Should you drink beer during Gawai Dayak?

A more general question would be “Should you drink any form of alcoholic drinks during the biggest Dayak festive season?”

It really depends, but drinking alcohol notably beer, is part and parcel of the Gawai Dayak celebration. It is highly difficult to avoid alcoholic drinks, like beer, during Gawai.

To be frank, I consume alcoholic drinks myself during celebrations, but I always make sure I don’t end up drunk because contrary to popular belief, being drunk during Ngabang isn’t exactly cool.

This is where I exercise what many calls as ‘responsible drinking’.


Responsible drinking means one should know more about what they drink and how it affects them before they consume any alcoholic drink.

This also involves knowing the type of drink served, how much one can consume, and the effects of what one is drinking.

For example, it is a known fact that mixing different types of alcoholic drinks can cause one to get drunk faster, and so I keep it to only one type of drink when I am visiting.

Aside from that, I make sure I do not exceed my alcohol drinking limits. This rule ensures I can still enjoy the beverage at other houses I visit, so my host wouldn’t feel offended due to me passing on the beer they are serving.

Some hosts do get offended when alcoholic drinks are declined during Gawai.
It is my opinion that responsible drinking ensures I can enjoy the beer and celebrations without any untoward incident.

I mean, having any bad incidents or even getting sick during Gawai Dayak would literally suck, wouldn’t it?


A huge threat to having a good time during Gawai Dayak is drinking illicit alcohol because they can be from questionable origins and are produced without proper safety and quality standards.

Some consumers source cheap alternatives when it comes to beer products, which may not be genuine.

Illicit beer products may mimic the original, but they are very dangerous to consumers.

Illicit beer products are made solely for profit and manufacturers of these products forgo safety. This means the production process doesn’t go through stringent processing measures and therefore puts the consumers at risk.

Failure to follow proper stringent safety and production measures can lead to the beer containing dangerous chemicals which can damage the liver and kidneys.

Even worse, illicit alcohol can end up as methanol which can cause death when consumed.

A few cases in West Malaysia had already been reported recently. This signifies the need to only consume original alcoholic products.


That said, it is best to stick to original alcoholic and beer products.

Of course, it’s not polite to ask your host about where they obtained their stock of beer, but you could always ensure the ones you serve will not harm your guests.

This is where identifying an original beer product comes in.

According to Heineken Malaysia Berhad, the brewer of HeinekenĀ®, Tiger, Anchor, Guinness, Apple Fox Cider, and Strongbow, here are some easy steps to help you identify original products.


Drinking during Gawai Dayak isn’t an issue at all. It is in fact part of the celebrations.

However, in order to ensure the celebrations end in the grandest fashion ever, drinking responsibly is key and it takes both the host and the guest to ensure this happens.

Aside from that, ensuring only safe alcoholic drinks are served is also equally important during Gawai.

With that said, go Ngabang, catch up with friends and have a great time this Gawai Dayak.


Use DrinkSensiblyĀ as your GRAB Promo code to enjoy a RM10 discount on your Grab fare when travelling to and from your favourite party locations. The DrinkSensibly promo code is available for redemption in Sabah and Sarawak between 4pm to 4am from today until 2 June 2019.

This post is brought to you by Heineken Malaysia Berhad.