Some interesting statements from the Jamaican Agriculture Minister at the end of last week:
...Roger Clarke on Thursday said a window of opportunity seems to be opening up for cassava farmers. While unwilling to disclose the issue of price, Clarke said Diageo, the parent company for Red Stripe, appears to be in a position to “take a substantial amount of cassava in their beer manufacturing”... In January, Clarke said in Parliament that Diageo had offered to pay $1 per pound for cassava. “They came to the fore indicating that they wanted cassava to replace the hops in their beer. I did not go to the farmers until I got from them what is the indicative price that they would pay. When they came, finally they said to me they would pay $1 per pound,” Clarke said.
Diageo's global competitor SABMiller has started a cassava brewing program in Ghana following up on another similar one they've been brewing in Mozambique for a year and a half. Likely more to convert the starchy tuberous root into fermentables rather than, as the Jamaican government suggests, as a bittering agent to replace hops. Likely just a misstatement.
In northeastern South America, over a bit to the west, there's a traditional fermented cassava beverage called Kasiri. There are variations elsewhere on the continent as well. But these appear to not be beers so much as simpler, single ingredient fermentations. Neither the BAers or RBers have a review of the beer from Mozambique as far as I can tell but they appear to be... how should one put it... emulations of beer, like Japanese third-category beer, designed to take advantage of lower cost ingredients and lower taxation. News stories offer social good through increased revenue for farmers as other reasons for the initiative.
But is it beer? How much can you remove from beer and still leave enough that it is, you know, beer? Any taste testers out there with reviewing notes to calm the furrowed brow? Google Analytics informs me that there have been a whole 5 visits from Mozambique over the last two years. All from the city of Maputo, too. If these internets stand for anything surely they stand for feedback from that guy.