A significant portion of alcohol produced, sold, and consumed around the world is not reflected in official statistics. These beverages are generally not taxed or regulated, and their sale and purchase cannot be easily monitored or quantified.
Our term “noncommercial alcohol” refers to three types of products:
- traditional drinks produced, whether legally or illegally, for home consumption or limited local trade;
- unregistered and counterfeit products; and
- nonbeverage or “surrogate” alcohols (derived from medicinal compounds, automobile products, and cosmetics).
In many parts of the world, noncommercial alcohol an integral part of the drinking culture. Because it is not taxed, regulated, or recorded, little is known about noncommercial alcohol, its production, consumption, and related outcomes. Although the production of many noncommercial beverages meets high quality standards, much of what is included under this heading may be contaminated and toxic. The latter category poses a threat to public health—particularly in developing and transition countries—but the magnitude of the problem is unclear.
Other relevant materials: