While I do think that it’s grand that we’re recognizing, or more specifically, the PR department of Dewar’s is recognizing the fact that December 5th marks the end of Prohibition, it is important to not get carried away by this fact.
Because for all of this talk of freedom and other such relative terms that come with anything dealing with the end of government restrictions on selling, most people forget that the government still prevents some brands of alcohol from being sold. This differs state by state of course, or province by province if you’re from Canada.
In the course of my travels over the past year, one of the complaints I heard most often from producers of whiskey is how difficult it is to get governments to allow their products to be sold in new marketplaces. respective . If they’re a small producer who don’t have the resources to peddle influence along the sides of the Diageos or Pernod Ricards of the world, then they often find themselves left out of many liquor stores.
As an example, if I want to find a huge selection of whiskeys, I have to head to Portland, as there are many brands of whiskey that Washington State just doesn’t now have. If you live in Canada, Alberta has privatized their liquor sales, and thus has a far greater selection of brands available to them, while British Columbia, where liquor stores are still government run, has roughly only 20% of the brands that one can find in Calgary.
Is this still a form of prohibition? Not really. But the governments still dictate what liquors you can and cannot drink. Whether or not you think is a good thing is likely dependent upon whether you’ve tried to buy a bottle of specific brand, only to find that your state doesn’t allow it to be sold.