“Wyrd biõ ful ãræd.”

Monday, March 23, 2015

Booze as a barter item.

 

 Everybody who thinks about a potential "post crash" environment thinks about barter.  Some people put away a lot of gold and silver coins. I haven't invested heavily in that, because I'm not sure that in a time of scarcity, anybody would really want gold or silver.

I'm probably wrong, because from Rawles on down, most of the guru's say you should have some gold and silver on hand as it would retain it's value when people were using paper money to light their wood stoves.

Myself, I'm more inclined to believe that commodities people want and need would be a better bet.


In Alas Babylon , pre war booze was a big trade item.  I have a feeling it would be here too. Of course, no one can sell hard liquor in this part of North Georgia.  We have no bars, and it's only been in the last few years you could buy beer or wine.  You still have to go up to North Carolina to the state liquor store to buy the hard stuff.



When I was a young man, before I got married, I liked a good party.  When I met my wife in Naples, Italy I had a nice little villa on the beach. I equipped it with a bar, and I used to go to happy hour at the NATO officers club every Friday.  When the club bar closed down, I could usually find a few officers on temporary duty who had no where to go, and we'd go out to my place to carry on.  Since about half the officers on the staffs at AFSOUTH were women, female companionship was not a problem. Life was good.


Then I met my wife. She was the daughter of Southern Baptist missionaries  and was not at all interested in a house full of intoxicated people and loud music on Friday nights. Before we got married, there was a clear understanding that all that would stop. And so it did.

My bar got given away and replaced with a China cabinet.  But it was OK, I liked married life, was just out of my twenties and getting a bit long in the tooth for that kind of thing anyway.

So, though I might just take a drink now and then to this day, I do it discreetly and just one, never more. Technically I am not supposed to be doing that but everybody needs a little sin in their lives so I figure it's ok.

Down in one of the storerooms is quite a collection of good quality booze, and I add to it frequently. If the day comes I need to trade for items I'd like to have, I'll just have to find a trading partner with a  taste for good bourbon, or rye, or scotch, or tequila, or vodka, or .........


39 comments:

  1. Harry - great article and yes, for barter/trade post-collapse, i would expect most people would want to trade for booze, coffee and chocolate.

    your post made me think of a funny - when we went to our first function here at our community centre - everyone was very warm and welcoming. before we even sat down at a table 10 people wanted to buy us drinks. jam said beer but of course i said a glass of red wine. everyone looked at me like i had 3 heads!!! there was no red wine that night, but now, for every dance at either of our community centres, there is a bottle of my red wine...just for me - teehee! and because the wine doesn't keep until the next event, they let me take my wine home. very thoughtful of them to always have my wine at each event!

    so i noticed in your list of bourbon and scotch et al....there is NO WINE!!! having tried tiny sips of various alcohols in my life and not liking any of them - not even wine coolers - i wouldn't any of that stuff. jam, on the other hand......bahhahahhahah!

    much love, buddy! your friend,
    kymber

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    1. Hi Kymber, that reminds me of a work trip many years ago when my work colleague and I (a girl) walked into a country pub in a coal mining town to get a counter lunch and a drink. It was like those westerns, we walked in and everyone stopped talking!, I had warned her that this was the country and not to expect all of the stuff she was used to in the city. So what does she do? walks up to the bar to order a cocktail!, everyone stopped talking again and were just looking at us while I was trying to shrink away from her. Luckily she settled for a glass of local red wine (known as plonk here).

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    2. Sgt - that's kind of similar to what happened to me. and isn't it strange that i never drank wine until i was about 32...and guess who introduced me to red wine? you guessed it....an australian!!!!! hope all is well with you and yours!

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  2. Kymber, I never have really taken to wine. There are some wines here called "Arbor Mist" which I like, they have a pomegranate wine that is good. And these wines don't cost much. But my middle brother, who is the great connoisseur of fine food and wine, once informed me that the only people who drink Arbor Mist are high school boys who use it to try to get high school girls drunk so they can have their evil way with them! :-0

    I keep a few bottles around for me but don't expect to be able to trade it up here. Most of the folks in this part of the mountains, who are locals and would be here during a "crunch" are not going to be into wine, and beer won't keep forever, so I get hard liquor. Somebody told me that rum won't keep, so I emailed Bacardi and they said that was true, that 5 years was the shelf life. But I don't know if this is another "expiration date" thing or if they are actually telling me a fact. I like Captain Morgan hot rum toddy's when it's cold out, so it's not likely any of my bottles of rum will make it to five years if the winters keep being so harsh here. ;-)

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  3. I believe you are right about the barter items. Considering that I live within two blocks of five bars, I'm not so sure it is worth my while to store booze - especially when it is in my best interest to stay away from it myself. However, I have been reading articles lately about the value of storing tobacco and items like coffee. I am only five months into being smoke-free, so I may have to wait a bit before I am comfortable with having access to tobacco, but I know that should I ever run out of coffee, I would be most unhappy. So would others, I expect, so that might be better than the precious metals for barter.

