In colonial times, the production of cachaca was an important activity of Brazil, leading to the reduction of the consumption of bagaceira, a brandy imported from Portugal. Worried by the success of cachaça, the Portuguese, after the mandate, or Carta Real of 13 September, 1649, prohibited the production and sale of cachaca in all of Brazilian territory. Perhaps we can view this as the Brazilian Prohibition.
The producers of sugarcane and still-owners, indignant from the constant attacks on their dignity and additional taxes over the many years and persecuted for selling cachaça, revolted on the 13th of September, 1661 and took power in Rio de Janeiro for five months resulting in one of first independence movements within Brazil, the Revolta da Cachaça.
Once royal power was reinstated, the movement was crushed with violence and its leader, Jerônimo Barbalho Bezerra, was imprisoned and decapitated – and his head was placed at the entrance to the city -, as an example for the people of Rio de Janeiro.
Therefore, on the 13th of September, Brazil commemorates the “National Day of Cachaça” as a form of remembrance of the times of colonial Brazil, when cachaça was a symbol of resistance against Portuguese dominion.