Kill Me Quick Moonshine

Brewing Changaa
Think bathtub gin is a thing of the past? Kuzimu, hakuna! (That’s “Hell, no!” in Swahili.)

In the Kibera slum in Nairobi, Kenya, nefarious crime groups trade in illicit liquor, with the occasional result that people go blind and die. Just last week, the Kenyan Alcoholic Beverages Association called for swift government action after 17 people died from illegal liquor, and scores more were blinded.

According to a May (subscription-only) article in the Economist via the Brookston Beer Bulletin, bootleggers in Kenya account for 60% of the trade in alcoholic beverages in the country, because beer is so heavily taxed it is only available to the super-rich. Nairobi’s most popular moonshine, Changaa or Chang’aa (which translates as “Kill Me Quick”) or Kumi Kumi (“ten-ten,” for its ten-shilling price), run the U.S. equivalent of 15 cents to a quarter per drink in a country where the per capita nominal GDP is $911.95, or about $2.50 per day; a beer in Nairobi runs about $1 to $1.25. (A GDP-equivalent price would have a beer costing $62.50 in the U.S.).

Read the rest of this post on Techyum.


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