Shimla: Seeking to ramp up revenues in the financially deficient hill state, chief minister Jairam Thakur asked state officials to explore the possibilities for commercial production and patenting of Anguri (Cognac) and Chuli beverage, a speciality of tribal region of Kinnaur.
The chief minister was presiding over a meeting of tax officials and those involved alcohol beverage trade at Vipasha Sadan, Mandi where he made the suggestion after asking them to look for avenues to increase tax collections.
Having laid out a target to realise Rs 1625 crore excise taxes for the year, the state excise department have already collected Rs 1800 crores and there are still has more than 3 months to go before the financial year closes.
“The governments main thrust is to increase revenue through excise tax collection,” said Jairam Thakur. He stressed on exploring the scope of using fruits in all wines which have potential to transform the economy for fruit growers and horticulturalists.
Mr Sanjay Kundu, principal secretary to the chief minister who is incharge of state excise and taxation said that the government would lay emphasis on production of wines from fruits grown in the hill state as it would not only help strengthening the economy of the farmers, but would also provide quality wine to the consumers.
Others present at the meeting included Irrigation and Public Health Minister Mahender Singh Thakur, Member of Parliament Ram Swaroop Sharma, MLAs Rakesh Jamwal, Vinod Kumar, Jawahar Thakur, Col. Inder Singh, Inder Singh Gandhi and Prakash Rana, Commissioner Excise and Taxation Ajay Sharma, Deputy Commissioner Rugved Thakur among others.
Kinnaur is best known for a potent distilled called Angoori which uses grapes as the base material. Grapes are pressed and let to ferment in wood casks. The wine called SHUTUNG varies form a sweet port to a fairly dry red wine. The fermented juice is extracted as Shutung. It has a good alcoholic percentage.
The fermentation takes place for at least 3-4 months and then it is distilled as colourless Angoori. Distilled liquor is divided in to two parts 1. Moori 2. Rashi
Moori has a high percentage of alcohol, which needs to be diluted when served for drinking. It possesses a unique quality of Grappa (a brandy distilled from the fermented residue of grape after they have been pressed in winemaking) and smoothness of good cognac.
Kinnaur natives use Angoori in many different ways:
- It is used as offering to local deities.
- It is used as a remedy for clearing out clogged sinuses during cold season by inhaling the vapours after taking off the bottle cap.
- It is used as a medicine against cold when a dose of 30-40 ml undiluted Angoori is taken before sleep. Well seasoned Angoori, always get better results.
- It is also used for cold by mixing with honey and freshly coarsely grounded black pepper.
- Mixing local wild black cumin (Macco Zeera), finely grounded with Bemi oil (wild fruit ) and aged Angoori is a very good medicine for joint pains.
- For children down with a cold, Angoori is rubbed on their chest and nose to clear out related congestions.
- Angoori fermented for a month with ripe wild Kinnauri barriers (choso or roshoch) make for a tasty after-dinner drink.