The world of state liquor laws is a confusing one. We reported earlier this year on all you need to know about the surprisingly relaxed regulations in Utah. Meanwhile, it turns out that Alabama recently lifted its 100-year-old ban on distilling whiskey, according to the Associated Press.
Located in Opelika, Alabama, John Emerald Distilling Company — makers of gin, rum, vodka and other liquors — released in June what is said to be the state’s first legal bottle of whiskey produced in the state in exactly 100 years. Why did it take so long? Co-owner Jimmy Sharp suggests that the laws were just so confusing that no one ever bothered. Perhaps in this case, ignorance is not quite bliss. Now that these laws appear to be better understood, multiple companies have begun to produce whiskey in Alabama, but John Emerald is the only one to have released a product so far.
“The way the laws are written, it’s written and it’s written over, and over written, and over written, so it’s real difficult to discern for the average person who doesn’t speak legalese to understand you can [distill whiskey],” Sharp told AP.
The liquor is selling like hotcakes, according to Sharp. The distillery’s first four cases of John’s Alabama Single Malt Whiskey sold out in less than an hour. It appears that there was demand in Alabama, but that it just took a century for someone to finally meet it.