Alarm as illicit brew made from animal feed, now sold in bars

Tigania County Commissioner

From left: Tigania East deputy County Commissioner Patrick Kimolo, other security agents and administrators follow the proceedings during a past security meeting at Gambela Chief's Camp. 

Photo credit: Charles WAnyoro I Nation Media Group

Security agencies in Mt Kenya east counties are alarmed by the emergence of a new illicit brew that is being sold in licensed bars across the region.

The sorghum flour used to brew the liquor is packaged and passed as animal feed; and the product now being sold in bars.

The unga is purchased from retail shops in the guise of being animal feed at Sh1,500 per 50 kilogramme bag .

Tigania West assistant county commissioner Mr Patrick Kimolo confirmed that the brew was being sold in some bars, adding that they had launched a crackdown on the liquor.

“The challenge is that the unga being used is not authorised by relevant agencies including the Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS),” he said.

The brew is being sold in Meru, Isiolo, Tharaka Nithi and Embu counties with security agencies worried about the trend since it is prepared under unhygienic conditions in a region that has seen an outbreak of cholera.

In Meru County, some of the areas it is being sold are Nkubu in Imenti South, Tigania East and Igembe North, according to national government administration officers.

A visit to one of the bars revealed that preparation involves adding of yeast to fasten fermentation with the 50 kilo bag making 100 litres of the brew which retails at Sh20 for a cup of 300 milliliters.

“We like it because it is cheap and tastes just like some traditional brews,” said a patron at one of the bars at Muriri, Tigania East. 

Investigations have also revealed that those marketing the flour evade taxes and are using fake Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) stamps.

Last week, police raided a bar at Ntharene market in Imenti South and impounded some brewing equipment which were returned after the dealer produced licenses for his business premises.