Moonshine distillation was done at night to avoid discovery. Once the liquor was distilled, drivers called “runners” or “bootleggers” smuggled moonshine and “bootleg” (illegally imported) liquor across the region in cars specially modified for speed and load-carrying capacity.
Is it illegal to make moonshine outside of a distillery?
- Moonshine is used as an umbrella term to refer to all alcohol brewed all night but is more commonly used to refer to a specific high proof liquor. Distilling such spirits outside a registered distillery remains illegal in most countries.
- 1 How was moonshine transported?
- 2 How did alcohol get smuggled during Prohibition?
- 3 Who brought moonshine to America?
- 4 Who smuggled alcohol called?
- 5 How did bootleggers modify their cars?
- 6 Why was moonshine made illegal?
- 7 What did bootleggers do?
- 8 Are there still bootleggers?
- 9 How did speakeasies get alcohol?
- 10 Who is the most famous moonshiner?
- 11 How did moonshine get started?
- 12 What liquor did America invent?
- 13 What were illegal drinkers during Prohibition?
- 14 Who were the drys?
- 15 How much did bootleggers make during Prohibition?
- 16 How Moonshine Bootlegging Gave Rise to NASCAR
- 17 From Moonshine to NASCAR
- 18 Moonshine Running Stock Cars
- 19 Racing Bootleggers
- 20 Smuggling Moonshine
- 21 Illicit Distillers
- 22 Professional Smugglers
- 23 Costumers and market conditions
- 24 Silent supporters
- 25 Fiscal and legal background
- 26 1. Not all moonshine is illegal, nor is it dangerous.
- 27 2. A triple X once indicated a moonshine’s quality.
- 28 3. Moonshine inspired NASCAR.
- 29 4. America’s first legal moonshine distillery was launched in 2005.
- 30 5. Mountain Dew was originally created as a chaser for whiskey.
- 31 The history of the great Moonshine smuggling
- 32 The roots of Moonshine smuggling
- 33 The Whiskey Rebellion
- 34 More taxes and the Civil War
- 35 The prohibition triggered moonshine smuggling
- 36 How Moonshine Works
- 37 Bootleggers and Bathtub Gin – Prohibition: An Interactive History
- 38 Hooch and Hell Raisin’: Women Bootleggers
- 38.0.1 Maggie Bailey “Queen of the Mountain Bootleggers”
- 38.0.2 The Bootleg Lady of Glacier Park
- 38.0.3 Moonshine Mary
- 38.0.4 The Rum-Running Queen
- 38.0.5 Bertie Brown
- 38.0.6 Nancy the Moonshiner
- 38.0.7 Gertrude “Cleo” Lythgoe
- 38.0.8 Moonshine Has NASCAR Roots
- 38.0.9 The First Female Prohibition Agent
- 38.0.10 Lady Hooch Hunter
How was moonshine transported?
Moonshiners had to come up with inventive new ways to safely transport their goods without being detected. Some people stored their moonshine into a separate gas tank, while others stored it in water bottles. Moonshiners were able to transport their beverage with ease thanks to these performance upgrades.
How did alcohol get smuggled during Prohibition?
Rum running, the organized smuggling of imported whiskey, rum and other liquor by sea and over land to the United States, started within weeks after Prohibition took effect on January 17, 1920. Loads of rum from the Caribbean, imported champagne and other alcohol also made it ashore.
Who brought moonshine to America?
Jamestown: America’s Moonshine Roots Fast forward to the 1700s, when the English, Germans, and Scots-Irish began immigrating to America and settling into western Virginia’s backcountry, where they would bring their own traditions for making homemade spirits, using fruits to make brandy and grains to produce whiskey.
Who smuggled alcohol called?
People that made alcohol and smuggled it into cities or to bars were called ” bootleggers.” Some bootleggers sold homemade whiskey called “moonshine” or “bathtub gin.” Bootleggers would often have modified cars to help them outrun the federal agents trying to catch them.
How did bootleggers modify their cars?
In hopes of improving their chances of outrunning prohibition cops, bootleggers modified their cars and trucks by enhancing the engines and suspensions to make their vehicles faster. These cars were called moonshine runners.
Why was moonshine made illegal?
So why is moonshine still illegal? Because the liquor is worth more to the government than beer or wine. Uncle Sam takes an excise tax of $2.14 for each 750-milliliter bottle of 80-proof spirits, compared with 21 cents for a bottle of wine (of 14 percent alcohol or less) and 5 cents for a can of beer.
What did bootleggers do?
BOOTLEGGING. In January 1920, the Eighteenth Amendment became law, banning the manufacture, transportation, importation, and sale of intoxicating liquors in the United States. The people who illegally made, imported, or sold alcohol during this time were called bootleggers.
Are there still bootleggers?
Although the well-known bootleggers of the day may no longer be in business, bootlegging still exists, even if on a smaller scale. The state of Virginia has reported that it loses up to $20 million a year from illegal whiskey smuggling. Absinthe was smuggled into the United States until it was legalized in 2007.
How did speakeasies get alcohol?
Bootleggers who supplied the private bars would add water to good whiskey, gin and other liquors to sell larger quantities. Others resorted to selling still-produced moonshine or industrial alcohol, wood or grain alcohol, even poisonous chemicals such as carbolic acid.
Who is the most famous moonshiner?
1. Marvin “Popcorn” Sutton. Of course, we wouldn’t be talking moonshine without the man, the myth, the legend, Marvin “Popcorn” Sutton. The most recognized modern moonshiner, good old hillbilly Popcorn Sutton was born in Maggie Valley, North Carolina in 1949.
