Why is the rum always gone?

We’re two months into prohibition over here, so the rum’s all gone. I’m surrounded by sugar cane farms, so could theoretically try making my own, except we’re still not allowed to leave the house except to buy food. I don’t think illegally harvesting sugar cane outside of town qualifies as buying food.

We have a booming underground pineapple beer industry, though…

And I could swear I saw a guy at the supermarket the other day planning to make his own vodka – had a trolley full of potatoes, sugar and yeast.

The government is going to announce yeast is also not allowed to be sold any day now…

4 thoughts on “Why is the rum always gone?

  1. I didn’t know SA had gone prohibition. History tells me such things usually lead only to people making their own spirits, which I think is is severely dangerous (there’s an isomer of propanol which has near-identical evaporation temperature to ethanol, for a start). Oh, and the way organised crime get in on the patch if prohibition is sustained… Here in NZ, alcohol was included as a lockdown necessity. There was a slight scream about it but the logic was basically that a lockdown is going to be nasty, socially – so why stir people up by also taking away a socially-embedded habit and moderate pleasure (for most) just because certain elements of society abuse it? That was a problem which had to be managed anyway, and the potential for a far larger social problem by denying everybody else a quiet drink was an issue. I have to add that NZ laws have allowed distilling for a while – nobody’s allowed to sell the stuff, but they can make your own spirits. I wouldn’t myself, though, because (a) I don’t drink spirits apart from a very rare nip of whisky, literally months apart; and (b) that isomer problem, along with the likelihood of death if the distillation temps go wrong anyway.

    As for pineapple beer… I am intrigued! I’m not sure I’d want to drink any… but it sounds intriguing… 🙂

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    1. Part of the rationale was to reduce the load on hospital emergency rooms caused by alcohol-related injuries (South Africans binge drink, leading to surges in stabbings and vehicle accidents over weekends.) And it has had the desired effect, though I can’t say if it in any way helped with efforts to prepare our healthcare system for the surge in infections that is still to come. There are some among those our president appointed to make the decisions during this crisis who wants the ban to continue even as lockdown is relaxed otherwise.

      But doing that has a massive economic consequence as well, besides the dangers of homemade alcohol and rise in organised crime you mentioned: loss in tax revenue, loss of jobs in the liquor industry, our massive wine tourism and export industry… even the glass manufacturing industry!

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    1. SA used to have a thriving moonshine tradition, with witblits (translates as white lightning) distilled from apricots, and mampoer (no translation) made of peaches. But those were outlawed (I know of one museum that runs a legal witblits distillery) and people had to turn in their distilling kettles to have holes punched in them if they wanted to still keep them as antiques.

      Luckily you just need a plastic bucket to brew pineapple beer. Or so I’ve heard…

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