The distillers and the mobile distillers

Very early on, the production of distilled alcohol was controlled by the State to prevent fraud, malfeasance and taxes.

In the 19th century, the distiller could distill on his own account. Owners or farmers who distilled or had distilled fruit exclusively from their own harvest were considered distillers. From 1916 onwards, distillers only benefited from an exemption on 10 litres. Then in 1959, the franchise allowance was abolished for new distillers.

The itinerant distiller or still renter was a professional distiller who travelled around the villages with his itinerant still. He distilled the macerated fruits brought by the distillers. The disappearance of the last distillers led to the disappearance of this profession. [860]

Illustrations :

– 3 Photographs of M. Thomas, an itinerant distiller from Neuvic sur l’Isle in the 1980s ( Photo Pierre Broussouloux ©Musée André Voulgre)

– Video of Pascal Magontier’s portrait of the craftsman Le bouilleur ambulant, 1986.