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Where Did Moonshine Originate From?

The term moonshine has been around since the late 15th century, but it was first used to refer to liquor in the 18th century in England. The American roots of the practice (and of modern American whiskey production in general) have their origins in frontier life in Pennsylvania and other grain-producing states.

  • Moonshine was especially important to the Appalachian area. The white whiskey most likely entered the Appalachian region in the late 18th century to early 1800s. Scots-Irish immigrants from the province of Ulster, in the north of Ireland, brought their recipe for uisce beatha, Gaelic for “water of life”.

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Where was the first moonshine made?

While moonshine is deeply rooted in Southern culture and heritage, its origins, in fact, can be traced to Pennsylvania. Farmer-distillers in the western part of the state protested when the federal government passed the distilled-spirits tax in 1791. They tarred and feathered tax collectors and fired upon their homes.

Where was moonshine made?

Moonshine historically referred to “clear, unaged whiskey”, once made with barley in Scotland and Ireland or corn mash in the United States, though sugar became just as common in illicit liquor during the last century.

Where did Term moonshine come from?

The term “moonshine” comes from the fact that illegal spirits were made under the light of the moon. In every part of America, early moonshiners worked their stills at night to avoid detection from authorities.

Who discovered moonshine?

Robert Glen ‘Junior’ Johnson. Johnson’ s ancestry stretched back to some of the first moonshiners in America. While he was growing up, Johnson’s house was filled to the brim with moonshine that his father had distilled. At the age of 14, Johnson began bootlegging in his car and discovered he had a natural talent for it.

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.

Why is moonshine so illegal?

So why is moonshine still illegal? Because the liquor is worth more to the government than beer or wine. Today, federal rules say a household with two adults can brew up to 200 gallons of wine and the same amount of beer each year. (A few states have their own laws prohibiting the practice.)

Is moonshine an American?

Most certainly, moonshine is not an American invention. Moonshine is most accurately defined as a “distilled spirit made illegally.” Like any liquor, moonshine is made by first producing a fermented beverage (a beer or wine).

What state is known for moonshine?

The liquor has seen a popular, albeit legal, resurgence, but its roots are found in the mountains of Georgia, North Carolina, and Tennessee. The liquor has seen a popular, albeit legal, resurgence, but its roots are found in the mountains of Georgia, North Carolina, and Tennessee as well as West Virginia and Kentucky.

Where is whiskey from originally?

The origin of whiskey began over 1000 year ago when distillation made the migration from mainland Europe into Scotland and Ireland via traveling monks.

Is moonshine bad for?

Illegal moonshine remains dangerous because it is mostly brewed in makeshift stills. It can be dangerous on two levels, both during the distilling process and when consuming it.

Is moonshine illegal in Australia?

Using a still of any capacity to make spirits is illegal in Australia without holding an ‘excise manufacturer licence’ irrespective of whether it is for ‘personal use’ or sale. Excise manufacturer licences are granted by the ATO (free to apply for).

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.

Why is moonshine called white lightning?

White lightning, a white whiskey made surreptitiously and illegally, was once produced in great quantities in South Carolina. It got its name from its color and the kick it delivers when consumed.

How was moonshine originally made?

It was originally a verb, “moonshining” which referred to any activity that was done late at night by the light of the moon. The recipe for moonshine is simply corn meal, sugar, yeast, and water.

Why is moonshine so strong?

When made properly, it is simply very strong alcohol with a very hard taste, or “kick,” because it hasn’t been aged. It is usually very potent, as high as 150 proof, which is about 75 percent alcohol.

The History of Moonshine in the United States — Belle Isle Moonshine

In contrast to Florida’s home distilling rules, certain states’ home distilling laws allow for “legal” moonshining, despite the fact that it is deemed unlawful federally. Alaska, Arizona, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Ohio, and Rhode Island are among the states affected. Since we are not attorneys, it is your responsibility to explore your alternatives for distilling spirits at home. Each state is truly distinct from the others. Here is an excellent website for finding out what the laws are in your state regarding distillation.

5 Things You Didn’t Know About Moonshine’s History

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.

  1. Moonshiners have always produced their own booze in order to circumvent compliance with laws, taxes, and regulations.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

  1. There are no guidelines regarding how it should be classified.
  2. ” 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.

Moonshiners have always manufactured their own booze in order to avoid paying taxes and complying with government restrictions and legislation. Bad batches or poor manufacturing procedures (for example, distilling in automobile 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 not treated immediately.

  1. A moonshiner would be forced out of business if their whiskey was substandard, or if customers became sick or died as a result of drinking it.

Moonshine is classified as a “other” or “specialty spirit” by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) because there is no official description provided by the agency.

For liquor that does not fall into a certain category, it is used as an all-encompassing word to describe it.

