Business: Success with Sauce

Long a favorite thirst quencher in the Asian tropics, fermented palm sap is said to have wondrous medicinal properties for combatting high blood pressure, whooping cough and a host of other maladies. Whatever its actual benefits, its many devotees drink the stuff as if their lives depend on it. Known most commonly as toddy,* the deceptively mild-tasting brew ferments naturally after it is tapped atop 40-ft.-high coconut palms by shinnying, surefooted natives. It is so potent a potable that in Singapore its sale comes under strict government regulation: because the beverage gets stronger with age, the island's six licensed toddy parlors...

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