Waragi

Waragi

Waragi (pronounced [waragi] or [waradʒi]) (also known as enguli) is a generic term in Uganda for domestic distilled beverages. Waragi is also given different names, depending on region of origin and/or the distillation process. A commercial brand called Uganda Waragi is produced and marketed by East African Breweries Limited.

Moonshining and consumption of waragi and other alcoholic beverages is widespread in Uganda. In the 2004 WHO Global Status Report on Alcohol, Uganda ranked as the leading consumer of alcohol (per capita), closely followed by Luxembourg and the Czech Republic.

History

Waragi derives its name from "war gin", as the British colonial expatriates in the 1950s and 1960s referred to the distilled spirit known in Luganda language as enguli. The pronunciation with the hard [g] sound is more common; those who are aware of the English origins of the word often favor the "j" sound of [waradʒi]. In 1965, "The Enguli Act" decreed that distillation would only be possible under licence, and that distillers should sell their product to the government run Uganda Distilleries Ltd – which produced a branded bottled product, marketed under the name Uganda Waragi (today wholly produced by East African Breweries Limited). "The Enguli Act" was never successfully enforced, as unlicensed production of waragi persisted.

Variants

The base of waragi distillate can be made from either cassava, bananas, millet or sugar cane, depending on the crops grown in the region. The most popular (besides the branded Uganda Waragi) are Lira Lira and Kasese. Lira Lira is made mainly from cassava flour and cane sugar, and is named after the town of Lira. Kasese, named after the town of Kasese, is a potent banana gin. Waragi may also be known as "regular" or "crude".

Common in Uganda, besides waragi, are home-made beers and other brews such as tonto, mwenge, muramba, ajon (aka marwa), kweete (or kwette) and Musooli.

Sources

External links

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