New Zealand's earlier settlers were a rugged bunch that liked to drown their sorrows and lubricate their successes.
Grog shops and crude hotels sprung up whereever men gathered to take a break from the demands of the gold fields or the challenges of the whaling, timber, flax and farming industries.
As they leaned on the bar swapping yarns, few realised their ritual was under threat.
The God-fearing and class concious community would not tolerate "drunkenness and moray decay" that stemmed from over-indulgence.
Changes were already taking place in Great Britain, where the Temperance movement had waged war to protect society from the demon drink. As early as 1836 it had reached New Zealand.
Soon after the Treaty of Waitangi was signed in 1840, the distillation of spirits was banned. It was the first of many restrictions alcohol would face in the new colony.
And so begins the story that runs through prohibition to the formation of the Mataura Licensing Trust in 1955 and its first 50 years of history.