How did moonshine get started?
The moment the government started to tax and control alcohol was also the moment the moonshine industry began. The term “moonshine” comes from the fact that illegal spirits were made under the light of the moon. The United States started taxing liquors and spirits shortly after the American Revolution.
What liquor did America invent?
It is illegal to make liquor in Bourbon County. But yes: Bourbon—whiskey made from corn, aged in new oak barrels—is an American invention and it has to be made right here in America.
What were illegal drinkers during Prohibition?
Dry. A noun used in reference to a man or woman who is opposed to the legal sale of alcoholic beverages. Bureau of Prohibition agents were often referred to as Dry Agents (though corruption among this crew ran rampant).
Who were the drys?
From the days of early settlement in the late 1800s, the struggle between the “Drys” — those who sought to ban alcohol — and the “Wets” — those who were in favor — shaped the relationship between the Red River border communities of Fargo and Moorhead.
How much did bootleggers make during Prohibition?
When the gang’s henchmen made the rounds to these family enterprises, they paid a nice return of $15 (about $188 in 2016) each day to oversee production of gallons of pure alcohol. The Gennas made a tidy profit – the illegal liquor cost them only 50 to 75 cents per gallon, and they sold it to speakeasies for $6.
How Moonshine Bootlegging Gave Rise to NASCAR
Piranka/iStock Former distillers gathered in secret sites in rural sections of the southern United States to produce homemade spirits for sale beneath the radar and away from alcohol taxes and prohibition. This was even before Prohibition was repealed. The beverages were prepared under the light of the moon in the hopes that no one would see the smoke rising from the stills and thereby bust the operation—a technique that gave the liquor the nickname “moonshine” for its association with the moon.
Farmers and immigrants throughout the southern United States began producing their own batches of products to sell for additional money, free of tax, in order to combat the impacts of great poverty in the area.
In Kentucky, there is still an original moonshine still on exhibit.
On the outside, the automobiles seemed “stock,” or ordinary enough to avoid drawing notice.
In order to prevent the jars carrying the booze from shattering while traveling down rocky mountain roads, the trucks were equipped with heavy-duty shocks and springs.
Furthermore, high-powered engines provided the automobiles with an advantage in terms of speed, allowing them to avoid any cops or tax officers who may have been on the road.
This group of drivers became well-known for their high-speed reckless driving, inventing maneuvers like the bootleg turn, in which the drivers would quickly turn the car around in a controlled skid, either to avoid pursuing officers or to play a game of chicken with them, driving head-on at full speed until the pursuer suddenly changed course.
- Because of the end of Prohibition, the market for bootlegged booze began to dwindle, and the runners found themselves with souped-up automobiles but still bereft of work—despite the fact that they continued to participate in organized races.
- The first official race was held two months after the first practice run.
- Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works North Carolina Moonshine, published by Arcadia Publishing in January, is a book on the Tar Heel State’s part in the history of firewater.
- Secret garages are mentioned in the book, including one tucked away in a wooded area near the North Carolina-Virginia state boundary that was established in the 1930s and focused on moonshine automobiles.
and Barbara Nichols Mulder argue that “this shop was handled for more than 35 years by a cunning, huge, and crafty technician named Jelly Belly, who serviced moonshine runners from far and wide with powerful automobiles that were practically untouchable.” In contemporary times, the garage is long gone, but archaeologists and anthropologists may still discover relics of moonshine operations hidden away in little nooks alongside rivers and in caves throughout Appalachia and the Blue Ridge Mountains.
- They can be difficult to locate, and it can be practically impossible to identify whether the debris is in fact an antique still or simply a mound of garbage and scrap metal in certain cases.
- Dawsonville, Georgia hosts the Mountain Moonshine Festival.
- A number of legendary NASCAR drivers visit this event to meet and greet their fans, and the organizers have assembled one of the country’s greatest collections of actual moonshine-hauling vehicles.
- The entire event is in support of Kare for Kids, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the lives of local children.
- This Georgia distillery was founded by a real moonshining family from the surrounding region.
- Visitors will not be able to purchase the spirit on site, but they will be able to take a tour and sample it.
- /SinisterMedia/iStock Millions of gallons of moonshine were transported from the mountains to the city of Atlanta by bootleggers in Dawson County, Georgia, during prohibition.
- Hikers travelling to the county’s Amicalola Falls, a spectacular cascading 729-foot cascade, may view the wreckage of a 1940s bootlegger truck that slid off the road and down a 200-foot hill, slamming into a stand of poplar trees, which is now a nature preserve and museum.
- In order to see the crash, take the main route to the falls and look up and to the right approximately halfway down the trail.
- Hickory Nut Gorge in North Carolina FotoMonkee/iStock Inside this fissure cave in Hickory Nut Gorge, the crew at Chimney Rock State Park has built up a duplicate still and whiskey business, named Moonshiner’s Cave, to commemorate the park’s founding.
- A cave identical to this one, which is supposed to contain the remains of a genuine still, may be located near Moonshiner’s Arch in Kentucky’s Red River Gorge.
Hikers may also stop at another moonshiner’s shelter, this one in Arkansas’ Devil’s Den State Park, which is a stone structure carved into a rock overhang by distillers in the early 1900s. AlcoholCarsProhibition Sports Travel Videos That Should Be Watched
From Moonshine to NASCAR
Moonshine is a type of alcoholic beverage that is produced under the cover of darkness in order to avoid discovery of smoke rising from clandestine stills. When the United States Constitution’s 18th Amendment prohibited the sale of alcoholic beverages, the illicitly manufactured high-proof distilled spirit known as moonshine saw an explosion in popularity. So started the Prohibition era (1920-1933), which resulted in an expansion of illicit smuggling of alcoholic beverages throughout the United States.
