Bolivian brewery develops coca beer

A brewery in Bolivia has developed an innovative solution to the problem of altitude sickness – coca beer, which is brewed using the same leaves from which cocaine is derived.

Chama beerWith many of Bolivia’s main cities, including Sucre and La Paz, situated at high altitude visitors can often suffer the sickness, known locally as “soroche“.

Many people living along the Andes mountains have chewed on coca plant leaves to deal with the altitude and visitors to cities such as La Paz, which is located 3,600 metres above sea level, often rest and drink coca tea to deal with soroche.

But Cerveceria Vicos, a brewery based in the city of Sucre, has developed a coca beer called Ch’ama, which is made from malt, yeast, hops and soaked coca leaves, with no additives or preservatives.

Cerveceria Vicos owner and manager Victor Escobar, who claims the beverage is an “energising” tonic, told AFP: “This is a highly fermented white beer with 5% abv — unfiltered, unpasteurized — and has the moderate aroma, colour and flavour of coca leaf and hops.”

To produce the beer the brewery soaks the coca leaves in water before adding malted barley and hops, this mixture is then fermented for 20 days before being bottled.

According to AFP, Cerveceria Vicos produces 1,000 litres of coca beer a day and retails for up to $3.60 per bottle. The beer is sold in Bolivia and in towns just across the borders with Peru and Chile.

The symptoms of altitude sickness generally start when people travel to above 2,400 metres and include headache, fatigue, stomach illness, dizziness and sleep disruption, exercise can make the symptoms worse.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Please note that comments are subject to our posting guidelines in accordance with the Defamation Act 2013. Posts containing swear words, discrimination, offensive language and libellous or defamatory comments will not be approved.

Subscribe to our newsletters

Sales Executive (London – Craft Spirits)

Bimber Distillery
London, UK

International Sales Manager

Crush Wines Ltd
Home based/Wiltshire office, UK

Head of Marketing

Amathus Drinks Plc
London, UK

Sales Representative - Private Customers

Corney and Barrow
Central Hong Kong, HK

Export Manager UK On Trade

AdVini
Home based in London or the South East, GB

Global Head of Marketing

ATOM Brands
Tunbridge Wells, GB

Sales Executive

Three Wine Men
Home-based but must be available to travel throughout the UK with frequent trips to London, GB

Senior Sales Operations Executive

Enotria&Coe
Park Royal, London, GB

Sales Administrator

Les Caves de Pyrène
Guildford, UK

On Trade & Corporate Accounts Manager

The Champagne Company
Birmingham, UK

Pink Rosé Festival

Cannes,France
7th Feb 2018

VinoVision Paris

Paris,France
12th Feb 2018

Vinisud

Montpellier,France
18th Feb 2018
Click to view more

The Global Pinot Noir Masters 2018

Deadline : 31st January 2018

The Global Organic Masters 2018

Deadline : 12th February 2018

Click to view more

The Global Malbec Masters 2017

the drinks business is proud to announce the inaugural Global Malbec Masters 2017

The Global Sparkling Masters 2017

the drinks business is thrilled to announce the launch of The Global Sparkling Masters.

Click to view more