Journal of
Brewing and Distilling

  • Abbreviation: J. Brew. Distilling
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2141-2197
  • DOI: 10.5897/JBD
  • Start Year: 2010
  • Published Articles: 31

Short Communication

Paraquat used as a catalyst to increase the percentage of alcohol distillated in illicit brewing industry of Sri Lanka

R. Shavindra Dias
Department of Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine, University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka. 
Email: [email protected]

  •  Accepted: 29 March 2010
  •  Published: 30 June 2010



Illicit brew contaminated with Paraquat, bipridyl non -selective contact herbicide,resulting in an epidemic of paraquat poisoning was investigated in Sri Lanka. It was found that the brewers use to hang the paraquat bottle with the lid pierced over the distilling cocktail. Brewers believe that condensed particles act as a catalyst, increasing the concentration and quality of the distillate. Clinical data, biochemical and histopathological data were used to confirm the poison. In-depth interviews and group discussions were used to elucidate the mechanism used by the illicit brewers. Due to an accident the paraquat bottle had slipped into the distilling cocktail resulting in this epidemic of paraquat poisoning.


Key words: Paraquat, Illicit, brewers, cocktail.