The wrong use and abuse of beer can indeed have undesirable consequences, as the Managing Director of Nigerian Breweries, Nicolaas Vervelde said taken regularly in moderation has many defined nutritional and health benefits.
Nicolaas said this during Nigerian Beer Symposium 2016 that ‘beer can indeed be part of a healthy lifestyle.
He explained that whatever good you hear today about beer does not end with you. By all means, research further to confirm it but spread the message further especially the message of moderation and enjoying beer responsibly.
This year, the theme of the symposium is ‘Beer and Culture’. As usual, we have lined up a formidable team of eminent speakers and discussants to do justice to the theme. The subject of beer itself can be quite exciting and combine that with a discussion of its relationship with culture, then it is not very difficult to imagine how the day will go – exciting and rich, Nicolaas stated.
He further explained that, in both editions of the symposium, as in all our communication, we continue to stress the importance of moderation and responsible consumption of the beautiful product, beer.
Nicolaas also credit Nigeria culture that ‘straight away that when it comes with a linkage to the Nigerian culture, I am as eager to learn as you are today, may be even more so, but I have learnt at least one major thing’.
I am told that in some sections of Nigeria, no traditional bride price list is complete without the inclusion of beer. I am further informed that very often even the beer is specified by brand name. Out of modesty, I will not mention the brand name, but I am pretty sure you already know the brand I am talking about, he said.
Ted Mukoro who shared his ‘Beer experience’ that without any shadow of doubt, ineradicably entwined in that most glorious, most blissful, and altogether most memorable day by far the happiest of my entire life – even as life continues to be as cheerful as ever.
Mukoro further explained that ‘I must have known the taste of beer before that date, …but it was the very first time, I can recall, that I made a truly joyful and cheerfully noisy splash of a “Beer-Beer-Beer” event, secretly, eagerly awaiting that moment when, the high-pitch tempo of the festivities finally subsided, and my wife and I would be all alone.
He also recalled that my wedding in the Sacred Heart Catholic Church, Warri was, of course immediately followed by an all-day reception held in front of my new “Room-and-Parlour” apartment.
Yes, we had only a “Room–and–Parlour” apartment to start with and the canopies for the reception were erected right there in the compound. But the beer flowed! The bull-dog amplifiers boomed the deafening music so excitedly, and all my friends and colleagues including a good sprinkling of Ibadan University graduates and undergraduates lustily drank glass, after glass, after glass of ever-foaming, gloriously foaming, hot beer. Yes, the beer was hot! Hot and not chilled! Beer that was gloriously hot – on December 28, 1955! Can you imagine that? To think that only 5 years later, my young bride and I would not even touch, let alone offer to anyone – what in those heady pre-independence days was in the morbid language, anything less than MORTUARY – COLD BEER!
In spite of the unforgettably hilarious festivity at my wedding, the misbehaviour of two drunken lads, something inevitable at all such urban social occasions, almost spoilt the day. Luckily, it was already after dark and far too late to cause a major stir when the lads went into a scuffle. Predictably, they had surreptitiously served themselves a great quantity of mixed alcohol. Of course, drunkenness was a disease so well-known, it was seen as having attained epidemic proportions by many, and was associated with akpeteshi, kain-kain, or illicit-gin sold in obscure out-of-the-way corners and mostly drunk in desperation by the illiterate poor of middle-age and above often left dying on the streets.
There also was my experience on the day after my wedding, a Sunday when my new bride and I on our way home after attending Mass called to say “Thank you” to an elderly couple who had graced our wedding. One minor incident there demonstrated the ABUSE or rather MIS-USE of beer.
We had settled down in the vast living room of the elderly couple and two bottles of beer had just been brought in by the house-maid; then my wife and I reacted saying “Beer this morning? No, no, no!” when the elderly couple our hosts felt truly aghast, and expressed their utter dismay and embarrassment.
It doesn’t really matter how much less alcoholic or how much safer and healthier BEER is: BEER is not breakfast, not something to be taken instead of breakfast.
Long before I tasted alcohol in 1938 living in the highly-sophisticated pidgin-speaking, cosmopolitan towns of WARRI and SAPELE, which were regularly visited all-year round by ocean-going cargo vessels, life was visibly high-tempo; clusters of TOMBO BARS were to be found in every part of town where Palm-wine, Pito and Brukutu were consumed liberally. There was a lot of market merry-making with juju and guitar-strumming combos charging the air with festivity.
In those days, rampant public display of DRUNKENNESS caused by drinking illicit gin was considered so shameful and disgraceful to the community. Even a ten-year-old could tell the glaring difference between the effects of beer-drinking and the public horrors of alcoholism.