After the invention of the automobile, bootleggers became a general term to apply to anybody who smuggled alcoholic beverages by the mail or by car (of the alcohol variety).
They did this by modifying the engines and suspensions of their vehicles in order to make them quicker.
Moonshine Running Stock Cars
When it came to customizing an automobile to turn it into a moonshine runner, the first rule of thumb was to be discreet. The vehicle had to be “stock” in appearance; it couldn’t have any spectacular upgrades that might draw attention away from the main road. Moonshine runners employed a range of automobiles, including Dodge Coronets, Oldsmobile Rocket 88s, and Chevrolet Coupes, to transport their wares. The Ford Model A Coupe, on the other hand, was the most popular automobile of all time. It was ideal for the purpose since it was quite popular for the time, powered by a Flathead V8 engine, had easily adaptable suspensions, and had a spacious trunk.
These automobiles were not only required to travel at high speeds, but they were also required to transport a substantial amount of weight.
Leaf springs were added by bootleggers to strengthen the suspension, allowing them to handle a greater amount of weight.
To avoid being tracked down by the authorities, bootleggers would use “stolen” license plates on their runs in order to avoid being apprehended.
They would also install switches that would turn off their taillights and brake lights, which would aid them in avoiding any coppers who may be following them.
Bootleggers would rely on their knowledge of local roads and exploit it to their advantage because prohibition officers did not have the same level of familiarity with the backroads as they did. To get rid of them, drivers would perform “the 180,” in which they would twist their automobile 180 degrees and fly right by the law enforcement officers on your trail. Junior Johnson, a former bootlegger, moonshiner, and NASCAR racer, was well-known for employing this tactic in his criminal activities.
Johnson was just 14 when he started working for his father’s moonshine business – before he even had a driver’s license: “I didn’t need one, ’cause I wasn’t going to slow down!” Bootleggers used to race against each other on wide dirt fields or on backroads in their spare time, demonstrating who had the fastest vehicle and who was the greatest driver.
As a result of Prohibition being dissolved in 1933, a large number of bootleggers and moonshiners transitioned into respectable liquor enterprises.
Junior Johnson, Benny Parsons, and Lee Petty were among those who did so.
saw a need for a formal organization and created the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing, now known as NASCAR.
Brandy, tea, and salt are among the products that gained notoriety as smuggling targets during the 18th century. What if I told you that Scottish whisky was a target of illegal trade, particularly between 1780 and 1823? Would you believe it? As a result of the unlawful production of whisky at night in small cottages in the Highlands, and the covert transportation of whisky to ports for further distribution, whisky was referred to as “moonshine” at the time.
Distillers came from a diverse range of social backgrounds, including farmers, labourers, and widows. Poverty was the motivating cause for illegal distillation and smuggling operations. The agricultural output in the Highlands was low, and there was little in the way of crafts and industry. For this reason, hundreds of illegal stills were set up across the Scottish glens, which were abundant in fresh water and pure air, in order to generate a tiny additional income.
These stills were illegal since most individuals couldn’t afford to get a very costly distilling license, which was out of reach for most of them. Being involved in clandestine distilling and defrauding the tax was not seen as a criminal offense or a source of public embarrassment.
Setting up the business
The process of distilling whiskey did not need full-time attention. It might be completed at home throughout the month of October, following harvest. A future clandestine distiller may save money by, for example, spending a season in the industries of the Lowlands’ major cities and living there on a shoestring budget, and then investing the shillings earned in the purchase of the necessary equipment for the distillation process. It was too expensive to get a license for distilling as well. For pot-still distillation, the entire equipment was less than 4 pounds.
In addition, you would need to purchase supplies, which would cost between 15 and 20 shillings.
The drawbacks of the business
The consequences of clandestine production were many. It was improbable that you would be able to obtain the greatest possible monetary reward for your efforts:
- You were operating from home, in a little area, and as a result, you didn’t have a store where you could keep supplies until the prices for your goods increased. Farmers charged you a greater price for grain than you would have received on the open market
- Professional smugglers were in charge of ensuring that the merchandise was distributed properly. These individuals were in charge of dealing with stores and customers. The possibility of being found by excisemen existed at all times. They would seize your product and maybe destroy your equipment (though this was seldom done because they were compensated for bringing confiscated illicit liquor to the police)
- They would even arrest you.
Overall, becoming wealthy through the distillation of whiskey was not an easy task. However, it would make it possible for you to pay the rent.
Most whisky smuggling was done by skilled smugglers who had a lot of expertise in illicit activities over a lengthy period of time. In the years prior to dealing with whisky, they had frequently been successful in subversive anti-Campbell and Jacobite activities, and they had clandestinely imported products such as rum, gin, red and white wine (including vinegar), olive oil (including raisins), tobacco (including soap), and soap (including soap). The trade was well-connected, and landowners and local judges generally tolerated, if not actively encouraged, the activities of the organization.
Professional smugglers traveled in big paramilitary groups, which were accompanied by police. As part of their strategy, they pretended to be soldiers and used alarm routines such as visual signaling through flames and smoke, as well as flags and banners. The staging of fictitious funeral processions in order to carry liquor in coffins or hearses was less militaristic in its inspiration. In order to distinguish them from the rest, certain whiskey casks were designed to seem like someone riding pillion behind a horse-borne man.
