Alf would like to think the cops had better things to do than prosecute an 80-year-old man for making whisky and bourbon in his garage.
Making whisky seems to be an admirable hobby for a bloke of that vintage, although making bourbon would serve no useful other than to provide someone with rocket fuel.
These observations are made on learning that one Edwin Wilson appeared in Hastings District Court this week, entering no plea to seven charges relating to selling liquor without a licence.
The poor bugger seems to have been targeted in a sting operation.
He allegedly sold bottles of spirits to an undercover policewoman in April.
His Hastings garage has been stripped of alcohol-producing paraphernalia and his house searched.
Mr Wilson said he made whisky and bourbon for himself but admitted selling to a “couple of regulars”.
“It helps them out because it’s cheap, and it helps me buy the stuff to make it.”
A somewhat darker side to the story emerged with the revelation he had been “threatened” into selling it to other customers, who would steal it otherwise.
The former boxer, with Korean War injuries and a “gammy” hip, said he was no longer a match for thugs. His garage was broken into earlier this year and 36 bottles of alcohol stolen.
One lesson the war vet should have learned before now, of course, is not to sell hooch to strangers.
After he sold a bottle of spirits to a woman he did not know in April, two police cars arrived and officers cleared his garage of everything he needed to make alcohol, including two stills. They also took 12 full bottles of home-brewed spirits, the start of his winter stockpile, he said.
However, he was tired of being relied on to provide alcohol, and had been trying to sell the kits “for ages”. His five children had worried he would be beaten up for his supply. “They’re scared of finding me on the garage floor.”
Now he must decide whether to give up drinking or buy from liquor stores. He hoped police would return some of his equipment so he could make “just enough for me”.
His next court date is July 13.
Alf hopes the judge goes easy on him.
The experience is salutary for all of use who happen to be making a bit of booze for ourselves at home.
The laws around making your own alcohol:Under the Sale of Liquor Act, you can make beer, wine or spirits in any quantity you want and sell it to a licence holder such as a bar or bottlestore.
If you are selling it to members of the public, you must be licensed to do so.
If anyone other than yourself is consuming it, there are usually Customs and duty excises to be paid, as well as food safety regulations to comply with.
Perhaps there is some point to these quaint constraints.
But Alf would be surprised if the Government has been deprived of too much revenue by Wilson’s activities.
The activities of those who have threatened him, on the other hand, are deserving of further police inquiries.