MUPpets in control of Wales

Minimum unit pricing for alcohol has returned, this time it’s the ridiculous morons in the Welsh ‘parliament’ doing it. I notice they have now reduced your alcohol allowance to 14 units a week with no reasoning nor justification. Hah! 14 units? I never start writing until I’m well past that.

As the comments below the article point out, the Welsh will simply go to England to buy booze, and those on or close to the border will probably just do their weekly shopping over there too. Nice dent in the Welsh economy there, added to this latest slapdown on the tourist trade.

There’s another aspect though. Alcohol is incredibly easy to make. You can make beer or (especially) wine out of just about anything. As long as it contains sugar, it will ferment. No controls, no regulations, no limit on ABV beyond what your yeast can tolerate – and yeast can be gradually selected for the most alcohol tolerant variety so will produce stronger booze with successive use.

Okay, I have an unfair advantage here, being a microbiologist who has worked with all kinds of fermentations and with a lab full of fermentation equipment but trust me, you can do it with plastic buckets and demijohns.

Banana wine is very nice and really potent. As bananas ripen, the starch in them breaks down into sugars so they get sweeter and also easier to ferment. What you want are the really ripe ones where the skin is blackening and you know you’ll get those at a heavy discount in pretty much any shop that sells bananas.

The fermenting stuff looks horrible but once it’s finished and cleared it’s a yellowish whisky-like colour. It looks and tastes lovely and it should be approached with caution. It turns out very potent indeed. Regulations? Control? Units? Nobody cares.

I have a bottle of banana wine. Some friends of mine made it. They live in Wales and they make wine out of pretty much anything at all. They have demijohns and bottles galore and they’ve given away some but never thought of selling it. The new anti-drink laws could turn out profitable for them and others like them. Including the unscrupulous who will just add rubbing alcohol to fruit juices with no concern as to the horrible consequences on their customers. Remember, when you are blind and getting your stomach pumped, Public Health Puritanism made that happen.

Of course, with supermarkets selling booze ‘cheaper than water’ (this has never actually happened outside the demented heads of the Public Health Puritans) few people will bother going to all that trouble. They’d rather just get a few cans in to watch a film on a Friday night.

Put up the price though, and suddenly homebrew isn’t too much bother at all. It’s already started in Scotland, where the Spiteful Nannying Puritans have been in power for some time. I see demijohns appear in second hand shops at £8 a pop and they don’t hang around long.

I don’t need them of course, I have a lab full of 5-litre conical flasks…

Out here in the countryside I have access to wild raspberries and blackberries, slashing back the garden has revealed, so far, three apple trees and three crabapple trees. Several large elder trees. I have gooseberries and strawberries and… two well established grapevines in a greenhouse, ready for harvesting. A third vine might start producing next year.

Raw materials needn’t cost a penny. I have all the equipment, and none of it needs to be complex. I do have four continuous culture vessels that could be turned into continuous beer/wine producers with a little adjustment. That won’t be hard since I built them from scratch anyway.

None of it is regulated by anyone other than me. None of the bottles will have any information concerning units or alcohol content or the ‘no fat birds’ sticker. I might put ‘please drink irresponsibly’ on them for fun. Why not? I live in Brewdog country here. Sorry, not sorry.

As for beer, well I live on a farm that grows barley. I’m sure I could get a couple of shovelfuls for washing the farmer’s car or something similar. I just need to plant some hops, I have room for a small malting house (it’s not as complex as you’d think) and then the beer is free too. It’s also totally devoid of any limits on ABV, other than what I can train the yeast to tolerate.

I made beer in the 1980s as a student. I supplied a barrel at a party and heard slurred complaints and talk of ‘rocket fuel’ and ‘what the hell have you made?’. That wasn’t even the nettle beer incident (which happened only once) where I used nettles that had grown a bit too much. You’re only supposed to use the very young ones that haven’t yet developed stinging cells. It tasted good although it took a day or so to get the feeling back in your tongue.

Then there was tea wine which was awful but freeze-distilled into tea brandy was actually pretty good. Never bothered to do it again, it wasn’t that fantastic.

In the 1980s there were specialised homebrew shops. Supermarkets sold homebrew kits. Then they all vanished. Now there are shops selling homebrew stuff again. Only a matter of time before the specialist shops reappear.

Beyond that is the random homebrew. Booze made from anything that ferments. It’s happened before and it’s making a big comeback now.

No regulations, no limits. Thanks to the idiots in charge. At least I can honestly say I didn’t vote for them. Can you?

More importantly, will you vote for them next time?

