Many cheers for this new cottage industry in Pakistan.

Yes, there is prohibition in Pakistan. But there are enough people who drink here to make bootlegging a business worth the risk it involves. Many a restaurant in Islamabad allows people to bring in their own booze and drink; provided they do it discreetly. And, several high-end restaurants have bars fitted in — complete with wine glass racks for stemware — as if perennially geared for the day prohibition is lifted. Looks very unlikely today, but bars are nonetheless commonplace in restaurants and, needless to say, drawing rooms.

Speaking of wine, prohibition and the astronomical prices at which bootleggers sell alcohol have turned wine-making into a mini cottage-industry-of-sorts. Using whatever fruit is available — and fruits are aplenty here — several people make their own wine at home. Some of the stuff going around could give winemakers a run for their money.

Of course, it’s all hush-hush and purely for private circulation. The stuff seldom leaves the premises where it is made. And, when it needs to be “shipped”, the extra-cautious prefer the fruit or milk tetra packs; washed out and dried up to ensure that the wine does not lose its character.

Judging by the age profiles of those who are into this cottage industry, wine-making has been going on in the Pakistan underground for years now, turning it almost into a fine art to be tasted by a select few.