Women as smugglers
The large proportion of female smugglers participating in the smuggling of Scottish whiskey made it stand out from other forms of smuggling. They frequently operated in close proximity to port towns and in broad daylight, directly in front of the eyes of law enforcement. Women, for example, wore two-gallon ‘belly canteens’ fashioned of sheet iron around their waists to keep their drinks hydrated. These lumps seemed to be pregnancy bumps since they were covered by the dress’s fabric. Women have even been known to conceal bottles in the carcasses of unplucked dead geese.
An additional female activity associated with smuggling was that the spouses of smugglers delivered gifts to the wives of excisemen in the shape of veal, poultry, butter and – naturally – whisky. In return, the wives of excisemen were notified when the patrols would go after the smugglers.
Costumers and market conditions
At one point in time in 1770, whiskey was referred to be a’modern liquor.’ It gradually gained popularity alongside other alcoholic beverages like as brandy, ale, claret, and gin. The whiskey drink, on the other hand, rose to become the most popular beverage among the Scottish lower classes beginning about 1785, and even the most popular liquor among the Edinburgh and Glasgow High Society beginning around 1800. As a result of clandestine distillers having access to high-quality grain, the quality of Highland whiskey had improved, and this was a contributing factor.
The Highland magistrates and landowners had a liberal stance toward illegal distillers and their operations. The distillers were tenants in the neighborhood, and they were responsible for paying their rent. In fact, poverty in the Highlands was so severe that tenants participating in unlawful whiskey manufacturing were sometimes the only ones who could afford to pay their rents on time. It is predicted that if a landowner allowed distillation to take place on his or her property, the rents on certain estates might be treble.
Fiscal and legal background
What was it about unlawful distillation and smuggling in Scotland that made it so popular? Scottish and English parliaments were combined in 1707, and the English system of customs taxes and excise was implemented into Scotland at the same time as the English system. As a result, levies on some items sold north of the border increased by a factor of seven. In addition, a tax on malt, which is a key component in the manufacturing of whiskey, was imposed in 1725. Throughout the decades of 1780-1820, the price of grain continued to rise.
Until 1814, the production of whiskey was allowed — provided it was properly licensed and taxed.
It’s no surprise that smuggling grew in popularity.
Landowners were also pressured to evict tenants who were distilling illegally on their property.
In T. M. Devine’s The Rise and Fall of Illicit Whisky-Making in Northern Scotland, c. 1780-1840 (The Scottish Historical Review, Vol. 54, No. 158, Part 2 (October, 1975), pp. 155-177, he describes the rise and fall of illicit whisky-making in Northern Scotland over the period 1780-1840. Scotland’s Secret History: The Illicit Distilling and Smuggling of Whisky; gathered and edited by Marc Ellington; Birlinn, 2015. Charles MacLean and Daniel MacCannell: Scotland’s Secret History: The Illicit Distilling and Smuggling of Whisky The Smugglers and the Whisky Roads: A Look Back at Scottish History Online The Whisky Roads of Scotland by Derek Cooper and Fay Goodwin was published by Hobhouse Ltd in 1982.
Smuggling in the British Isles: A History, by Richard Platt, published by The History Press in 2011.
Moonshine has a rich history that is as diverse as the many different forms of the spirit itself. The majority of people are aware of the infamous side of the country’s history, yet this uniquely American spirit has many attributes that should be honored today. Do you still not believe us? Here are five interesting facts about this specialized spirit that you probably didn’t know.
1. Not all moonshine is illegal, nor is it dangerous.
Moonshiners have always produced their own booze in order to circumvent compliance with laws, taxes, and regulations. Bad batches or poor manufacturing procedures (such as distilling in vehicle radiators) might result in a product containing high levels of potentially hazardous substances, such as methanol, if there were no FDA inspectors present to guarantee that safety and quality criteria were fulfilled. Consuming methanol can cause the blood to become acidic, which can result in blindness, convulsions, and even death.
If their booze was substandard, or if people became ill or died as a result of drinking it, the moonshiner responsible would be forced out of business.
Because the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) does not have an official definition for moonshine, it is often classified as a “other” or “specialty spirit” under the categorization “other spirits.” According to Colin Blake, Moonshine University’s Director of Spirits Education, “Moonshine continues to be the Wild West of spirits, but not for legal reasons.” As opposed to other spirits, legally manufactured moonshine can be prepared from any source material, at any proof, with any coloring or flavoring added — the whole shebang.
There are no guidelines regarding how it should be classified.” In other words, the “moonshine” name that we see on a variety of spirits today is a movable feast.
In other words, the moonshine you buy at your local liquor shop is legal and safe for use under reasonable conditions.
2. A triple X once indicated a moonshine’s quality.
You might recall seeing allusions to moonshine in a jug with the letter XXX in it throughout popular culture. Due to the fact that these Xs were formerly used to denote how many times a batch of moonshine had been put through the still in typical DIY fashion, Prior to the invention of current distillation processes and equipment, moonshiners were required to execute three runs in order to get a higher, purer alcohol level – typically much above 80 percent ABV. A batch of beer ended up in a jug labeled with three double X’s by the time it was truly completed.
Although early moonshine was made illegally, this does not imply that the distillers were unconcerned with the quality of the product they were producing.
That emotion continues on in many current (and now legally created) moonshines that are consumed today, and it will be indelibly etched in the annals of moonshine history for generations to come.
3. Moonshine inspired NASCAR.
For the avoidance of doubt, moonshiners produce the whiskey while bootleggers carry it. The name “bootlegger” was used in the 1880s to describe smugglers who would conceal flasks in the tips of their boots. Of course, as automobiles entered the scene, the term’s definition was broadened to include anybody involved in smuggling booze. As troops returned home from World War II, equipped with new mechanical abilities, they immediately found work as bootleggers in their own areas. Modifying automobiles allowed these modern bootleggers to increase the amount of moonshine they could carry while also gaining the driving abilities essential to escape the authorities.