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    1. Vicki, I store a huge amount of coffee in number ten cans, because I am addicted to it and would be really miserable if I couldn't have a cup in the morning.

      I also store tobacco. Not cigarettes, which would be hard to keep fresh. I buy sealed number 10 cans of pipe tobacco. You could use it for rolling cigarettes if necessary, so I might trade some of it though primarily it is for me.

      Another thing I keep for trading is country hams. They keep virtually forever and should be good for trade. Since we eat them and also send them to the kids as supplements to their larders, they get rotated that way.

      I quit smoking in the mid 70's, for the most part, but I still smoke a pipe once in awhile. I was never able to completely kick the habit.

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  4. I've got a few gallons of my Strawberry Blonde put up for rainy days. 200 gallons a year for personal consumption is the limit if you make it yourself. I've spent a small fortune on gallon handles. More than I'd like to admit. But hey, if things get shitty, at least I won't have to be sober ALL of the time.

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  5. That sounds like a good deal. 200 gallons ought to last a good long while. In hard times, a drink from time to time would not come amiss.

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  6. Whether or not to go with silver/gold is always one of those popular and timeless 'do-I-or-dont-I' posts on the survivalist forums. A lot of folks figure that if you cant eat it, shoot it, burn it, or wear it, it's not worth having.

    I kinda think that most major disasters don't happen overnight...the road to them gets steeper and steeper and then you hit it at the bottom. At the bottom, when we're living in Mad Max land, the gold and silver might not be worth anything. BUT, in that slide from Normalcy to Mad Max....thats where the gold and silver will be worth the most as you use it to buy supplies and influence as the currency becomes worthless.

    I guess, what I meanis that you don't necessarily buy silver/gold for the end ofthe world; you buy it for those days or weeks right before the end of the world.

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    1. It can't hurt to have it. But I think I am one of those people who are not sure that an item will be of practical value if you can't use it for a practical purpose. I bought a little of each, not much because there are always other things I want on hand and my monthly line item for preparedness is not what I wish it could be. I have family members who have invested in silver coins, on a rather larger scale, but they have bigger budgets than I do.

      I also know one person who is the most amoral, ruthless and largely despicable person I ever met. I associated with him for twenty years, and I never met a shrewder investor when it came to reading the trends and buying right. He bought and still buys a lot of gold. My contribution to his planning was suggesting that it was a hell of a lot safer to keep it in the bank than in the house, and that was it.

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  7. We don't have a ton of hard stuff, but we do have a lot of wine stored up, as the hubby has made a bit of a hobby out of making wine from the berries on our land each summer. It is really strong for me though, so I stick with the store bought wine ;-)

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    1. That should still be a good trade item should it ever come to it. If there's no soda, no tea, no sparkling water to be had people who don't drink wine now will probably start drinking it then. Strong wine would be even better so that's a good thing.

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  8. My husband has some silver, white and yellow gold. He has it because he makes rings for people for side work. It's nice to have if there is an economic crash to.

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    1. That's a good skill to have. No matter how bad things get, women will still like jewelry and men will still like to get it for them. I just read a new article about a ring found in a woman's grave in Norway, dating back to Viking times. It came all the way from the middle east. The scientists think her husband went there trading or as a mercenary, and brought it home to her.

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  9. Hard liquor is the best to store, long time as it wouldn't turn like wine can. But, I'm with kymber - white wine is my tipple of choice :)

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    1. I wonder if you could grow grapes there in South Africa, Dani. If you could, making your own wine wouldn't be hard. I had an Uncle who made good beer and wine in his basement, and he was no techno genius. You have your alpaca wool too, which I'm sure people would trade for to make winter clothing out of. Alas for me, other than the things I store, I only have chicken eggs and most people have their own chickens here. So once my trade goods ran out I would be in dire straits.

