Moonshine Floods Market, Claims Distiller
Local moonshine consumption is on the upswing, legal liquor sales are dropping, and the federal government isn't helping things at all, a Schenley Products spokesman told the CRIMSON yesterday.
The moonshiners have flooded New England, he said, mentioning discovery of a $250,000 still last year by federal "revenuers" in Walpole, 20 miles from Boston, and of others in this and the Springfield area. "I hope they don't get any over in Cambridge," he added.
Seymour E. Harris '20, Chairman of the Department of Economics, however, called the industry's moonshine propaganda "bunk" and said that the liquor business is flourishing.
The Schenley spokesman also charged some bars and sales outlets in this area with selling moonshine with fake popular brand labels. He refused to name the brand.
Claiming that America consumes as much moonshine as legal liquer, he blamed the "antiquated" and "exorbitant" federal tax laws for the increase in illicit distilling.
Taxes Not Unfair
Harris, however, called "ridiculous" the assertion that half of all liquor consumed in this country is illicit. If any taxes should be lowered, he said, they should not be liquor taxes. The present rate is "not excessive."
The industry currently has 230 million barrels in bond and doesn't know what to do with them, he said. National consumption has decreased 15 percent since World War II, the Schenley man added, "and we're worried."
Calvert Distillers Corporation President W. W. Wachtel pointed out that moonshiners can't even make good whiskey because their operations are neither large nor modern enough. Their spirits contain too much nerve-deadening amylalcohol, which causes sickening hangovers, he said.