KOCHI: When the lockdown forced the closure of bars and Bevco outlets in the state, many liquor lovers looked for alternative ways to brew their own alcohol. Sensing an opportunity, a leading e-commerce portal started selling moonshine alcohol home brewing kits. However, excise officials have warned people against buying such kits, unless they are okay with the sleuths raiding their homes anytime and booking them under the Abkari Act.
The portal is selling different models of home brewery kits at prices ranging from `10,000 to `30,000. What’s more, there is the option to pay the amount in easy monthly instalments. “Moonshiners are everywhere and make their own equipment to distil alcohol. However, the availability of readymade distilling units of different capacities has made moonshining (act of illegally making distilled spirits) easy,” said an excise officer, warning that distilling liquor, regardless of quantity, can land a person in serious trouble.
Excise commissioner A Ananthakrishnan said they cannot restrict online shopping portals from selling home distilling units. “However, we can arrest those using the equipment to distil alcohol. We can always walk into a home and seize the equipment if we have specific information,” he said.
“We have information that many people are using the home distilling units to make alcohol. In fact, we nabbed a few people. People are ready to buy such home distillers. However, moonshining is highly risky as there is a chance of a fire if the kits are overheated and flames ignite the alcohol. Many might be doing this in their kitchens,” said another excise officer.