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  10. If Bad Times ever comes, liquor will become sought after. Many non drinkers wouldn't miss it, others will miss it A LOT. Most of us will miss it a little, especially for special occasions (because Life goes on, even in Bad Times). A wedding - child born - holiday - that sort of thing. I'm sure homemade spirits will be manufactured but the good stuff will become gold.

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    1. Well, in Alas Babylon booze was right up there with coffee, and the authors logic made good sense to me. There are lots of people here who would have farm products I might need, and I'm sure I could find some who would be willing to trade for "pre crash" alcohol products. I add a few bottles now and again when we are up in North Carolina. Most of it is really good stuff, but some of it is probably rot gut since I don't recognize the names. Still, I imagine I could find someone who would want it. Beats trading away my ammunition.

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    2. Definitely agree on keeping the ammunition ONLY for trusted people. I wasn't into drinking for the sake of the taste (more for the teenage buzz :^), but a small snifter of brandy in cool weather really takes the edge off, and gives me a warm fuzzy feeling. Just one though.

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    3. I enjoy a brandy now and then, I'm partial to peach and apricot brandy.

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  11. Since I have seen several extended family members with addiction issues and the various consequences that go along with them, I don't stock the stuff. But to each their own. As long as I don't meet someone on the road that's drunk, then it's their business. I just see to much of myself in my blood relatives to chance having much of it around.

    But I agree that it's wise to store wealth in many different forms as they can all be used as currency when/if the time comes. I'd rather have something, anything to trade than be caught with nothing but worthless tender currency that's not fit to wipe my rear end with.

    Pretty much anything that most people use can also be used as barter items. But I think you are correct on precious metals. If you aren't a person of means with a semi working knowledge of precious metals (gold and silver) I wouldn't mess with it until I got all the other bases well covered.

    Matt

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    1. Matt, I limit myself to one drink a day when I do drink, out of sneaking suspicion that it might not be a good idea to fail to set a limit. I don't know if I would become an alcoholic since I didn't in the service when I drank a lot, but I don't want to find out the hard way that I am more susceptible to it in my old age.

      I base a lot of things I do on the novels Rawles wrote, because he has thought things out well and can articulate ideas in his books that I only have half formed in a nebulous sort of way in my head. Rawles is a big believer in gold and silver. I compromised and have done some but not in a big way.

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  12. Harry,Here in Oz any sort of alcohol would be more valuable than gold in a post crash society! I noticed your picture of all those Southern Comfort bottles, you don't actually like that stuff do you? At the risk of a verbal lynching, when I was a lad in the 70's - 80's that was always considered a 'girls drink", real men drank over proof Bundaberg Rum. Mind you after a night on the rum I usually woke up on the train at the end of the line in the early hours of the morning, many many stations away from my home!

    Now days I enjoy a Captain Morgan rum & coke or a good German beer and usually fall asleep before I can do any damage to myself, the joys of getting older.

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    1. I'm a big Southern Comfort man, I like it neat over ice. But now that my brother has said my taste in wine is limp wristed, and you point out that my taste in liquor is not manly, I guess I better get my kids DNA tested to be sure they are really mine! ;-)

      I can't drink bourbon, it makes me sick. Don't like Rye or Scotch, but I do like gin, vodka, rum and tequila.

      I like Captain Morgan spiced rum, it's savory. Not a beer drinker though.

      I expect after some folks have been without for a month or so, I could trade Sterno fuel and people would drink it!

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    2. Don't worry Harry,

      I would rather have a nice glass of Italian Spumante over the most expensive French Champagne any day so your brother would be calling me a big girl too. I am like you, I like the smell of scotch and bourbon but can only drink them with coke which apparently makes me a Philistine!

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    3. Harry - your last sentence above is the exact reason why we stock up on mouthwash, rubbing alcohol and aerosol hairspray -

      bahahahahahahahah! oh i just couldn't help myself.

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    4. When I left home and went into the Marines I was 17. The first time I drank hard liquor was shortly after. It was bourbon and I was sick for three days. That pretty much spoiled any bourbon drinking for me thereafter.

      I don't think I ever knew anybody that mixed scotch with coke, but it makes sense when you think about it unless you are a die hard scotch drinker, which I'm not.

      I saw your comment to Kymber up above, about going into a rural bar and your lady friend ordering a cocktail. Nice way to attract unwanted attention from the locals alright!