 

21 thoughts on “MUPpets in control of Wales

  1. Just spent the afternoon bottling Aussie Red Rum, Using my Turbo 500 Reflux still ,the wash cost $NZ 26.70 for 25 litres , at around 14% this gave me about 3.5 litres of 90%( a Pot Still is not as efficient) ABV, so water it down an acceptable 40-42 or so % giving around 8.5 litres of vodka.
    Depending on the type of still the final product will be either very pure or with the Pot Still flavours coming through , so the Pot still,final product is dependant on hte Wash ( the fermenting ingredients)so barley wheat corn , bourbon , whiskey etc.
    My Reflux Still produces very crisp vodka,the vodka is made with hte cheapest sugar I can find on special at the Supermarket , follow basic recipe keep warm and te wash is ready to distil after 4 -5 days.
    With the Vodka made , I then flavor with commercial flavourings , cost here in NZ around $8 to flavor 2.25l of ABV.
    A 1L bottle of Rum costs less than $12 bottle.
    I have at the moment 5 litres of ABV in glass jars with a good handful of wood chips , hte wood chips are made from old wood barrels that had Jack Daniels ageing in them , will be interesting to see he result,is colouring up nicely after about a month of ageing.
    Here in NZ it is legal to own and operate a Still , but illegal to sell , nothing to stop a bit of bartering though , amazing what comes back.
    My Girlfriend is a smoker and she has a contact that swaps baccie for Rum, he grows and cures his own , good deal all round. A shop bought pack of 50gms I think costs $30 or so , a bottle of 1L Rum around $30 -$40 so no excise has been paid .
    Down here , the cost of tobacco products has got to the stage where hte local where the local scumsbags , are knocking over the local convenience stores at least one owner has been killed others badly injured and traumatised.
    The local tobacco Nazis are aiming to have NZ smoke free , was meant to be by 2020 , think the goalpost s have been moved .
    So the locals are moving to save costs by growing there own , brewing there own or whatever.
    Specialist shops are sprouting up , Supermarkets have shelves devoted to brewing , so good luck to the Puritans in their Crusade, and now to piss them off even more , we are getting a referendum on the legalising of Cannabis , good luck getting excise on that , it grows like a weed here .One of the Local Cop Shops had one growing outside till it got too big not to notice .
    We live in times where I am unsure I will recognise the country in 10 years .

    Liked by 2 people

    • …and even yet on some of the Scottish islands they’re still talking about that besom from the Mainland who started to hang out her washing on the Sabbath before Mhairi Macdonald set her straight…

      Liked by 1 person

  2. The minimum price is a wonderful thing. According to the BBC it will “Boost the Welsh economy by £44m a year” and of course save the NHS money, presumably to pay for more gender ‘realignments’. How can you complain about that? You’re so last century, L-I.

    But seriously, I assume the Welsh ‘gov’t’ has to wait until the UK has left the EU, as that’s what has derailed/mothballed the SNP’s plan for an identical scheme. Arguably the only benefit the UK has ever derived from EU membership.

    If the ‘puritans’ were consistent then I would at least have some respect for them, but it’s all a hoax to control and subvert. Ollie Cromwell wouldn’t have promoted gambling and turd burglary, but here we are with the national lottery and scratch cards. How many lives have they ruined? Apparently, half of the ‘big winners’ wished they’d never won as their family and friends fell out over it. I recall one chap going on a 3 month drinking binge in his flat and he was found dead in his squalid surroundings. It could be you!

    As usual, the unintended? consequences of higher prices on alcohol are totally ignored. Russians have seen massive excise hikes in recent years and they have desperate people drinking anything, like mislabelled bath lotion which ended up killing 74 people with methanol poisoning. Days later, the Russian Gov. was increasing excise duty on booze again.

    What these brain-dead politicians don’t seem to realise, or more likely, won’t admit to, is that alcoholics will drink, regardless of the price. They have to, unless and until deliverance comes. If they can’t afford it, they’ll beg, steal or borrow, while the already excessive prices mean they can’t heat the house properly or clothe and feed the children, etc. which leads to hospital admissions and an army of social workers to pay for, etc.

    I read the other day that the rate of drug deaths in Scotland greatly increased from 2016-17. Is it a coincidence that the Psychoactive Substances Act 2016 removed many mainly safe, previously legal ethnobotanicals from general sale? People feeling the need, psychologically or due to pain or whatever, will turn to drug dealers these days, or risk buying dodgy stuff online. I read about one frightened person who was expecting to return to being a binge drinker after the ban. The irony!

    But it never was about health. We know that now.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. You mentioned adding alcohol to fruit juices. I was investigating high ABV yeast a couple of weeks ago and someone left a comment about how he makes his hooch. He uses cartons of supermarket apple juice, sugar and yeast and produces about 14% ABV ‘cider’. I assume it’s safe to do this? I mean, assuming you don’t get sloshed, fall over and hurt yourself, for example.

