Government intervention on Spirits and Wine

Rob Geddes MW’s report on the drinks trade in China

Rob’s July 2013 report, there was an amazing similarity to my recent paper on gin vs punch and wine in the 18th century.

“The current boom in wine exports to China has many mysteries, including where the wines are sold and how much is actually sold versus gifted. … On a recent visit to a free trade zone run wine competition, I was apprised of the situation by a local who framed the growth in sales as an instrument of government policy. According to my source the Government has acted out of concerns over food security. Government policy is seeking to divert consumption of grain based spirits to imported wine, and then onto local wine.”

In England, 1690 ‘An Act for the Encouraging of the Distillation of Brandy and Spirits from Corn’ encouraged the distillation of home-grown grain spirits for the greater consumption of Corne and the advantage of Tillage in this Kingdome.’ was passed in order to encourage the increase in distillation from home grown grain and Caribbean rum, and less reliance on French Brandy. With the growing gin crisis in the early years of the 18th century, there was less enthusiasm for cheap spirits. Grain shortages by the middle of the century meant grain was necessary for food rather than spirits, and rum, from the British sugar colonies, became increasingly popular.

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