“The Nigerian beer parlour is an example of such an institution where you could find a lawyer having a beer next to a plumber or a doctor having a beer next to a tailor.
“You could also find a professor having a beer next to a banker. In such circumstances, people can offer all sorts of support and even professional advice at no cost. It is possible to explore such settings for other benefits including security and commerce, for example in thecreation of cooperatives societies,” said former Vice Chancellor of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Professor Bartholomew Okolo in his paper on the Social and Cultural Roles of Beer in Society, at the 3rd Nigerian Beer Symposium in Lagos on Thursday.
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The Professor of Applied Microbiology, and other scholars and culture experts, including former Rivers State Governor, Donald Duke, hailed the role beer plays in breaking down barriers among people from all walks of life at the symposium.
He explained that in most societies during occasions such as weddings, naming and burial ceremonies, beer is usually present, even in everyday activities.
Professor Okolo said studies have shown that beer drinking venues is the most important venues for promoting interactions and friendships between people from diverse backgrounds.
“In the present day African tradition, beer is a regular feature on the list of items that must be presented at various stages of the marriage process. It must also be present during such other ceremonies as funeral rites, coronations, peace missions, special invitations, among others,” he explained.
Ex-governor Duke, who chaired the occasion, noted that research shows that beer contains xanthohumol that inhibit cancer-causing enzymes.
“I have always wondered about the French. You see, their diet consist of rich, highly fatty foods, wine and those cigarettes. Yet, their rate of heart disease is significantly less than the rest of the world. This has been credited to red wine and the antioxidants it contains, which helps prevent heart attacks. Interestingly, beer has just as many antioxidants as red wine,” he stated.
Duke said further: “If you find yourself someplace where you are advised not to drink the local water, the local beer is always a safer bet. It is a lot safer than the local bottled water. So just follow the rules of beer drinking and you will be fine.
“Beer is a drink that has become part of our culture. It has become a near impossible feat today for us as a people to have one form of celebration or the other devoid of beer
“The ceremony will not be approved as successful if the variety of foods provided is not complemented with beer,” he said.
In his own remark, the MD, Nigerian Breweries Plc, Mr. Nicolaas Vervelde declared that the objective of the Nigerian Beer Symposium was to highlight and share contemporary knowledge on the wonderful product called beer
Also speaking at the occasion, advertising expert, Ted Mukoro, maintained that beer is certainly the least alcoholic of all alcoholic drinks, and also the healthiest and most nutritious.
According to him, like all enjoyable and exciting things made by nature– alcohol, sex, sports, dancing – beer can be irresponsibly abused or over-used. “Nothing enjoyable is bad until put to the wrong use,” he said.