The History of Goan Feni and Homegrown Brands to Check Out!

If you have ever visited Goa or have had Feni, you might be intrigued to know its history, making process and which brands you can try out.

Hitanshu Bhatt
New Update
Goan Feni

Think of Goa and you immediately transport yourself to the serene beaches, the coconut plantation along those beaches and a glass of drink enjoying these quaint surroundings. One of those interesting drinks that most of the tourists relish and bring back home is the ‘Goan feni.’ While the people of Goa take pride in having one of the most unique drinks, alcohol connoisseurs take part in relishing the drink. If you are one of the curious minds, you might want to know the history of Feni and explore some brands to try this authentic drink.


The exact origin of Feni is not known but the Portuguese are accredited with the introduction of cashews to India, which is the base ingredient of this drink. Cashews or kaju as we call it in Hindi are believed to be native to Brazil and brought by the Portuguese to India in the 16th century. It is believed that they planted cashew trees to prevent soil erosion but little did they know that the Indian soil would be suitable for cashews to grow. In fact, it was better than Brazil and India is one of the highest producers of cashews in the world. 

As we all know Goan cuisine is a confluence of Portuguese food and Indian flavours, and Feni holds the same significance. The farmers and local people used to make local tipple or fermented brew which is famous by the name ‘feni,’ deriving its name from the Sanskrit term ‘phena’ which means froth, thanks to the bubbles that form a light froth when Feni is shaken in a bottle or poured into a glass. It is believed that the localities started preparing this drink in 1740 CE with the leftover cashew apples by the Portuguese and soon it became a popular practice. 

Cashew Apples

The process of making feni involves using only ripe cashew apples that fall from the tree, supporting the idea of using leftover cashews. After the apples are harvested, the pickers, known as “cashew apple pickers,” remove the seeds and move the apples to a stomping area called a colmbi, which is usually a rock with a basin-shaped cleft. The juice is extracted by stomping the cashew apples. Today, stomping has largely been replaced by using a press known as a pingre (cage). After hours of stomping or pressing, the fruit pulp is removed. The extract is collected into a mound and covered with a heavy stone overnight. This process extracts the juice from the pulp, called ‘neera,’ a non-alcoholic version of feni.

The fermentation process in a kodem (Goa Streets)

The non-alcoholic version is then transferred into a 'kodem,' a large earthen pot for the fermentation process. The fermentation process is completed when the bubbling in the pot stops, which is usually after three days. The neera is now ready for distillation and gives the less fermented version of feni called ‘urrack.’ This generally contains approximately 10-15% of alcohol. The finer and more alcoholic version of it is ‘cazulo’ is obtained when urrack is distilled which is generally intoxicating and is not locally available. Finally, after the third distillation is done, feni is made. Feni contains alcohol around 42-46% which makes it a strong and pungent alcohol. 

Although kaju feni or cashew feni became popular because of the Portuguese influence, people in Goa are believed to have been making coconut feni before that. Coconut feni isn’t made from coconut water but from its flower’s bud nectar and only skilled toddy tappers collect it.  If you are thrilled by the history and process of this alcohol, here are a few Feni brands you can check out to have a taste of it. 

1. Goenchi Feni

Goenchi Feni

Goenchi is a Konkani word that translates to “of Goa.” The brand that was started by Yash Sawardekar and Tulika Sawardekar mentions that every bottle of Goenchi is traditionally distilled in small batches from a single natural ingredient, without the addition of yeast and sugar in a 100% copper pot-still. You can check out their coconut and cashew feni.

2. Cazulo Premium Feni 


Cazulo is a family-owned bottling unit in Cuncolim, South Goa. Started in 1982, by Wilson and Melanie Vaz in a humble outhouse, this brand is now serving feni for 400 years. They serve coconut and cashew feni made with small batch pot-still distillation process. 

3. Moji Feni 


Moji which literally means “Mine” or “My Space” in Konkani is a local feni brand. It is made with a triple charcoal distillation process with locally sourced ingredients. The brand claims that its handcrafted cashew feni has a lighter odour that does not overpower the senses. 

4. TINTO Heritage Cashew Feni


TINTO Heritage Cashew Feni is a sub-brand of Adinco Distilleries. Adinco is a family-owned multi-spirit boutique distillery in Goa. The brand's story has its beginnings in the late 1800s when Aleixo Diniz first started distilling feni at his home in Quepem, Goa. However, the company was formally established in the year 1970 and in the year 2000, Aleixo set up a production unit. To date, all of Adinco’s brands are produced in the very same home that Aleixo Diniz had started. Their feni is crafted for 2 to 3 years.

5. Ocean King Distillers

Ocean King Distilery

Established in 2003, Ocean King Distillers is a boutique distillery located in Goa. Know for its premium brews crafted by passionate second-generation master blender, Craig Henriques, Ocean King Distillers specialises in Goan Feni. They have regular cashew and coconut feni along with flavoured fenis, like pineapple feni and lime feni. 

6. Aani Ek

Aani Ek

Aani Ek was founded in 2020 by Clement DeSylva, a feni aficionado and master infuser, along with Jill D’Souza and Pritesh Desai. Aani Ek produces artisanal infused feni in different flavors, such as lemon, chili, and honey with cinnamon.

Goan Feni history of feni origin of Feni Cashew Apples Cashew Feni Coconut Feni process of making feni neera non-alcoholic version of feni urrack cazulo kaju feni