3. Moonshine inspired NASCAR.

  1. Moonshiners have always manufactured their own booze in order to avoid paying taxes and complying with government rules.
  2. Bad batches or poor manufacturing procedures (such as distilling in vehicle radiators) might result in a product that contains high levels of potentially hazardous substances, such as methanol, if there were no FDA inspectors present to check that safety and quality criteria were fulfilled.
  3. Consuming methanol can cause the blood to become acidic, resulting 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 the company.

Moonshine is classified as “other” or “specialty spirit” by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) since there is no official definition provided by the TTB.

  1. There are no guidelines for categorizing it.
  2. ” In other words, the “moonshine” designation that we see on a variety of spirits today is a movable target.

This implies that the moonshine you buy at your local liquor store is legal and safe to consume in moderation.

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.

  1. 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.

The brilliant yellow beverage you’re undoubtedly familiar with was called after a slang phrase for mountain-brewed moonshine, which you may not have realized at the time of its introduction. Yes, you are correct. In Knoxville, Tennessee, in 1932, brothers Barney and Ally Hartman invented the lemon-lime cocktail as a whiskey chaser for their friends. In accordance with the Smithsonian Institution, the name “Mountain Dew” was chosen to stress the intended usage of their beverage, which was emphasized further by the existence of the original brand mascot, “Willy the Hillbilly,” and his slogan, “It’ll tickle yore innards.” As a result of PepsiCo’s acquisition of Mountain Dew in 1964, distribution was increased beyond Tennessee and throughout the rest of the United States.

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Although the brand’s link with moonshine has developed since then, its legacy is still alive and well.

  • Check out this article.

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What is Moonshine?

  • Moonshine has been dubbed a variety of derogatory names, including Rotgut.
  • Skullpop.
  • Firewater.
  • Panther Piss is a term used to describe a substance that is excreted by a Panther.
  • As implied by the name, it is a type of whiskey for which no taxes have been paid and which is made by a group of good ol’ boys under cover of darkness and by the light of the moon, before being loaded into souped-up coupes and transported to consumers through winding country roads.
  • Thunder Road, a 1958 cult film starring James Mitchum as moonshine runner Lucas Doolin, comes to mind.

Moonshine is often manufactured from maize, however it may and has been created from any fermentable material, including cereals such as rye or wheat, as well as plain old sugar.

It’s referred to as “whiskey without the wood.” Bourbon that hasn’t been aged in a barrel.

  1. Pay attention to the label: Almost certainly, it’s either corn whisky (yep, it’s written with an e) or neutral spirits, which is practically vodka.

Others choose to remain with what they know: history, heritage, and moonshine.

But what exactly is the backstory to moonshine?

  • Is all of the information you’ve heard about moonshine and its link to NASCAR correct?

Here are a few interesting facts that you might not have known.

Moonshine’s Not Just a Southern Thing

The following image is courtesy of Zenith Press. While moonshine is strongly ingrained in Southern culture and tradition, its origins may really be traced back to the United States state of Pennsylvania. When the federal government enacted the distilled-spirits tax in 1791, farmer-distillers in the western section of the state took to the streets to demonstrate their displeasure. Tax collectors were tarred and feathered, and their homes were attacked with firearms. These activities provoked the Whiskey Rebellion, which almost resulted in the outbreak of America’s first civil war.

  • Vinegar Hill, a waterfront area in Brooklyn that is currently known as Vinegar Hill, used to be a hub of illegal whiskey production.

After conducting a pre-dawn raid, they cut up stills and confiscated whiskey, which they transported to the neighboring Brooklyn Navy Yard.

By the early 1900s, New York City was producing more moonshine than the whole southern United States combined.

  1. As reported by the Chicago Daily Tribune, the Genna criminal family had imported Italian laborers “to brew moonshine” into the United States.

According to a report in the New York Times, moonshine is being produced in San Francisco, Oregon, and Washington State.

Women Made Moonshine, Too.

The Library of Congress is a federal government institution that collects and organizes information. You can think of moonshining as more of a man’s world than anything else. Women, on the other hand, were distilling booze. “Nancy the Moonshiner” was one of the ladies that lived in this world. When she was growing up in Warren County, New Jersey, folks thought she was a bit of an oddball. What she actually was, though, was a moneymaker and a tenacious entrepreneur who worked hard to make ends meet.

  1. The apples were used to manufacture Jersey lightning, also known as apple jack, which is a distilled hard apple cider.

She managed to get away.

Wazeniak was apprehended when a guy wandered home at the end of the night and then fell into a marsh, where he later died.

  • She was the first woman to be found guilty of selling poisoned liquor in the state of Illinois.

Willie Carter Sharpe was one of the most well-known whiskey trippers in Franklin County, Virginia, where he lived for many years.

Her diamond-studded teeth drew attention during her testimony in the Moonshine Conspiracy Trial in 1935, which was shown live on television.

