Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Val-U-Rite viper

I'm a big believer in both the entrepreneurial spirit and the Ace of Spades Lifestyle™, and it looks like a guy down in Texas has found a way to blend the two. Perhaps unsurprisingly, this may lead to prison time:
A rattlesnake rancher who calls himself Bayou Bob found a new way to make money: Stick a rattler inside a bottle of vodka and market the concoction as an "ancient Asian elixir." But Bayou Bob Popplewell's bright idea appears to have landed him on the wrong side of the law, because he has no liquor license.

Popplewell, who has raised rattlesnakes and turtles at Bayou Bob's Brazos River Rattlesnake Ranch for more than two decades, surrendered to authorities Monday. He spent about 10 minutes in jail after the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission obtained arrest warrants on misdemeanor charges of selling alcohol without a license and possessing alcohol with intent to sell.

If convicted, he faces up to a year in jail and $1,000 in fines.

Popplewell said he will fight the charges. His intent, he said, is not to sell an alcoholic beverage but a healing tonic. He said he has customers of Asian descent who believe the concoction has medicinal properties.

"It's almost a spiritual thing," said Popplewell, 63.
Well, there are definitely spirits involved, but I'm not really sure how a dead snake in a bottle of Val-U-Rite vodka provides one with a religious experience. Not even if you drink a lot of it. That mostly just gives you alcohol poisoning.
But alcohol commission agent Scott Jones pointed out that investigators confiscated 429 bottles of snake vodka and one bottle of snake tequila. At $23 a bottle, that's almost $10,000 worth of reptilian booze.

Even if Popplewell intended his drink be used as a healing tonic — an assertion the alcohol commission disputes — his use of vodka requires a state permit, authorities said.

"It's sold for beverage purposes, and he knows what he's doing," commission Sgt. Charlie Cloud said.

Popplewell said he uses the cheapest vodka he can find as a preservative for the snakes. The end result is a super sweet mixed drink that Popplewell compared to cough syrup.

"I've honestly never seen a person drink it," he said.
That's probably due to the fact that you can buy cough syrup (which contains very little snake, I'm told by reliable sources) for a lot less than twenty three bucks.

That, and the fact that it sounds pretty effing nasty. Most people I know prefer not to have dead reptiles in their booze.

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