One of the wonderful things about the English language is the variety of ways it is used. At the risk of being patronizing and colonial - though can one of one ex-colony actually be colonial in relation to another ex-colony's post colonial path in life? - I offer you these opening sentences in a tale of prosecution from southern India:
The Kerala High Court favours mild beer while the government wants toddy (palm brew). Caught between them is Excise Minister K A Babu, who cut a sorry figure while facing the court’s music on Thursday. While disposing of an abkari case regarding cancellation of licence of a toddy shop which had sold adulterated brew leading to death of a few people, the bench comprising C N Ramachandran Nair and R K Ray last week sought the opinion of the State government on banning toddy and replacing it with mild beer.
In this context, what is mild beer and what is toddy? The tale from Thiruvananthapuram is about the shortages in toddy as there are not enough tappers... which I take it to be the folk who tap the palm to draw off sugary sap to ferment and make the drink. Tappers control politics, provide the traditional drink that ensures better health and are a backbone of the economy. But not beer drinkers. What is mild beer? Just a beer weaker than toddy? SAB Miller India makes a mild beer but it's a lager... and a premium one at that. "Mild beer" is a category recognized by the Economic Times.
Is it just what we in this ex-colonial culture might call macro industrial beer, mild in contrast to toddy, highly popular whiskies as well as heftier brews? That is it. Apparently it is a beer that is "never too hard on you" as "one is always lingering somewhere on the threshold of getting drunk" - as beautiful and brutal bit of beery PR as ever I read.