NASCAR Really Does Have Moonshine Roots.

  1. What exactly is contained within the cases?
  2. Of course, we’re talking about moonshine.
  3. The Library of Congress is a federal government institution that collects and organizes information.
  4. Whiskey trippers were masters of the vehicle, as no one else could match them.
  5. Many of them enjoyed competing against one another in their spare time.
  6. Lloyd Seay was one of those drivers, and he was a rising star in the world of stock car racing.
  7. He was killed by his cousin in a disagreement over moonshine in 1941, though, and his career was effectively finished.

It was his mechanic, Louis Jerome “Red” Vogt, who coined the term NASCAR at a conference held in France in 1947 at Daytona Beach, where he was present (National Association of Stock Car Auto Racing).

Junior Johnson, on the other hand, is perhaps NASCAR’s most well-known connection to moonshining.

  1. Johnson’s ability behind the wheel resulted in success on the racetrack for the team.

After that, he drove directly home to Wilkes County, where he was arrested the next morning for starting up his father’s stills in the family’s basement.

When he got out, he immediately returned to the two things he enjoyed doing the most: racing and moonshining.

  1. In 2010, the racing veteran was inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame as a member of the first class of honorees.

Modern-Day Moonshine

Photograph courtesy of Nan Palermo on Flickr What you’ve been hearing is correct: Back in the day, drinking moonshine might literally cause a person to go blind. The problem was caused by shady manufacturing practices. For example, some illegal distillers used lye to speed up the fermentation process in their product. Others utilized automobile radiators to create their moonshine, which can result in lead seeping into the product and building up in the body of those who consume the alcohol. The situation was so severe that, as part of its Poison Moonshine Publicity Program in the 1960s, the federal government sought the services of Louis Armstrong to record radio advertisements to raise awareness about the dangers of backwoods liquor.

The brands mentioned on this page are carefully crafted on licensed still frames.

  1. Even better, one of them comes from a woman-owned distillery, one is manufactured in Brooklyn (not the South!

TheDawsonville Moonshine Distilleryin Georgia produces maize whiskey using a 150-year-old formula that was passed down from a moonshiner named Simmie Free who wore overalls and worked in the distillery.

Put a rural spin on Sex on the Beach by substituting Wood’s moonshine for the traditional vodka.

  • “I prefer to drink it neat and carefully since this thing has a lot of kick to it!

Flickr user DeShaun Craddock The Kings County Distillery, which is housed within the Brooklyn Navy Yard, was New York City’s first licensed distillery since the repeal of Prohibition.

Prior to establishing KCD, he and his partner David Haskell ran a moonshine distillery out of their home.

  1. The beverage has a pleasant sweetness to it, and it has a smooth texture on the tongue.

I’m aware of the situation.

However, it is moonshine that has been infused with cacao bean husks, making it taste like alcoholic liquid dark chocolate.

  • Midnight Moon is the product of Junior Johnson, and unlike Dawsonville or King’s County moonshines, Midnight Moon is available throughout the country, making it simple to get your hands on a bottle of the alcoholic beverage.

Try the basic taste, which comes in a Mason jar, or venture out to the Apple Pie flavor, which is an Appalachian favorite made with apple juice and cinnamon sticks and packaged in a jar.

There will be no rotgut here.

Why Is Moonshine Called Moonshine

  1. Moonshine, which is often created from maize, is a kind of whiskey that has not been matured.
  2. You would question, though, why it isn’t called maize whiskey or grain whiskey instead.
  3. How did the term “moonshine” come to be, which is today a well-known brand of alcoholic beverage?
  4. The solution to this question is centered on the unlawful state that is related with the question.
  5. In most cases, it has a high concentration of alcohol.
  6. Moonshine is whiskey that has been illegally made at a residence.

British Beginnings

Moonshine is a whiskey that has not been matured, and it is often manufactured from maize. Consequently, you could wonder: Why not call it grain whiskey or maize whiskey instead? How did the term “moonshine” come to be, which is today a well-known brand of alcoholic beverages? The solution to this question is centered on the unlawful state that is related with the question.. Moonshine is whisky that has been illegally made at home, usually with a high concentration of alcohol. Because it was distilled throughout the night “under the light of a full moon,” the term “moonshine” came to be.

Hard times

Moonshiners began manufacturing their alcoholic beverages illegally at the time that the United States put a high tax on high-distilled spirits produced by its residents in order to pay the Civil War. The whiskey was not created just for recreational purposes, but also to provide food for families. Obtaining more revenue was advantageous at the time due to the difficult economic climate. Paying hefty taxes meant that they had less cash to spend on their families’ food. Those who worked as moonshiners were also hardworking farmers, and this was unacceptable for them.

  1. As a result, they continued to manufacture their alcohol illegally in order to escape the high taxes that they were compelled to pay.

