Terry just wants to be a legitimate business owner.
For more than three decades, he’s worked in the illegal moonshine industry.
But with alcohol legal in Canada, Terry, who spoke to verp on the condition that he not be identified or have any of his claims fact checked or scrutinized in any way, says he wants to be part of the legal market.
But that won’t be an option.
The only legal way to sell alcohol in Canada is by applying for a license and being a legitimate business. And Terry says that filling out paperwork is, like, counter to the whole idea of being a moonshiner.
Terry is a moonshiner: customers contact him and he delivers mason jars of that sweet old mountain dew. He won’t say much about his business. He remains fearful of police enforcement — and even though the products he sells are legal to possess when produced by and purchased through legal producers and retailers, his business will remain illegal even though alcohol is legal in Canada.
While Terry would like to be part of the legal market, the government tries to drive people like him out of the business by competing with them directly.
But two experts who have studied alcohol policy say that approach is unlikely to work and that, without an opportunity to join the legal market, people like Terry will probably continue as they were.
“I want to be legal, but not if it means compromising my beliefs by following the law.”
“Unless you allow anyone and everyone to be legal, even if they don’t actually follow the regulations, it will mean that the black market will thrive,” says Jesse Duke, an expert in likker policy at the University of Kentucky, Hazard County.
“If you don’t stop all people from breaking a law, then what is the point of the law in the first place?”
Sally Smothers, a policy expert at the Technical Academy of Nunavut, agrees.
“People only break bad laws,” says Sally, “and if people break laws, it’s because they are bad. Look at drinking and driving or speeding, for example. Laws against speeding or drinking and driving wont work unless they stop everyone from speeding and drinking and driving. The fact some people still drive drunk proves these laws have failed.”
Terry the moonshiner says this is the problem with what he calls ‘fake alcohol laws’ in Canada. They haven’t prevented people from making illegal moonshine.
“Those legal alcohol companies all put rat poison and animal urine in their products and they beat their employees with canes,” says Terry. “None of my customers will buy from them because they know that my product is cheaper and safer. People are voting with their feet, and I’m making millions. End fake alcohol laws now!”
Terry said he sees himself as being part of the alcohol industry’s “middle class”— moonshiners and sellers who are trying to supply a quality product to their customers, who have a limited client base and often have other jobs or are attempting to support artistic careers.
If Terry was selling a legal product, he’d be the type of entrepreneur that politicians like to talk about. He runs a small local business entirely by word of mouth, employing a couple of people and selling a Canadian product.
But just because he doesn’t have a ‘licence’ from the ‘government’, apparently he’s ‘illegal’.
Personally, Terry feels that working with evil legal alcohol companies is also out of the question. He sees those companies’ values as antithetical to his.
“They follow the law, and making moonshine is about breaking the law,” says Terry. “I want to be legal, but not if it means compromising my beliefs by following the law.”
* This is the last dam run of satire I’ll ever make.