Illicit Poitín Making in Connemara, Ireland 1968

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Illicit Poitín Making in Connemara, Ireland 1968

The makers of poteen produced illegally stand to make a tidy profit but do consumers know what exactly it is they are drinking?

In remote parts of Ireland, men are making poteen. It might be cheap to produce and profitable for producers but what exactly does it contain?

It costs one shilling to make a pint of poteen but you can sell it for twenty five bob.

The job of the Gardaí has become more difficult in detecting these poteen makers. In the past, the telltale smoke of a poteen fire often gave away the poteen makers location. Today, a modern approach using bottled gas helps the poteen maker to remain unidentified. The process of making poteen has also become a lot quicker, now only taking two days. All that you need is a still, a funnel, and a copper worm. For the ingredients, you’ll need barley, water, yeast, and sugar. The business of making poteen is now less risky, cheap and profitable.

But when you buy a bottle of poteen, what exactly are you getting? You may get “the good stuff” or you may get something that is not really poteen. Some moonshiners have taken to making their version of poteen without using barley and replacing it with a root crop like beetroot.

Worse, some producers use bleach to make the liquid clear. Drinking this version of poteen can cause permanent harm.

At the Office of the Public Analyst in Galway, tests are carried out to verify the ingredients used.

This episode of ‘Newsbeat’ was broadcast on 19 November 1968. The reporter is Cathal O’Shannon.
Credit to : CR’s Video Vaults

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