Nick Offerman is disappointingly not as liberty-minded in real life as the beloved Ron Swanson character he portrayed in the series Parks and Recreation. But in a video released a few months ago, Offerman gets a taste Swanson’s anti-regulatory sentiment when he tries to open a whiskey distillery and is met with obstacles from the government.
Offerman has been painstaking leftist on Second Amendment issues and endorsing political candidates — a huge contrast from the character that has become a reference point for libertarians attempting to explain their political beliefs to family members, who have no idea what it means to be neither Democrat nor a Republican.
While Offerman has not been a champion of liberty in his offscreen life, his love of fine whiskey may be the one issue that turns him from statist celebrity to libertarian hero.
In his video entitled, Nick Offerman’s ‘The Offerman Distillery’, the actor attempts to open his own distillery but soon learns that the government requires an occupational permit in order to do so. Confused and irritated that opening a distillery is such a monstrous bureaucratic feat, Offerman highlights one of the most frustrating forms of government red tape, preventing otherwise productive individuals from earning an honest living.
Expressing his desire to combine his love of whiskey with his love of doing good for other people, Offerman tells his viewers why this distillery is so important to him. Wanting to open his appropriately named “Offerman Distillery” in Scotland’s Isle of Sky, he stakes his sign in the fresh ground and sets off to work.
Aptly demonstrating how all governments seek to control the economies of their various nations, Offerman soon discovers that Scotland has just as much entrepreneurial red tape as the United States.
Can’t Use Your Name?
Just as he begins telling viewers why his whiskey is sure to beat out all the others, his phone rings. A bureaucrat is on the other end of the line, telling Offerman that he needs to apply for a permit, have a full background check conducted, and — taking a swipe at intellectual property — informs him that he does not have legal permission to use his own last name in the distillery, since another company has already had his name trademarked.
A frustrating and relatable montage ensues in which Offerman learns he needs a license before he can apply for the required permit and then proceeds to endure a round of irrelevant questioning from the faceless agent of the state. Finally, after being subjected to the horrors of “on hold” music for what seems like hours, someone finally answers, only to tell him he will be placed on hold yet again.
After calculating the amount of paperwork and various government procedures that he must complete, Offerman resolves that it will be at least 23 years before he is able to produce his first bottle of whiskey.
As is government’s specialty, the state’s hurdles crush Offerman’s entrepreneurial spirit. Realizing how tedious it is to set up an above-board distillery, Offerman moves his business to the “black market,” selling his whiskey from a homemade booth akin to lemonade stands run by children in the summer.
Unfortunately, he is quickly told that his actions are illegal and he abandons his effort entirely.
While Offerman’s comedic skills make this experience both hilarious and infuriating to the viewers, he has, perhaps unknowingly, channeled his inner Ron Swanson.
While it may have only been for a few moments, Offerman shows that even celebrities have at least one issue where their views are, often unknowingly, libertarian. And for this Parks and Recreation star, the government better keep their hands off his whiskey.