One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
In India: the production and sale of distilled alcoholic drinks; the duty levied on this. Also used allusively with reference to the system of managing the sale of alcohol solely through certain licensed contractors.
Late 18th century. From Urdu āb-kārī and its etymon Persian āb-kārī distillery, tax on the manufacture or sale of spirituous liquors from āb-kār distiller, wine merchant, cup-bearer + -ī, suffix forming abstract nouns.
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