Letter Re: Distilled Spirits for Barter

Here is a “barter material” idea your many readers may find of interest. I am located in Kansas City and, after telling friends who are also into “survival” my idea it caught on such that one liquor store here is suddenly the largest reseller of this liquor in North America.

I have friends who, for their store of barter items, have stockpiled extra food, ammunition, guns and other items people would want in a breakdown of society. But they are all items that may only have a storage life of a few years, takes up a lot of room or are items you can’t have enough of (i.e. food).

After writing down all of the “musts” the answer suddenly came to me – liquor. The “musts” are (1) a shelf life of 10+ years, (2) relatively compact, (3) easily broken down into individual items that would not be expensive and, as a plus, it would probably go up in value. And, most important, something that you would not need to survive: Liquor. My cousin owns a liquor store and he suggested Luksusowa Polish vodka. [Wódka Luksusowa. or “Luxury Vodka”.] Airline size bottles come 120 to a case. Liquor might even go up more in value than gold in a TEOTWAWKI situation. A cloth bag of 50, or
so, of these bottles can easy be carried around. Try to get change using a one ounce gold coin after buying bread and milk from the back of a truck! Good luck! And worry about others seeing you have one gold coin so you must have more at home. You put yourself at great danger.

Why Luksusowa vodka? It’s half the price of any other vodka and tastes just as good (I’m told). They are selling cheap in the United States trying to use price to build a market. They are a small company so they don’t have the money for advertising. Liquor stores may carry as much as a case but any liquor store in a major city can order as much as you want having it for you within 48 hours. I bought 50 mil airline size bottles for 90 cents each. The bottles are thick glass that could probably be dropped on anything short of concrete and not break. And well sealed so shelf life is probably at least 20 years.

I’m guessing people will not care what brand of vodka you have to barter. They also come in two larger sizes. My cousin gave me a special price but buy enough cases and you can probably get it for close to 90 cents a bottle. So instead of a room filled with canned goods having to rotate them to beat the average one or two year date code on each can or trade away items they
really need as much as possible of (like food and ammunition). So I have a floor space in my basement of about a yard square of cases piled to the ceiling that is all the barter material I should ever need. Not a room full of much more fragile items with shorter shelf live and might not go up in value. Personally, I can’t think of anyone that will be in demand in such situations other than ammunition and food. One caveat – anyone who has anyone in their group who has ever had a problem with liquor consumption should not do that. Personally, I don’t drink due to an illness (Lyme disease) that makes liquor taste like acid to me. I never drank much before contracting Lyme disease.

I hope this idea is of interest to your many readers. I know every person I’ve mentioned this idea to has quickly loaded up on ten to a hundred cases of Luksusowa small airline size bottles. Best Regards, – Gary Y.

JWR Replies: I’m not much a drinker–I’m a “one beer a year” type–so I don’t feel qualified to comment on storing particular types of sipping barterable. Also, after seeing alcoholism ruin so many lives, and wrecking so many families, I have chosen not to store anything more than a few bottles of Everclear. And I consider that supply multi-purpose: for medicinal/sterilizing use, for making tinctures, and for emergency fuel. It is too strong for sipping, but I suppose that it could be used very heavily diluted in mixed drinks. As I mention in the “Rawles Gets You Ready” family preparedness course, there are two varieties of Everclear sold: 151 Proof and 190 Proof. The latter (which is 95% alcohol), is the most versatile for preparedness. Everclear is not legal in all states, with the most common restrictions on the 190 Proof variety.