More than just a source of bragging rights, this rite laid the groundwork for the modern-day NASCAR.
To this day, the official spirit of NASCAR is produced at the moonshine-based distillerySugarlands Distilling Co.
There, they manufacture ” Sugarlands Shine ” in a range of unique tastes ranging from old fashioned lemonade and blueberry muffin to maple bacon, root beer, and peanut butter and jelly.
4. America’s first legal moonshine distillery was launched in 2005.
Piedmont Distillers, based in Madison, North Carolina, boasts the distinction of being the first legal moonshine business in the United States, as well as the state’s first legal distillery since Prohibition ended the prohibition era. Additionally, in addition to being a part of the history of moonshine, Piedmont’s whole company is dedicated to telling the unique tale of moonshine. A triple-distilled moonshine (remember those three Xs?) made with formulas given down from famed moonshiner and NASCAR Hall of Famer Junior Johnson, their Midnight Moonmoonshine is made using recipes passed down from Junior Johnson.
Since 2005, several legal moonshine distilleries have sprung up around the United States, including Sugarlands (Tennessee) and Call Family Distillers, which is likewise situated in North Carolina but produces in Tennessee.
5. Mountain Dew was originally created as a chaser for whiskey.
It is the first legal moonshine business in the United States as well as the first legal distillery in North Carolina since Prohibition, according to Piedmont Distillers, which is based in Madison, North Carolina. Piedmont’s whole operation, in addition to being a part of the history of moonshine, is dedicated to telling the tale of this unique beverage. Their Midnight Moonmoonshine is triple distilled (remember those three Xs?) and made using recipes passed down from famed moonshiner and NASCAR Hall of Famer Junior Johnson.
Sugarlands (Tennessee) and Call Family Distillers, which is also situated in North Carolina, are just two of the legal moonshine distilleries that have sprung up since 2005 around the country.
The history of the great Moonshine smuggling
Making moonshine is a cherished part of American history that cannot be forgotten. When the practice began in the late 18th century, right before the American Revolution, moonshine production appeared to be as natural as farming. What caused moonshine to be labeled as “illegal” and how did smuggling influence the lives of moonshiners?
The roots of Moonshine smuggling
The term “moonshine” was initially used in England to indicate illegally made liquor, which is understandable given that distillers worked mostly at night, under the light of the moon. Despite the fact that moonshine is commonly associated with whiskey, it can refer to any alcoholic beverage. Because of its Scotch-Irish origins, it has retained as a word to describe whiskey to this day. The formula for moonshine was brought to America by numerous Scotch-Irish immigrants the year before the American Revolution, who brought their customs and…
- Farming and distilling spirits provided a means of subsistence for the immigrants, who lived in relative solitude in the Appalachian Mountains.
- Moonshine in the modern era.
- Welcome to Wellcome Images The month of September 1774 G.
The Whiskey Rebellion
The Revolution had its casualties, and like any war deed, it was followed by levies to compensate for them. The nascent administration needed money to keep the treasury stocked, so it imposed an excise tax on alcoholic beverages. This action appeared to be catastrophic for the moonshiners. They were inclined to fight each and every tax collector that came to their doorstep. Farmers’ opposition was strong because they knew how the tax would effect their principal source of income. Moonshine smuggling began as a series of violent incidents that developed into a larger organization.
President George Washington For better or worse, the uprising did not endure long, and by the end of the day, the rioting had come to an end.
More taxes and the Civil War
Revolutionary Conflict fatalities, like with every war, were followed by a series of taxation measures to compensate for them. The nascent administration needed money to keep the treasury stocked, so it imposed an excise tax on alcoholic beverages to help fund its operations.. This move appeared to be disastrous to the moonshiners’ business model. If a tax collector came to their door, they would be tempted to fight him. Because farmers are aware of how the tax will effect their principal source of income, they have demonstrated strong opposition.
It was at Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in 1794 that the struggle between citizens and the government reached its zenith, and President George Washington dispatched his troops to quell the uprising.
Both for the better and for the worse, the uprising did not persist long, and it was put down by the evening.
The prohibition triggered moonshine smuggling
Moonshine, as well as the consumption and production of alcoholic beverages, were not prohibited until the Prohibition era. The 18th Amendment, despised by many but cherished by moonshiners, prohibited the manufacturing and use of alcoholic beverages. Moonshiners have never had it better in their lives. Because individuals were unable to obtain alcohol in any other location, their whiskey became greatly sought after. The demand for moonshine grew to such an extent that distilleries sprung up practically everywhere.
The term bootlegger, which refers to someone who smuggles alcoholic beverages, soon gained popularity.
If you’ve ever wondered how NASCAR came to be, you should know that the 18th Amendment had a significant part in the organization’s formation.
For example, according to the NASCAR website, “…NASCAR’s roots are steeped to the very tips in moonshine…” Many moonshiners smugglers took advantage of the high demand and brisk business that was going on behind the scenes, and began to “cook” their liquor to make it more affordable by using sugar instead of grain.
Due to the repeal of Prohibition and the proliferation of harmful spirits, the moonshine smuggling sector lost its appeal as well as its customers.
And, sure, we still have moonshine, which is still illegal and just as toxic as it was in the past.
