A worker at a water treatment plant in Groton, Mass., was apparently interested in something a little stronger than plain old H2O.
The unidentified man is accused of making moonshine after a distillery machine was found on the premises of the water treatment plant in October.
Groton Town Manager, Mark Haddad, said the employee was immediately put on paid leave pending an investigation. However, since the man decided to retire, the town’s investigation ended.
A police investigation is still ongoing, but Haddad says the town water supply was never in jeopardy.
While the moonshiners of the past made large quantities of liquor to sell during prohibition, Haddad suspects the man was actually trying out a new hobby.
“I think it was a personal experiment,” said Haddad. ”I don’t think he produced enough to sell or distribute that way.”
Haddad says the authorities believe the device had been there for about a month before it was found along with a few mason jars.
While many may wonder why a town employee would brew moonshine at his workplace, Dave Willis, a distiller at the Bully Boys Distillery in Boston, says it might have been safer than trying to brew alcohol in his home. “If someone had a large open space and there weren’t a lot of people around,” said Willis. “I don’t want say it makes sense, but that’s where you typically do it.”
While it’s not clear how long the apparatus was at the plant, Willis, who has not been involved in the case, said the worker wouldn’t need much more than a few five gallon buckets and some copper piping to get started. “It [can be] a really small apparatus,” said Willis. “Maybe it produces 2 pints of drinkable alcohol. “
Although moonshiners seemingly disappeared with the end of prohibition, Willis says that being able to make homemade liquor has always held appeal for some.
“Some people want to make spirits in a unique way,” said Willis. “It’s like anything that involves creativity.”
For Haddad, the return of moonshine is baffling. “I’ve been in town government for over 25 years, that’s got to be the first time I came across this,” said Haddad.