Gill wiped down two more bottles and set them next to the case on top of the bar. Three full cases sat halfway down the bar. Another fifteen were loaded on the panel truck outback of Rattigan’s. Ten more cases to go and they’d have enough liquor to get them through the fullest moon nights to hit the Peak in over a year. This had to happen right on top of Fair opening night. They’d done what they could to mitigate the circumstances.
The contents of each bottle held the ale Lex and Louie carefully mixed and aged under Dante’s care. More like threat of shredded asses if shifters only got potioned. Dante didn’t like the idea of trickery. Local shifters would understand the hint due to the ale’s name, Full Moonlight Ale. Humans would think the name was a play on the other two major brewers using moon in their names. Anyone who drank the smooth pale amber liquid would get a mild buzz that lasted for a few hours. Hops mixed with other fermented grains produced a higher alcohol content than regular beer and kept the proof well below harder stuff. Mystic Falls would have a hard cider lemonade stand next to the Rattigan’s as well as Sandy Valley’s twisted tea booth. Who knew that the growing shape shifter communities in Mystic Falls and Sandy Valley would vote to join in on the idea of selling alcohol to help control an outbreak spooked humans if and when the shifters morphed?
Gill glued labels on the bottles close to him. Rattigan’s Microbrewery distilled small amounts of beers, liquors, and the occasional fermented drink for a small group of local connoisseurs. They usually provided their own ingredients for the obnoxious smelling concoctions they fermented. Two months ago, Bettina started experimenting with the fermenting process. Her results yielded a blood red ale and beer combination she named Vampire Surprise. The fangs that drank it loved the kick and the lingering buzz. The brew contained enough sanguine ingredients to sate their blood lust. Louie sold out of the stock almost as fast as Bettina and her business partner, the local blood bank, could distill the drink. The blood bank mixed human and shifter blood together in the pouches they delivered while still fulfilling their community obligation to the hospital and vet clinic.
Louie’s voice followed by Dante’s flowed out the open kitchen door. “Dante, thanks for helping us come up with a solution to what might otherwise be a full moon fiasco.”
“You’re welcome, Louie. I’ve got pledges from shifters and humans to help with policing attendees and keeping their consumption within reason.” Dante’s voice carried his businessman tone. Gill knew Dante respected and loved the Peak as much as any citizen, but Dante pulled no punches about where his ethics stood on keeping everyone safe.
“I hope,” Louie started as a yell sounded. A loud rumble followed by the floor shaking. “Shit, some dumb shifter is tinkering with the fermentation process again!” Any more of Louie’s response was lost as a loud clanging started as the floor quaked harder. Gill shook his head and ran around the bar.
As he reached the kitchen door, Gill found Dante was holding his sides laughing. Bettina’s six-foot-ten body guard stood in front of Louie looking down at him. Louie stood toe to toe with the brute shaking his meat clever at him while holding a sharp wooden stake in his other hand. Nelson kept nodding as Louie cussed, said something in Jersey speak and cussed again. The chef hat Nelson wore bobbed every time he nodded. And the white butcher’s apron he wore fit him like a 1950’s housewife apron. His cameo t-shirt and black jeans served to make the hat and apron standout more. Yet, he was the chief brewer and fermenter. Bettina mentioned Nelson’s assorted past and alluded to bootlegging and moonshine recipes.
Dante wiped his eyes and turned to Gill. “We got things under control for now. I might need to talk to Lex about having Marissa set up a pastry stand next to their coffee booth. Her anti-angst muffins and other soothing magical sweets might be the offset we need. Not to mention making sure plenty of food is available period.”
Gill grinned. “Hot, horny shifters, booze, sweets, and lots of other food, right! I hope the humans attending don’t give us as much trouble. Good thing we set a curfew on kid attendance.”
Gill moved back into Rattigan’s dining room. His term as mayor was turning out differently than he expected.