How Moonshine Works
Moonshine, as well as alcohol consumption and production, were not prohibited until the Prohibition era. Alcohol manufacturing and use were prohibited by the 18th Amendment, which was despised by many but cherished by moonshiners. No one has ever had more luck than a moonshiner in their life. Because individuals were unable to obtain alcoholic beverages in any other location, their whiskey became greatly sought after. Demand for moonshine grew to such an extent that distilleries sprung up practically everywhere.
The term bootlegger, which refers to a person who smuggles alcoholic beverages, soon gained widespread popularity..
If you’ve ever wondered how NASCAR came to be, you should know that the 18th Amendment had a significant influence in the formation of the organization.
For example, according to the NASCAR website, the “…NASCAR’s roots are steeped to the very tips in moonshine…” Many moonshiners smugglers took advantage of the high demand and brisk commerce that was going on behind the scenes, and began to “cook” their liquor to make it more affordable by using sugar instead of grain.
Moonshine smuggling lost its appeal and clientele once Prohibition was repealed and risky spirits became more widespread.
Moonshine, which is still illegal and just as toxic as it was in the past, is available now, as well.
There is a peculiar kind of allure to this booze war, which has left a colorful, yet brutal past and a slew of nicknames for moonshine in the wake of The History of the Great Moonshine Smuggling Modern Society.
Bootleggers and Bathtub Gin – Prohibition: An Interactive History
A group of Italian-American criminals known as the Genna brothers furnished hundreds of impoverished individuals in Chicago’s Little Italy neighborhood with one-gallon copper “alky cookers,” or stills, which they used to produce tiny amounts of homemade booze in their homes. The maize sugar and yeast were provided by the Gennas. When the gang’s henchmen made their rounds to these family businesses, they were paid a handsome sum of $15 (equivalent to $188 in 2016) each day to monitor the manufacturing of liters of pure alcoholic beverages.
- The illegal liquor cost them just 50 to 75 cents each gallon, and they made a tidy profit.
- During Prohibition, there were innumerable small- and large-scale illicit alcoholic manufacturers, including these family moonshiners.
- They utilized a tiny still to ferment a “mash” made from maize sugar, fruit, beets, or even potato peels to make 200-proof alcohol, which they then mixed with glycerin and a critical component, a dash of juniper oil for flavour, to create the finished product.
- Few, however, were able to stand the foul taste of this “bathtub gin.” Speakeasies employed bartenders who mixed ounces of it with a variety of mixers, ranging from bitters to soda pop, juices, and fruit garnishes, in order to mask the flavor of the badly produced alcohol.
- Cocktails were fashionable during the Prohibition era, thanks to the speakeasies in New York.
- They operated in large cities as well as rural areas, from basements and attics to farms, remote hills and forests, and everywhere in between.
- During the period from mid-1928 to mid-1929, the federal government seized 11,416 stills, 15,700 distilleries, and 1.1 million gallons of alcoholic beverages.
Stills in New York may produce 50 to 100 gallons per day at a cost of 50 cents per gallon and sell each one for $3 to $12 per gallon, depending on the location.
Grocery and hardware stores were legally allowed to sell a long list of items that home distillers and beer brewers need, including gallon stills, bottles, malt syrup, corn sugar, corn syrup, hops, yeast, and bottle cappers, among other things.
Cans of malt syrup were available in chain grocery stores such as Kroger and A P.
By 1927, the United States produced approximately 888 million pounds of malt syrup, enough to manufacture more than six billion pints of homebrewed beer.
Wayne Wheeler, the prominent and pro-dry Anti-Saloon League leader who was in charge of authoring the Volstead Act in 1919, was a major contributor to the legislation.
However, in order to get Volstead passed by Congress, Wheeler had to allow significant gaps in the bill that would become far more problematic than he had anticipated.
Aside from that, the legislation permitted the manufacturing and sale of wine by rabbis, priests, “ministers of the gospel” and their designees for the purpose of sacraments or other religious ceremonies.
Patients with colds and sore throats received pricey prescriptions from doctors and pharmacies, resulting in substantial financial gain for both parties.
Sacramental wine producers such as Beaulieu Vineyards, Beringer, and Louis M.
One of the most notable exceptions to Volstead’s rule involves the practice of home winemaking.
The declaration made explicit reference to winemaking, stating that “the head of a household who has duly registered may create 200 gallons exclusively for family use without payment of tax on the amount of wine produced.” This meant that households could produce — but not sell or transport — the equivalent of 1,000 bottles of wine per year, or 2.7 bottles per day for personal enjoyment, without having to pay taxes on its production or transportation.
- Although it was clearly not what Wheeler intended, the regulation resulted in an explosion of home-fermented wines and related companies across the country during Prohibition.
- Farmers in California have increased the amount of land they dedicate to cultivating wine grapes from 97,000 to 681,000 acres.
- By 1924, the price had risen to an incredible $375.
- The concentrates were purportedly intended for use in the production of non-alcoholic grape juice, but both companies and customers were well aware that they were actually intended for use in winemaking.
An advertisement for a San Francisco company’s liquid concentrate product, Vine-Glo, claimed that it was “legal in your house under the rules of Section 29 of the National Prohibition Act,” but advised that the wine “must not be transferred.” With a barely veiled suggestion, one wine brick firm instructed customers to store their liquid after dissolving the brick in a gallon of water for twenty days in a jug in the cabinet.
- “If you do not utilize the liquid within twenty days, it will convert to wine.” Meanwhile, racketeers, in addition to purchasing whiskey and other alcoholic beverages smuggled from Canada, the United Kingdom, and Mexico, also made their own alcoholic beverages.
- Brewers who were otherwise involved in the manufacturing of lawful “near beer” were corrupted by others.
