Home distilling is steadily on the decrease in Sweden, and the drink that goes under the popular name 'skogsstjärnan' (star of the forest) is growing more and more unusual.
This week's verdict of guilty will possibly make an even greater imprint on the waning moonshine. All of the 70 prosecuted in a huge moonshine tangle were convicted of crime, fourteen of them will be sent to prison for between eight months to four years. Among them were eight who had distilled liquor. The ones who had bought the liquor were fined.
The principal players began brewing up batches of alcohol in 2008 and kept going until April this year, when police intervened. At the police raid, 2,500 liters (660 US gallons) of liquor and eight burners were confiscated. One of the defendants is suspected of having made close to 40,000 liters (10,566 US gallons) of liquor. Ever since 1995, when Sweden entered the European Union, notices about home distilling have decreased steadily. The trend has been very noticeable the last five years.
In 2000 statistics from Brå (the National Council for Crime Prevention), showed 936 cases, compare that with 2010 and 301 cases. Leif Petersson, statistician at Brå, argues that the statistics from one year to another can be influenced by police activities as this recent one.
“Single cases can do a lot to the numbers,” he says.
Moonshining – soon nothing but a memory? The habit of illicit home distilling is on the wane in Sweden.