Is Goa going cashew nuts over trademarks? Yes, it is, if the latest hit by the All Goa Feni Bottlers and Distillers Association is anything to go by. The association that represents about 4,000-odd small scale industrial units engaged in cultivating cashew and brewing Goa’s signature drink has applied for patenting feni as an India-made Goan liquor — and not clubbed under the generic ‘country liquor’. If Champagne and Bourdeaux aren’t examples of country daru, why should Feni? And just in case you thought Geographical Indication tags only come with French super-plonk, why, even our Darjeeling and Basmati have made the grade.
Feni brewers run a multi-million rupee industry and their application is primarily been driven by fears of a ‘foreign’ entity patenting the cashew-derivative liquor. That would mean them being left just holding the bottle.
Perhaps it’s feni’s rather indigenous odour that makes it difficult for the Goans to be taken seriously in the world of branding. Considering that the drink can be used in cocktails, there is more reason that we support the cause of patenting feni ourselves. Who knew that Kahlúa, the Mexican coffee flavoured liqueur, would one day become the ingredient of the triumphant cocktail, Rusty Nail? But if you think that Mexicans get a peso out of it, think again. Goans, beware.