Picture it. Massachusetts 1838. A flag waves high from a tent on the parade ground. Upon the flag is the depiction of a painted hog, designed to draw in the curious. For four pence, patrons could enter this tent and catch a glimpse of a pig painted with stripes and in return were served a "free" glass of rum. This attraction was a clever ruse to bypass the prohibition of alcohol.
While we generally think of Prohibition with the passing of the Volstead Act and the 18th Amendment in 1920 and leaving the United States legally Dry until 1933, this was actually not the first time that legal restrictions on alcohol were tried. Actually the Temperance Movement has tried several times throughout our country's history to prohibit the selling and consumption of alcohol. One such example was in 1838 when the Commonwealth of Massachusetts passed The 15-Gallon Act, which made the sale of alcohol illegal in any quantity under 15 gallons.
To elude this Temperance law, a crafty and spirited rum-seller devised a ploy to sell his product and let the general public enjoy and imbibe. Because he wasn't actually selling his spirits, rather giving it out for free as a part of his bizarre swine spectacle, he had found and exploited a loophole.
It is in this manner that local distillery, Striped Pig, South Carolina’s first micro-distillery, takes its name and methods. Using local farmers, distilling spirits slowly, carefully, and using heirloom grains and fruits, the Southern Way, Striped Pig Distillery truly is a farm-to-glass operation. Do we carry their rum? Yes. As well as their vodka, whiskey and gin. While historically, patrons of this natural curiosity could under the false advertisement enjoy some rum, that is not the direction we're going to take. Rather, we'll be enjoying their gin as World Gin Day is celebrated on June 11th. We'll have special guest, Bob Jones from Striped Pig, in house to pour some gin for us and regale us with tales of the painted pig.
Now, we know what you're thinking. Will there actually be any wine at this wine tasting? Yes, of course! We're going to continue with the botanical theme and pour some Shop favorites. First up, a sparkling wine infused with burnt orange bitters from Chandon; giving us an Aperol Spritz type of libation. Second will be a rosé from a small island on the Rhone River with a unique terroir. Full transparency, this wine is probably the odd man out as far as keeping with the botanical theme as really there is nothing overly agricultural about this wine. So why include it? Because it's summer and Rosé! That's why. And lastly, Dolcetto D'Alba by Vietti. The Italians are masters of farming and gardening, and long ago discovered the benefits of herbs and roots and botanicals for medicinal and intoxicating purposes. Red Amaro (Aperol, Campari, etc.) as Aperitifs. Black Amaro (Montenegro, Fernet, Averna, etc.) as Digestifs. The family at Vietti also grow herbs on their land to make a gin. London Dry in style, the gin is called Elena Gin, named for Elena Penna who runs Tenuta Vietti with her husband Luca. Sadly, Elena Gin isn't (yet) distributed here in South Carolina. Hence "settling" (poor us!) for Vietti's Dolcetto in its stead.
We'll be celebrating World Gin Day with both wine and gin. Join us for some great juice, local distillates and good times!
See you there!
The Wine Shop Team
"He came home too drunk from mixin' Tanqueray and wine," -Bruce Springsteen, Johnny 99