File - An employee of Armand Guy's distillery serves by the traditional way the absinthe alcohol into the Armand Guy distillery based in Pontarlier on January 13, 2015. AFP PHOTO / SEBASTIEN BOZON
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It's the drink that, more than any lover, drove a generation of artists, from Van Gogh to Oscar Wilde and Verlaine, to distraction.That was the theory, at least, when France banned the green-tinted liquor during World War I, claiming it drove drinkers insane.Since France lifted the ban on selling and drinking absinthe in 1988, Guy has been hard at work to help the spirit shed its dark – and, as it turns out, inaccurate – image.The ravaging mental effects it had on many addicted drinkers – described in French writer Emile Zola's "L'Assommoir" – led France to prohibit the alcohol in 1915 .In the 1900s, Pontarlier had 23 distilleries, which produced 10 million liters of absinthe for domestic and export markets and employed 3,000 people.France now has around 15 distilleries producing 800,000 liters of the green spirit each year, according to the French Federation of Spirits Makers.A fan of the drink, Philipi sells over 300 varieties of absinthe.
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