When it comes to prepping for these long-term SHTF situations, you’re going to want to remember that trading and bartering will become very important to your everyday life. Without stores to go out and purchase what you need, if you happen to run low on something, you’re going to have to propose an exchange to your peers. Typically if you have something good to trade – something that they want – they’ll give you what you want in return.
Under social collapse, we as a species have always bartered, traded, and formed cohesive micro-societies. So don’t think that just because the SHTF, everything will suddenly change and every person you encounter will be an isolationist. Even in war zones, having the perfect items to trade – something other than simply ammo and food – can make a good friend out of an enemy. That perfect item is more times than not alcohol. But why alcohol? Well…
A COPPER DISTILLER ALWAYS HAS ALCOHOL AROUND
Why Should I Bother to Stockpile Alcohol?
1. Alcohol is often used as an economic baseline.
To put it simply, alcohol is a commodity that everyone understands the value of. Its worth is inherent, both in its immediate effects as a pick me up/environmental painkiller, and for the more serious uses that in general alcohol (though especially spirits) can be used for. These two reasons make alcohol an absolutely fantastic commodity to trade with.
Relative worth is easier to ascertain when you’re trading in bottles of booze. It’s much easier to use a bottle of whiskey as the baseline currency, as opposed to a bag of apples, or 20 caplets of painkillers. Why? Well the apples gain value the hungrier you are, and pain killers gain value the more pain you are in. Alcohol is like ammo – its value can be ascertained accurately without being dependent on a time frame or state of mind.
2. Alcohol is a social lubricant.
In times of strife, we have to cut down – way down. It’s hard to do this, and just because we cut down, that of course doesn’t mean we cease to be humans. As social beings, we occasionally want to feel normal, even when our environment is anything but normal.
Selco from SHTF School discussed in length why and how people seek normalcy whilst living in a war zone:
When you are inside your head in complete chaos, so many different emotions, using drugs to get away from everything to get one feeling that you know, even if feeling is not real and just you taking something, it is relief. It feels like you get to place you are familiar with in world that is full of chaos and suffering.
From tobacco to whiskey, we all have our vices, and as TEOTWAWKI or some pretty severe SHTF situations become our new normal, we will gravitate towards those vices as something to help cop with life.
And for celebrating special occasions in a post-crisis world: alcohol is a huge help. Don’t forget that life goes on even during a crisis. Though you might find it hard to imagine what, psychologically, things will feel like – you can teach yourself through reading about other people’s experiences. For the sake of this post, however, just knowing that, if not you, many of those around you will want alcohol to help cope and celebrate is enough – because it means that having alcohol around to trade is very useful since many others will want it.
3. Alcohol has utility and first aid applications.
These are absolutely important in a post-crisis world. The obvious example here is that alcohol can be used as an effective disinfectant. That being said, it of course has many more extremely valuable applications as well. It can be used not only as a way of keeping wounds free from infection, but for keeping nausea at bay, or for making dental work more bearable for the patient.
Its historical value in the field of medicine is rich, and it still continues to be used heavily in first aid applications in more recent SHTF events. During the Balkan wars and the Argentinian economic collapse, alcohol was commonly used as an alternative to more “modern” medical supplies because it was much easier, and less expensive, to get a hold of. Don’t underestimate the value of a spirit when it comes to SHTF first aid!
So Which Alcohol Should I Be Stockpiling?
Okay, so now that we’ve cemented your understanding of some of the different ways that booze can be helpful in a SHTF situation, we’ll show you exactly which types are the best to stockpile.
Traditionally, when discussing which booze one should hoard, focus tends to lie exclusively on spirits like vodka or whiskey. There’s really very good reason for this, which we’ll delve into further a little later, but there are actually a few other alcohols that would make the cut if you’re interested in some variety with regards to your stockpile. That being said, if you’re not a variety kind of person, it’s safe to say that sticking to purchasing a few crates of rum, whisky, and vodka will certainly be enough to do you worlds of good.
To show you (instead of just telling you) which alcohols are best for stockpiling, I’ve created a nice table for visual reference that’s good for comparing different alcohols across the charts when it comes to most important factors to help you determine which alcohols are best to stockpile: average alcohol percentage, average proof, and expiry date.
Here’s what you should be looking out for…
- Anything above 60% can be used as surgical alcohol.
- Anything above 40% can be used to disinfect wounds for first aid purposes.
Alcohol proof is another way of measuring the percentage of alcohol in each beverage. I’ve included it in the chart because sometimes proofs are included on labels rather than percentages. To get the percentage of alcohol from the alcohol proof, simply divide by 2. Vice versa is also true (double the alcohol percentage to get the alcohol proof).
- Anything above 120° can be used as surgical alcohol.
- Anything above 80° can be used to disinfect wounds for first aid purposes.
Obviously, the longer the alcohol will last without expiring the better. Just as a heads up, the higher the alcohol percentage and proof, the further away the expiry of the alcohol tends to be. Also, while wines and beers, for instance, need to be closed in order to keep their shelf life, spirits and moonshine/Everclear can be opened and still last indefinitely.
One disclaimer before I get to the chart. Please note that I’m using the average alcohol content and shelf life. I feel pretty confident that some smart ass will pop over to quip that a Belgium lambic beer can be stored for over a decade with no detriment, but that is an anomaly, not the rule. Beers and wines typically do not last anywhere near that long, and if you don’t believe me, snap up a cheap Zinfandel and open in 10 years – it’ll basically be vinegar.
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