Home-made liquor claims dozens of lives in Vietnam each year
VietNamNet Bridge – Vietnamese drink 640 million litres of home brew each year, and the practice is spreading, the Viet Nam Association for Anti-Counterfeiting and Trademark Protection, VATAP, has reported.
Illustrative image -- File photo
However, most home distilleries have no licences or health-control checks, leading to brews that kill dozens of people each year and hospitalise hundreds of others.
About 800 million litres of alcohol is consumed in Viet Nam every year. Of that, 20 per cent is made under industrially approved conditions, while the rest is made and sold from home without any approvals.
For instance, there are 250 home-brew distilleries selling alcohol in Vinh Tuong District in the northern province of Vinh Phuc. Another 750 people market the product.
The district provides more than 500 litres of home brew for the domestic market every day.
No home breweries or places that sell home brew in Vinh Tuong have any Government licences. Most said they had no idea they were necessary, according to an investigation by Lao Dong (Labour) newspaper.
Licences for home distilleries can only be granted to hygienically run businesses, according to the Government's Decree 94.
Most home distilleries in Vinh Tuong are run by families who own small-scale businesses and do seasonal work.
None have decided to invest the VND10 million to VND 20 million (US$1,000) needed to install equipment that meets hygiene standards, Lao Dong reported.
Drinking home brews can have bad consequences. Ha Noi-based Bach Mai Hospital's Poison Control Centre receives hundreds of urgent alcohol poisoning cases each year.
Doctor Nguyen Kim Son, the centre's deputy director said most poisonings involved the consumption of home-made alcohol and alcohol soaked in wildlife or wild fruit and herbs.
On June 16, Ha Noi's Market Management Department seized 23 unlicensed cans of fruit alcohol containing 20 litres each at a shop in Thanh Xuan District's Nguyen Tuan Street.
All of it was later destroyed and the shop owner ordered to pay a VND22 million fine.
The shop owner said the liquor had been produced at a wine-making household in Hung Yen's Nghia Dan Commune.
And in the central province of Ha Tinh, investigating police have forced a household in Thach Dien Commune in Thach Ha District to stop production when it admitted it had no licences for distilling or selling. The distiller produced 50-60 litres of liquor a day.
The newspaper said that the practice of selling unlicensed home brews at cheap-prices in restaurants had become more popular in recent years.