- This required licensed brewers to brew the beer and then filter it to eliminate any remaining alcohol in order to exceed the legal limit.
- In the months after the beginning of Prohibition at 1920, Chicago racketeer Johnny Torrio formed a partnership with two other mobsters and legitimate brewer Joseph Stenson to make illicit beer for sale in nine breweries.
- In the early 1920s, he and his associates made a total of $12 million each year.
- Racketeers also stole millions of gallons of commercial grain alcohol, redistilled it, and sold it in speakeasies as a result of their activities.
- It was used in cleaning goods, paints, cosmetics, gasoline, tobacco, and other lawful applications.
The liquid was “denatured” using chemical additions such as wood alcohol, ether, or benzene in order to make it unpalatable for consumption.
One early ingredient that was widely used and permitted by the United States government was wood alcohol, which was deadly if eaten and may result in nerve damage, blindness, and death if consumed.
They were correct.
They cooked it and were able to remove part of the additive, but there were still deadly traces of wood alcohol present.
During Prohibition, as many as 50,000 drinkers died as a result of poisoned alcohol.
However, the harm had already been done, both to the general populace and to the government’s political position in the eyes of the people. The following story is titled “Queens of the Speakeasies.”
Hooch and Hell Raisin’: Women Bootleggers
During the Prohibition era, women bootleggers were a source of national pride. Moonshine smugglers, including women, were not unheard of; in fact, it is possible that there were more female bootleggers than male bootleggers. Here’s why: women who worked in the moonshine industry enjoyed significant advantages over males. In the first place, they were considerably more difficult to identify and apprehend than males, simply because it was against the law to search a woman at the time. Women took full advantage of this by concealing moonshine on their person, and some even mocked law enforcement officers by demanding that they search them.
- This group of people simply couldn’t accept the idea that a woman could accomplish anything like this.
- These women maintained a low profile and avoided confrontation; if a woman was apprehended, she would have a difficult time convincing the sheriff that the items still belonged to her.
- Women were believed to be in the automobile, and no good federal agent would stop it, according to the rumor on the street.
- As a result, they recruited women to work alongside them, and eventually women bootleggers outnumbered males by a five-to-one margin.
- Brock’s “The Moonshiner’s Daughter” is a novella.
- This was a significant win for teetotalers and churchgoers across the world, since it resulted in the prohibition of the sale, transportation, importation, and exportation of alcoholic drinks in the United States.
- What a blunder they made.
- Consumption of alcoholic beverages was not prohibited, and individuals could simply obtain anything they want from bootleggers and speakeasies (underground bars where people went to drink and dance in the 1920s).
- Prohibition had a significant role in enabling the following females to earn a very excellent livelihood.
Maggie Bailey “Queen of the Mountain Bootleggers”
Maggie Bailey, also known as the “Queen of the Mountain Bootleggers,” began manufacturing moonshine at the age of 17 and turned it into her full-time profession. She was a resident of Clovertown, which is located in Harlan County, Kentucky. Maggie was well-liked in her hometown of Clovertown; she was always willing to provide a hand to those who were in need and even assisted in sending several local children to college. Maggie seemed to be any other person’s grandma; she dressed in a house dress and an apron on a daily basis.
She described herself as a “old bootlegger,” and she said that she began selling moonshine to assist her family make ends meet while they were struggling.
Individuals she considered “drunkards” and youngsters were the only people Maggie sold to.
She was well-versed in the law of search and seizure and could recite specific examples off the top of her head.
Maggie had a wonderful personality and was only convicted of moonshining once during her long and illustrious career, despite the fact that the whole neighborhood was aware of her activities.
The Bootleg Lady of Glacier Park
Doody, a former dancehall girl who became a bootlegger, was known as Josephine. She resided in an isolated cabin in Glacier National Park, apart from the rest of the world. It was the men who worked on the Great Northern Railroad who were her most loyal clients; whenever the train passed through her region, it would stop and toot the whistle for the number of times that corresponded to how many gallons of moonshine they desired. It was brought over the Flathead River in a tiny boat by the author.
Today, a monument has been constructed in her honor, with the inscription “Josephine Doody, October 16, 1853, January 16, 1936.” “Glacier Park’s Bootleg Lady,” as she is known.
She was a 34-year-old mother and a Polish immigrant from La Grange Park, Illinois, who was killed in her home. Mary Wazeniak operated a moonshine distillery and bar out of her house. She was a well-known figure in the community. According to the legend, one of her clients was stumbling home after a particularly long night of drinking. He became entangled in a bog and perished as a result of the poisonous brew. During her trial, she was dubbed “Moonshine Mary” by the press. She was the first woman in Illinois to be convicted of selling lethal moonshine, and she was sentenced to prison.
The Rum-Running Queen
In 1928, when prohibition was in effect, she was 26 years old and an outlaw. Known as “Willie Carter Sharpe,” he was a bootlegger who operated beyond the Virginia border into neighboring states. The cops were following her and firing at her tires on many occasions. This led to her being called the “Rum-running Queen.” “It was the enthusiasm that got to me,” Willie explained. “Cars are fleeing and scurrying through the streets.” It’s possible that Willie was an adrenaline junkie. She lived in Franklin County, Virginia, and it is estimated that she transported more than 220,000 gallons of her home-made moonshine between the years 1926 and 1931, according to historical records.
- The ladies of moonshine were quite creative in their methods of concealing their moonshine.
- Mary Ann Moriarity had a laundry company, and she was known for concealing bottles of liquor in the baskets of clean laundry given to her clients by delivery personnel.
- When it came to moonshine, Stella Beloumant wasn’t one to take any chances.
- The authorities had a difficult time bringing her to justice.
