Bolivian brewery develops coca beer

15th May, 2013 by Andy Young

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Your email address will not be published.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 *

Subscribe to our newsletters

Job vacancies

Senior National Account Manager

Bibendum PLB
London, UK

ON-TRADE Sales Executive

Roberson Wine
London, UK

OFF-TRADE Sales Executive

Roberson Wine
London, UK

Judging Week Runners

Decanter World Wine Awards
ExCel Centre, London E16, UK

Sales Administrator

Les Caves de Pyrène
Guildford, UK

Retail Commercial Executive

Laithwaite's Wine
Theale, Berkshire

Wine Buyer

Conviviality Plc
Crewe, UK

Sales Account Manager - On-Trade

Berkmann Wine Cellars
Liverpool

Sales Account Manager - On-Trade

Berkmann Wine Cellars
M3/M4 corridor

Media Sales Manager - Hong Kong

The Drinks Business Hong Kong
Hong Kong

Regional Account Manager

New Generation McKinley
London, UK

Experienced Sales Account Manager – On Trade

Cantina Goccia
London and the south, UK

National Sales Manager – Premium Drinks

Core Recruitment
London based with national travel

The Global Merlot Masters 2017

Deadline : 24th February 2017

The Prosecco Masters 2017

Deadline : 10th March 2017

db Awards 2017

Deadline : 28th April 2017

The Global Organic Masters 2017

Deadline : 3rd March 2017

Click to view more

The Global Sparkling Masters

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

The Global Rosé Masters 2016

the drinks business is proud to announce the launch of the Global Rosé Masters 2016.

The Prosecco Masters 2016

Now in its third year, the competition will reflect the growth in popularity of this fresh and exciting sparkling wine from the picturesque regions of Veneto and Friuli.

The Global Pinot Noir Masters 2016

After the success of last year’s competition that judged over 250 wines from no less than 16 countries, the drinks business is proud to announce the third year of the Global Pinot Noir Masters

Click to view more