This is all particularly true for the products we frequently purchase, like alcohol. Do the math.
I’m sure it’s a significant cliche to note how we as a society of mass consumers are returning to a time when the bulk of the items we thoroughly gorge on and even the tchotchkes and idols we hoard are made in our bountiful backyard rather than in some other state or more likely a faraway land where workers are brutalized. But since said progress is just anecdotal and I’m writing this on a conflict computer wearing jeans sewn in Sri Lanka, let’s gallop down that beaten pathway anyhow, it’s an important one.
In our last issue, dedicated to local music, I encouraged readers to flank musicians and everyone else who makes that scene tick. That neighborly philosophy is beneficial for a zillion reasons on the band and venue front, and when we’re talking about food and goods and gear and everything else one might want to treat or feed themselves with, that local-first imperative has the additional bonus of keeping trucks off the road and thence dinosaur bones in the ground. It’s almost too intuitive—why buy an egg dropped all the way in Cali when there are plenty of hens right near the Hub? As we said back in the ’80s, when gutless politicians opened up the doors to allow for so much needless global exchange—duh!
This is all particularly true for the products we frequently purchase, like alcohol. Do the math. If you drink a $35 bottle of whiskey once a month, that’s $400 a year. Multiply that by several hundred people, and it’s the difference between a small business dying or surviving. Unless you’re drinking gutter swill, it’s not like there’s some kind of major price difference between a local spirit and a Bacardi or Absolut that spends millions of dollars on marketing annually (though not in the Dig, fuckers). So basically, you have nothing to lose in sipping something from a spot like Bully Boy Distillers (Roxbury) or Boston Harbor Distillery (Dorchester) over a big brand—you get a finer potion plus a chance to support the community.
We visited those two facilities, as well as several sellers of fine local liquors, for this issue, all in an attempt to shine light on a corner of Boston’s consumable economy that doesn’t always get the credit it deserves. In addition to keeping us lit, many of these businesses have also paid it forward throughout the pandemic.
In short, they hold us down. Thanks to skilled distillers, millers, bartenders, and farmers cultivating crops to morph into sweet wildwater here in Mass, I’m confident that cockeyed Commonwealth crusaders could secede from the union and we’d still stay sufficiently buzzed for a lifetime without having to import any booze from the south.
And when you’re drunk, the smaller your carbon footprint, the easier it is to find your way home.
CHRIS FARAONE, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF
A Queens, NY native who came to New England in 2004 to earn his MA in journalism at Boston University, Chris Faraone is the editor and co-publisher of DigBoston and a co-founder of the Boston Institute for Nonprofit Journalism. He has published several books including 99 Nights with the 99 Percent, and has written liner notes for hip-hop gods including Cypress Hill, Pete Rock, Nas, and various members of the Wu-Tang Clan.