But the beer industry uses only 0.25% of Sri Lanka’s rice production and this was in practice for almost 40 years.
Rice – a local product – is used as an alternate to malt which is imported. By substituting a local product for an imported product, we are helping local producers. It also helps save foreign currency for the country, beer industry sources said.
However, during times of drought, manufacturers try to import rice rather than using local rice, leaving the local rice for consumers.
Thus, during April to September 2017, 51% of beer manufacturer’s requirement was imported. This will increase to 90% from Dec 2017.
Manufacturers buy 100% of local rice from private sources at a price of Rs80 per Kilogram but not at price of Rs.100 from private traders and not from government institutions, they added.
All major global brewers use rice in addition to malt just as in Sri Lanka. Some global brewers use other materials as well (eg. maize & sorghum). Only one country legislates ‘malt only’ and that is Germany. It’s a very old German law & today is used more as a trade barrier than anything else, beer manufacturers said.