      Kymber, in WW2 the sailors used to drain the alcohol out of the torpedo propulsion systems and drink it. I also read that they would filter hair tonic through a loaf of bread and drink that. Why the alcohol in the torpedo didn't kill them, and how filtering hair tonic through a loaf of bread helps, I don't know.

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  13. tot of liquor before bed, just a wee dram, good for arteries.

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  14. I'd be lying if I said I hadn't thought the same thing myself, in regards to the gold as well as the booze. I don't hardly drink, but you'd think I was an alcoholic if you saw my stash!

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    1. It's the same as money in the bank. Besides, if you ever need a little shot to calm yourself down, or just relax, or help get to sleep, you go to the medicinal stash and there you are!

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  15. One more thing. Did you ever do a review of Alas Babylon? Sounds like a potentially interesting read....

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    1. I did, but I don't remember when. Alas Babylon is one of the original classics of the survivalist movement. The fact that it's still in print and selling well some 50 years after it was originally published tells you a little about the quality of the book. The only other book I can remember from about that time frame which is still going strong is Lucifer's Hammer, and I don't think that was nearly as good as Alas Babylon.

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  16. Harry,

    I have to agree with you regarding the using alcohol as a bartering tool. We've stash several bottles of whiskey, rum, and scotch just for that purpose. The same goes with pure vanilla, and honey.

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    1. I don't have a wide range of barter goods, I need to expand my selection. I have a lot of ammunition in various calibers, but I want to hang on to that for myself and my family. I do have hams, booze, and some tobacco I could part with if I had to. I have a lot of coffee, but that would be a last resort for trading because I really need coffee in the morning when I get up. I hadn't thought of honey or vanilla as trade goods, but I can see how they would be popular.

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  17. Hey Harry,

    (captaincrunch)


    I drink a few beers here and there, hell I'm drinkin' a can of old school 'Coors' now.

    I've seen a lot of hard core alcoholics in the military and that kinda turned me off of hard liquor. I like a little Jack Daniels every now and then but I just like a beer or two.
    I could totally go without booze and not miss it.

    One trade item that on one has brought up is marijuania. "Lets get this strait' right now!

    I don't smoke that garbage, nor do I keep it anywhere near me.

    I don't want to be within 1000 feet of weed, seeds, or any pot stuff.

    I do believe it has medicinal properties and for someone with very serious medical conditions (such as Cancer etc), I don't have a problem with it's usage.
    I do think that we will see an explosion of weed dealers, usage and everything else in a long term collapse. We will see an explosion of prostitution and every other vice the human race has devised in the past 5,000 years.

    Human nature is Human nature and some things will never change.

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    1. I'm sure marijuana will be vastly more common in a post collapse scenario because it's renewable. People can grow it, while most folks don't have the skill to make hooch. I have some heretical thoughts on why marijuana is illegal myself, such as the cartels paying off the politicians who make the laws. Seems to me if it was legal, we could tax it and a lot of the drug trade from Mexico would dry up. I have never used marijuana, but it's because I didn't want to get caught and get a police record, not really because I think it's any worse than booze.

      I think a lot of things we make illegal are only that way because they offend some religion or other. And, you know how I feel about religion. I don't mind whatever anyone wants to worship. I don't even mind Islam if it isn't the radicalized version. But when somebody wants to make me live according to the tenants of their religion, I'm not so happy with that. I'd actually be happy with a lot less laws and a lot more vice, I guess.

      However, I have no say in the government so that's just philosophy on my part, CC.

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  18. Beer is my poison of choice, but I barely finish a can these days. I never really developed a taste for the hard stuff. But on a rare cold blue moon I will admit a snifter of single malt is not bad.
    In my single days I shared an apartment with a Ukrainian fellow who did a tour in Afghanistan. He told of draining the brake fluid out of the trucks during his time in the military. Apparently it was straight grain alcohol. As the old USSR was falling apart base commanders had not received payroll they would order tankers full of "brake fluid" which in turn they would bottle and sell on the black market for cash to make ends meet on the base. Moscow got wind of the practice and soon put an end to it by putting poison in it effectively making it denatured alcohol. Blue die was added to indicate it was not drinkable. Of course at night under a truck with a pair of snips in your hand it was impossible to tell and many a Saturday morning a stiff was found under a truck with cut brake lines.

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    1. It's amazing the things people will do to get booze when they are used to having it. Of course, I am callously relying on that to extract a good price for my wares in Barter Town!

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