    And the most important aspect is to keep your equipment *clean*. So I read. But do it so you don’t kill off the yeast with chemical residues. I’m not insulting your intelligence, L-I, but for the general reader who might want to try it.

    Have you considered going ‘legit’ as it were and operating a ‘microbrewery’? I expect you’d need a small fortune for equipment and to ‘comply’ with this, that and the other.

    Or buy one: https://www.daltonsbusiness.com/buy/pubs-for-sale/breweries-for-sale

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Years ago, Boots used to sell cans of beer making ingredients, all you had to do was to ferment the contents in a large bucket. As an engineer, I had to visit Sweden quite regularly and the request from my opposite numbers was to bring as many of these kits as I could get in my baggage allowance. Alcohol in Sweden is probably the most expensive in Europe, if not in the world and there are rules against importing it, but nothing about the ingredients. The “Law of unexpected consequences” at work!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. The ‘cleanliness’ thing is as much to prevent spoilage of the end product as anything. No need to go mad (professional home brewers get a little anal about such things). If you’ve ever had to care for a fresh baby, it’s a very similar hygiene routine. Infact if I were to start drinking again and brewing my own I’d grab some Tesco Everyday Value Baby Sterilising Tabs or fluid . But you can use Tesco every day value (other supermarkets are available) bleach diluted . Thing is with any cleaning fluid to rinse WELL after.

    The big danger is the fermenting juice turning to vinegar. A clean cloth over the top is ok but not ideal. A Condom over a 1 gallon Optical Whisky Bottle works brilliantly and provides much entertainment during the long dark Norfolk winter nights.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Wee Krankie and her Tartin Taliban are still trying to impose this after 5 years, thank God for the Scotch Whiskey Association for dragging them through the courts, the Taffs have jumped on it as they fear it may be their last chance before they fear losing the available powers due to Brexit, meanwhile the Nats up here have just voted to ban parents from smacking their own children, that and ASH Scotland making overtures about home smoking bans (for the cheeldren, of course), obviously only in social housing, can’t rock the boat with people that actually own their own properties, I say – the day ASH pay my fucking rent then they can tell me what to do in my own home…

    Liked by 1 person

  7. It’s such a shame that so few non-smoking drinkers read blogs like yours, Leggy. I know there are a few but they are just that – a few. Had more of them been regular readers they would have seen all the warning signs writ large right here years ago (your post entitled “Can you see what it is yet?” was the first, if I remember rightly), and they might well have stirred themselves to some form of organised action, or at least goaded some of the large manufacturers into offering some form of support. I note that none of these manufacturers have been asked for a comment or, if they were, much like the large tobacco companies when under the same threat, they declined to do so (another worrying similarity to the whole anti-smoking movement).

    As it is, non-smoking drinkers have done what they usually do – stuck their fingers in their ears and kept repeating to themselves ad infinitum: “This only applies to smokers,” “Won’t apply to us,” and “No such thing as Passive Drinking.” (Oh yeah – like car accidents, family breakdowns and violent crime aren’t going to be used in that respect – best of luck with that one). Non-smoking drinkers have only themselves to blame. All they had to do was open their eyes and see that precedents were being set with smoking and that it wouldn’t stop there, and that it was within their gift to challenge it if they would only lend their non-smoking voices in protest. But they didn’t. They didn’t speak up for smokers (which would have kept the Puritans firmly fighting that first line of battle for a good few years yet) and they aren’t listening now, even as those very same Puritans, having won the “smoking” battle, are now moving in on drinkers. Which, cruel as is sounds, serves them right.

    As one of those rare breeds – an almost-teetotal smoker – I know how vital the support of non-drinkers will be for those soon-to-be-ostracised drinkers, but to be honest, I can’t be bothered because, even as all around them their opportunities to enjoy a quiet pint or two steadily diminish to almost nothing, I don’t think they’d listen, so convinced are they that “their” chosen indulgence is “different” from mine.

    So – see you all on the naughty step outside one of the new “alcohol-free” pubs, boozers!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I’m a ex-smoker but I do enjoy a drink & I work in the NHS, But I saw this nannying shit years ago and I’ve supported smokers because the puritans never just stop with one group. It doesn’t matter whether its tobacco, booze, pies as it’s about power, control and money. We now have to do on-line training about tobacco and alcohol but I refused to do the latter as the units is pure Brothers Grimm territory. My wife still smokes her 30 roll ups a day and she has no intention of quitting and I’m happy with but not with the price. I’ve got my home brew kit stashed away and I think I’ll be dusting it off and recommencing my beer making. I may well branch out into wine making too as puritanism and Jamie Oliver Syndrome is horribly contagious.

    Liked by 2 people

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