The Unexpected Downside of Maryland’s Grain Alcohol Ban

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Earlier this year, Maryland enacted a ban on grain alcohol. Considering the epidemic of binge drinking on college campuses, the ban seemed like a pretty good idea. At least if college kids were getting wasted, they could no longer use something that was one step away from rubbing alcohol to do so.

But it turns out that the grain alcohol ban isn’t just affecting college kids mixing up dorm room jungle juice. As the Washington Post reports, there are other people bemoaning the ban–and it’s not who you’d expect.

So it turns out that Everclear, the notorious 190-proof liquor that was one of the casualties of the ban, is a crucial ingredient used to repair the resin on broken or chipped violins:

“There’s really nothing else that works,” said Silver Spring violin maker Howard Needham, who is hoarding the Everclear he has left.

Cake decorators also use Everclear as part of their process, too — basically they dissolve colored powder into high-proof alcohol and use that to paint on fondant. And doomsday preppers also happen to be big fans: “Liquor has its place in a post-apocalyptic world even if you are a teetotaler. Stock up on cheap, high-alcohol content liquors and add it to your long-term food and gear storage. The best liquor for its many different purposes is Everclear,” notes The Shooter’s Log, which lists 40+ ways grain alcohol might be useful in a post-apocalyptic world. (They include: fire starter, stove fuel, “facial astringent and toner,” and “alleviate boredom.”)

Will the violin repairers, cake decorators, doomsday preppers, and frat party hosts join together to form a pro-grain alcohol lobby? Eh, probably not. But if you’ve got any Everclear in the back of your liquor cabinet, now you know who to sell it to.

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