Our Antiquated Distilling Laws June 10 2014, 0 Comments

Prohibition Era Distilling Laws

The prohibition was a time when the law was more harmful than helpful. When the prohibition on alcohol was finally lifted, Federal law still refused to let go all the way and instead kept the distilling of liquor for personal consumption illegal, even though the making of beer and wine for personal use is fully legal as well as distilling spirits for fuel. If that sounds a bit illogical to you, you’re not alone. Let’s go back to a simpler time when the government decided to place blame somewhere for all of America’s problems, and that blame was placed on liquor. During the prohibition throughout the 1920s into the 30s the United States outlawed the manufacturing storage and transportation of alcohol. 

The Government's Brilliant Idea

Outlawing liquor turned out to be more dangerous than helpful. You see, when people can’t get ahold of what they want, they find a way to make it themselves. What transgressed was moonshine, a drink created from several illegal liquor manufacturing operations done outside the knowledge of the law. These people were known as moonshiners or bootleggers, and once they started to share their product with their neighbors their operation just grew. The danger came when demand far outweighed supply and access to the ingredients necessary to make the drinks became increasingly smaller. The bootleggers started focusing on quantity rather than quality. This resulted in horrible ingredients being used like antifreeze, manure, and other dangerous items, which in turn resulted in illnesses, poisoning, blindness, and even death. Crime rates also sky rocketed with mobsters and other organizations realized they could have a hold on this illegal operation.  When the Government finally pulled its head out and realized that prohibiting strong drinks was more dangerous than allowing them they finally lifted the ban with the 21st Amendment, repealing the laws previously enacted. However the Government, being the controlling power it is, refused to let go all the way and still made it illegal to distill liquor for personal use, even though beer and wine was allowed. Maybe this was because the government still felt like liquor was more harmful, or maybe it was simply to exercise its power. Whatever the reasons was here we are, nearly a century later, and this ban still exists. 

The Regulations Today

Today there are many States that have their own laws on liquor and impose their own taxes, but when you break these laws you usually only face a misdemeanor. But the federal government still imposes harsh penalties for anyone it finds making liquor out of their home. If there is a law that was put into place decades ago, which has been proven time and time again to be ineffective, you would think it would have been changed by now, yet it hasn’t. Since the 1920s women have gained the right to vote, people stopped getting prosecuted for teaching evolution, and schools are desegregated. But don’t even think of making your own liquor because you might face the wrath of the United States Government.  There is hope for our future though. New Jersey just passed a law to reduce the regulations of its distilling industry. The rest of the country will be now watching, and when New Jersey shows great success with these changes maybe other states will follow and show the Federal Government that a new century should not keep the useless laws of the old one.