The story of Portugal’s prohibition on cachaça production and subsequent imposition of high taxes occurred because the spirit of Brazil and the new world took away sales and attention from their grape brandy.
In 1647, Portugal outlawed the production of cachaça. After great protests from people who had previously earned money from cachaça production, the crown allowed it to be produced, but at prices that no one could afford or would pay.
In 1660, fed up with the state of things, plantation owners in Rio de Janeiro took over the capital. Yes, angered over the state’s control of cachaça (Brazil was not an independent country at the time), they literally took over the city, and therefore the government.
On September 13, 1661, the Portuguese crown removed the prohibition on making cachaça, as well as onerous taxes, which made its sale impossible in Brazil. Thus, in more recent years, this great historical moment has been recognized within Brazil, and now across the globe, with a special day set aside each year.
This day is an important cultural moment for Brazil. Though cachaça remains under the radar generally, soon, this day will pop up on calendars around the globe, reminding those who are fans of this great spirit, that it’s time to raise a toast to those who came before, and honor the history and culture that created and sustained it for over 500 years.