Sorghum-Based Beer and Liquor

All over the world, sorghum is used to produce a wide variety of popular alcoholic drinks.

From mainland China to regions all across Africa, sorghum has been used for centuries in order to brew an assortment of local alcoholic beverages. This fast-growing grassy plant is quick to ferment and it can easily serve as a suitable base for beer, wine and distilled spirits, making it a popular alternative to traditional barley-based drinks. Meanwhile, with the recent trend in America towards gluten-free products for health, sorghum-based beer and liquor, which can be made completely free of any gluten, is now poised to become more popular than ever.


The Chinese have used baijiu and other sorghum-based distilled spirits as a social drink for more than 5,000 years. The clear liquid is served warm and can be brought out for a toast of cheer, good luck or even mourning. There are a number of different types of baijiu sold commercially throughout China, Korea and Taiwan, with the fragrance of the liquor playing a big part in how it is received and reviewed.

Opaque Beer

Africans brewers have relied on their native sorghum grasses to serve as the base of the continent’s favorite beer through years of political upheaval and social injustice. Sorghum beer is sold commercially in major cities across Africa, but in the hills of Cameroon or Zimbabwe, you’ll just as often find a homebrew that was made in the kitchen of a local. Thick and cloudy, opaque beer is also low in alcohol and usually slightly sour for most Western tastes, but it has a devoted following among many Africans.


With gluten-free all the rage in America these days, the introduction of a range of beers and distilled spirits that don’t contain that particular protein has drawn a lot of positive attention. While traditional African sorghum beers aren’t typically gluten-free because of the addition of malt extract, breweries all across the U.S. are now producing a wide variety of very flavorful beers that are totally gluten-free. Sorghum whiskey is also making news in the U.S., thanks to the unique aroma and flavor that it can present.

Whether you live in China, Africa or the States. there’s undoubtedly a sorghum-based beer or liquor to be tried in your area. Give it a sip and you’ll likely find that be it in bold spirits or a mild ale, there’s something about sorghum that makes every drink a pleasure.