Craft Beer & Terracotta Coolant

This week's newsletter will take you to Odisha's tribal group Kutia Kondh and how they brew their beer and give you a peek into growing wheat that sells at Rs70 per kg. Plus, an embroidered handkerchief that travelled from Chamba to Scotland in the 1890s

Rashmi Pratap
Updated On
New Update
ready katul

Craft beer & terracotta coolant

Dear Reader,

Craft beer is all the rage today. Produced in small batches, these beers are available in ever-new flavours as brewers keep experimenting with new brewing techniques and inputs. But long before microbreweries became trendy, our indigenous people made their own beers using locally-available ingredients.

One of them is Katul, the craft beer of Odisha’s particularly vulnerable tribal group Kutia Kondh. With a population of just over 8,000 people, this tribe played an important role in the conservation of little millet in Odisha at a time when Green Revolution left only rice and wheat as cereals on the plates.

Kutia Kondh people use the little millet to make Katul beer, which also has ritualistic significance. The making of Katul is a long process requiring patience and precision. My colleague Abhijit went to the Tidipadar village in Odisha’s Kandhamal district and captured the making of Katul in detail in his very interesting photo story. Do look it up.

My colleague Riya spoke to Delhi-based architect Monish Siripurapu, who is using terracotta to keep buildings cool naturally, bringing down the bills of air conditioning by over 30 percent. Monish’s startup, CoolAnt, envelops buildings with trendy terracotta shields, which act as a second skin of the building. They protect the structure from heat and enhance cooling by lowering the temperature. CoolAnt uses evaporative cooling, the method used by kings to keep palaces and forts cool when there were no air conditioners or coolers.

Terracotta is eco-friendly, unlike plastic, and is locally available in most places, making it an easy choice of material for cooling buildings. CoolAnt’s initiative is supported by the United Nations Environment Programme and Japan’s Ministry of Environment. It just goes on to show that eco-friendly and sustainable technology can reach any corner of the world.

Last week, I wrote about Sankalp Sharma and his Narmada Natural Farms in Vidisha, Madhya Pradesh, where he grows wheat that sells for Rs70 per kg. Sankalp is an engineer and MBA but the corporate world did not interest him despite rapid career growth, he told me.

So after quitting Axis Bank in 2015, he began farming at his family’s ancestral land and switched to natural farming after attending a training session with agriculturist Subhash Palekar.

After some failures and a lot of hard work, Sankalp is a role model for thousands of farmers across India, who are learning natural farming from him. He has over 78,000 YouTube subscribers and his webinars are sold out within hours. People want to learn how the engineer-MBA farmer earns Rs100 per kg for his Khapli wheat. If you are a farming enthusiast, don’t miss this one.

Last November, we wrote about Lalit Vakil, the artisan who revived Himachal Pradesh’s Chamba Rumal embroidery and received the Padma Shri for her work. One of our readers from Scotland, 76-year-old James T. McGregor McNie, read that story and wrote to us, saying that the queen of Chamba had gifted a Chamba Rumal to his grandmother in 1898. So our Sunday story traces the journey of that 125-year-old Chamba Rumal from Himachal to Scotland. Do read it.

In the Money section, Karan has listed five points to keep in mind while taking a home loan. After all, a well-researched and planned home loan can save you lakhs of rupees and ease the entire process of acquiring and owning the property.

Happy Reading!




Katul: The craft beer of Odisha’s Kutia Kondh tribe


Monish Siripurapu: The architect using terracotta to cut down AC bills by 30%


How this engineer-MBA farmer earns Rs70 per kg for wheat grown through natural farming