AMARAVATI -- For Andhra Pradesh Excise Minister K S Jawahar, beer is a health drink and he is ready to prove it, a remark that would please guzzlers no end.
Amid protests by women over the state's new liquor policy, he purportedly told a TV news channel that the government would promote beer as a healthy drink.
"Who said beer is not a health drink? I am ready to prove it's a health drink," he told the channel late Monday night. A video clip of his remarks has gone viral on social media.
The minister was not available for comment or clarifications.
The new excise policy came into effect on July 1. The state cabinet also decided to de-notify portions of highways passing through cities as urban or major district roads, removing them from the ambit of the Supreme Court guidelines. The state government also plans to set up round the clock 'beer parlors' attracting foreigners to tourism spots in the state.
"We took the decision to re-designate highways passing through cities after studying the policies of Odisha, West Bengal, Karnataka, Telangana, and Rajasthan," the minister said.
The minister reportedly sent a WhatsApp message to the channel on Tuesday morning listing the "health benefits" of beer.
"The health benefits of beer include anti-cancer properties, a reduced risk of cardiovascular diseases, increased bone density, prevention of dementia and coronary disease," said the message titled "13 amazing benefits of beer".
"It also aids the digestive system, treats diabetes and has anti-ageing properties," the note said.
Excise department officials, however, pleaded ignorance about the move to promote beer as a health drink. "If it's a health drink, why do we need special license for brewing? It could even be sold in any general store," a senior excise official remarked.
Also on HuffPost India: