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Hokonui Moonshine Museum

Hokonui Moonshine Museum @Southland, New Zealand

Southland is New Zealand’s prohibition territory with a history of backyard brewers. A detour to Gore (45 minutes, 65km) is illuminating. Hokonui Moonshine Museum, will absorb an hour or two as you become enthralled with the colourful characters complete with full bushy beards and swaggering women defending their Old Hokunui whiskey supplies. Artefacts, distilleries and audio-visual displays of confrontations with the authorities make for a compelling narrative. Nothing like a bona fide illegal nefarious goings-on to make the deep South romantic. The Gore museum stocks Old Hokunui whiskey in their gift shop together with T-shirts inspiring you to join the home brew club.

Invercargill continued to vote for prohibition until 1945. It seems returning soldiers felt it was too much to ask to drive (across state lines) to Otago for a drink put an end to the booze ban. Even today the South tightly controls the sale of demon drinks with alcohol merchandised and managed through licencing trusts which continue to prohibit alcohol in supermarkets.

Invercargill has embraced its home brew past and was the home of Invercargill Brewery, a beer and cider operation. With brand names such as Smokin’ Bishop and their exotic, slightly crazy ingredients in Boysenberry fruit beer it was a popular brewery tour destination. As of mid 2020 the brewery operations have been placed in liquidation.

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