When they eventually apprehended her, they discovered a tremendous amount of illicit whiskey in her possession.
Her age was 26 at the time of prohibition, and she was an outlaw. Willie Carter Sharpe was a bootlegger who operated over the Virginia-North Carolina border. When she was being chased by the police, they would fire their guns into her tires. Rum-runner Queen, as she was affectionately known, was her nickname. “It was the anticipation that got me,” Willie explained. ‘Cars are fleeing and scurrying down the street.’ Possibly, Willie was an adrenaline junkie in his younger years? During the period between 1926 and 1930, she lived in Franklin County, Virginia, and it is estimated that she transported more than 220,000 gallons of her home-made moonshine.
- The moonshine ladies were quite creative in their methods of concealing their moonshine production.
- Mary Ann Moriarity had a laundry company, and she was known for concealing bottles of liquor in the baskets of clean laundry brought to her clients by her employees.
- When it came to moonshine, Stella Beloumant didn’t mess around.
- Takedown by the law proved to be quite difficult.
- Upon apprehending her, they discovered a large quantity of illicit whiskey in her possession.
Nancy the Moonshiner
In the 1880s, she lived in Warren County, New Jersey, and was regarded as an eccentric individual who kept to herself and her family. Nancy the Moonshiner would go out at night and steal apples from an orchard near her house, which she would then use to brew Jersey Lightning, also known as Apple Jack, which was a distilled hard cider with a kick. She turned it into a profitable company and became well-known for her cider.. In 1921, the federal authorities apprehended a female moonshiner called Mary White and discovered $5,000 in bootlegging currency on her person.
When you think about it, she must have been a lady who didn’t back down from a confrontation, which makes it intriguing to speculate about how she lost her teeth.
According to legend, her spouse was a wealthy Argentinean who commissioned whiskey merchants to import Scotch into the United States in order to benefit from his fortune.
During the summer of 1925, her ship was ready to depart from London when federal officials boarded it and discovered 10,000 boxes of Scotch whiskey on board.
They reasoned that this would be a certain method to maintain her in power. Despite the fact that she was charged with bootlegging, she never acknowledged to being one.
Gertrude “Cleo” Lythgoe
In addition to Gertrude “Cleo” Lythgoe, who worked as a legal booze dealer in Nassau, Bahamas, she was a brilliant female bootlegger, and maybe the finest of all. She was an American with links to a British distributor of alcoholic beverages. When Prohibition was enacted in 1920, she relocated to the Bahamas and utilized her Scottish contacts to purchase the finest Scotch whisky available. Knowing that smuggling liquor was where the real money was, she quickly began commissioning her own boats to carry the substance.
- She was armed and didn’t hesitate to use it when the situation demanded it.
- Cleo like being in the spotlight, and she even did a few media interviews.
- Men would write her love letters after reading about her in the media, and she would get them in return.
- However, she has been cited as stating, “I don’t need a guy to tell me what to do,” on several occasions.
- She was a slick operator who never divulged any of her secrets to anyone.
Moonshine Has NASCAR Roots
It’s possible that Junior Johnson was the catalyst for everything. He began his moonshining profession at the early age of fourteen, when he was recruited by his father to transport the family’s moonshine to consumers in the surrounding area of their North Carolina home. Junior was in charge of the moonshine and was often pursued by local tax officers who were well aware of what he was up to. Junior was well aware that he needed to outpace them, so he modified his automobile to make it travel faster and quicker.
- However, he was apprehended for moonshining and sentenced to 11 months in federal jail before that could take place.
- If you’ve ever heard that drinking too much moonshine may cause you to go blind, you’re right.
- It occurred as a result of unscrupulous moonshiners adding lye to their brew in order to accelerate the fermenting process.
- People’s bodies finally became overwhelmed by this poison, which proved deadly.
- In the 1920s and 1930s, being a bootlegging moonshiner made you a lot of money without having to deal with a lot of negative consequences.
- When women were detected, they were subjected to extremely minor sanctions, such as being required to attend church every Sunday for a period of two years!
One moonshine mama’s sentence was reduced to five days in prison. You can’t really blame women for manufacturing and selling moonshine; they justified their actions by claiming they were only doing their share to keep a roof over their heads and food on the table for their families.
The First Female Prohibition Agent
Georgia Hopley is a writer who lives in the United Kingdom. During the Prohibition era, there were a significant number of women working on the other side of the bootlegging enterprise. Some women were resolved to oppose the bootlegging empire that had sprung up and became prohibition agents in order to do so. Georgia Hopley was a well-known woman who fought for the rights of others. Georgia worked as a public information officer for local law enforcement in Washington, D.C., where she designed, managed, and oversaw the Prohibition Bureau’s public relations operations.
Aside from that, she authored articles and did interviews, bringing her message to the attention of political and corporate leaders of the day.
She was successful in increasing public support for the implementation of Prohibition as a result of her activities.
Lady Hooch Hunter
Daisy Simpson, a Prohibition Agent who was well-known and more prominent in the press, was another notable figure. In addition to her home office in San Francisco, she also traveled to other places such as Chicago and New York for business. Daisy decided to go incognito. She employed her own inventive disguises and would spend her free time at speakeasies, hotels, and restaurants across the city. If any owners or bartenders attempted to offer her alcoholic beverages, she would arrest them on the spot.
The woman was as audacious as she was imaginative.
Daisy had been a delinquent in her teens, and she had frequented bars and associated with shady characters.
Georgia and Daisy were two quite different ladies who both possessed a set of abilities that they used to combat what they saw to be the horrors of alcoholic beverages.