The region of Nasik (West India) gives good yields of grapes. In the beginning of the 2000s, the local government launched various support programs for the newly established wineries, which are now more than 40. They produce a good quality wine, some of which is meant for export. Domestic consumption is also rapidly increasing. Some of them are open to visitors, who can enjoy various wine tasting tours. People who visit these wineries belong to the urban "new middle class", and for them drinking wine is no more a taboo, but a symbol of advanced life.

In this presentation, I will try to analyze the factors that have led to this change among the urban Hindus.

Panel P086
Food culture and food business