Two Letters Re: Storing Whiskey For Barter

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Mr. Rawles,
The letter from Tom R. raised the question of stockpiling alcohol for trade.  While I have no moral opposition to alcohol consumption, and even keep a stock of wine and spirits for my own use, there are some practical drawbacks to stocking alcohol for barter.  

First, unless a person has unlimited funds and storage space, it seems foolhardy to stock quantities of items which will not be used or consumed (precious metals excepted) in the normal course of daily post-SHTF activities.   A more rational course of action would be to stock quantities that would be used within the household, with additional quantities that might be used for barter if the opportunity arises. 

Second, alcohol is very easy to make.   Fruit wines, cider, and beer are all created with simple ingredients and can be made with equipment found in most homes.  Distilled spirits require slightly more equipment, but not anything that is extraordinarily expensive or complex.   Any person who is adequately stocked with food or has a moderately sized garden would be able to produce consumable alcohol on their own.  If individuals can produce a product on their own, the trade value of a product is limited.

Which brings me to the third issue: who to trade with?  In an extended grid down or SHTF scenario, most prepared people will want to keep their wits about them and not be interested in trading goods for alcoholic beverages.  Those less prepared will be trading what tangible goods they have for basic consumable necessities such as food and fuel.  This leaves only those with severely poor judgment and/or alcoholism seeking to trade for alcohol. 

Each trade of alcohol would require interactions with people who, at best, are having difficulty coping, and at worse, suffer from chronic alcoholism.  My own survival plan does not include actively seeking out contact with those types of individuals.   Nor do I expect that I would be comfortable knowing where or how they obtained their barter items.   Being known as ‘the guy with the booze’ would make a person a very inviting target as customers run out of things to barter.

As for me, I’m fine being the guy who has some wool socks and 10W30 motor oil to trade.  – R.L.W.

Dear JWR,
I prefer to store vodka versus whiskey. There are many reasons why. An article over at Life Hacker describes the versatility of vodka. Respectfully,- Don H.

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