Operations in the Backwoods

The moonshiners proceeded to conduct their operations in the depths of the backwoods, where it would be difficult to detect them in order to escape being apprehended by the police. The only source of light available to them because they were working late into the night to make their whiskey was the moonlight. Hence, moonshine became the term for the spirit.

Is Moonshine Just Whiskey Made of Corn?

When the term “moonshine” is uttered, the first thing that springs to mind is whiskey that has not been matured and is manufactured from corn mash. This is somewhat correct, however any illegally produced alcoholic beverage is referred to as moonshine. They began manufacturing alcohol batches with white sugar instead of the traditional corn mash in order to make a more affordable product and generate more profits for their customers.

This, however, was not whiskey, but rather rum. Occasionally, grains were swapped out for fruits as well.

Is There Moonshine That Is Legal?

  1. The United States government approved spirit distillation for a small number of designated distillers in certain places, allowing them to produce and sell moonshine lawfully.
  2. Then there’s the great question: is the legalized alcohol still referred to as moonshine, despite the fact that the word moonshine is used to refer to alcohol that has been unlawfully distilled?
  3. Although the moonshine seen in shops has been legalized, the processes and formulas used in distilling the illicit moonshine have remained the same, resulting in the same product with the same experience, and therefore the word “moonshine” has been retained.

What Else Is Moonshine Called?

Moonshine is referred to by a variety of different names in addition to the word “moonshine,” which is the most often used term. A short sampling of names that you may have heard previously is presented below. Check to see if you can identify any of them:

  • Alley bourbon
  • White lighting
  • Bush whiskey
  • Donkey punch
  • Skull cracker
  • Wild cat
  • Mountain dew
  • Hooch
  • A few examples include: the cold water, the branch water, the jet fuel, the mule kick (also known as the cat daddy), the rotgut (also known as the rotgut), the pop skull (also known as the pop skull), the white dog (also known as the hillbilly pop), and many others.

Tim Smith Moonshine – History of Shine

Moonshine is a general term that refers to any type of alcoholic beverage that is produced in secret in order to evade excessive taxes or prohibitions on alcoholic beverages. The word “moonshine” was coined in the United Kingdom. When it was first coined, the term “moonshining” referred to any action that was carried out in the dark of the night by the light of the moon. Moonshine is made from a few simple ingredients: maize meal, sugar, yeast, and water. The formula for whiskey is quite similar to that of rum.

  1. When you buy a bottle of whiskey off the shelf at your local liquor shop, it has been matured for years in charred oak barrels, which gives it its amber color and mellow flavor profile.

Due to the fact that it is bottled and sold directly from the still, it is clear and has a stronger kick.

This moonshine will have a tinted look as a result of the fruit that has been used in its preparation.

Moonshiners, Bootleggers, and Rumrunners

  • When it comes to alcoholic beverages, moonshine may be defined as any type of alcohol that is produced in secret in order to escape excessive taxes or prohibitions on alcohol.
  • Britain is credited for coining the phrase “moonshine.
  • ” The term “moonshining” was originally used as a verb to refer to any activity that was carried out late at night under the illumination of the moonlight.
  • Moonshine is made with maize meal, sugar, yeast, and water, and it is really simple to prepare.
  • There are several similarities between the recipes for bourbon and whiskey.

When you buy a bottle of whiskey off the shelf at your local liquor shop, it has been matured for years in charred oak barrels, giving it its amber color and mellow flavor.

In order to keep the product clear and strong, it is packaged and sold directly from the distillery.

  1. Because of the fruit that has been added to this moonshine, it will have a tinted look.

How is Moonshine Made?

Moonshine is a general term that refers to any type of alcoholic beverage that is produced in secret to evade excessive taxes or prohibitions on alcoholic beverages. The phrase “moonshine” is said to have originated in the United Kingdom. “Moonshining” was originally a word that referred to any action that was carried out late at night under the light of the moon. Moonshine is made from a simple combination of maize meal, sugar, yeast, and water. The formula for whiskey is quite similar to the one for rum.

The whiskey that you buy off the shelf at your local liquor shop has been matured for years in charred oak barrels, which gives it its amber color and mellow flavor.

  • Because it is bottled and sold directly from the still, it is transparent and has a stronger flavor.

Because of the fruit that has been added to the moonshine, it will have a tinted look.

  • Corn meal is made by grinding it up. Most commercial hog feed is composed of maize, and it is inexpensive and easy to obtain without drawing too much notice. Corn meal is steeped in hot water in the still before being infused with other ingredients to make whiskey. Sugar is occasionally added, although traditional moonshiners use malt to convert the starch in the maize meal into sugar, which is a process that takes time. It is next necessary to add the yeast, which kick-starts the fermentation process.

    1. When making bourbon, copper is often used for the still and all metal piping since it transmits heat effectively and does not contaminate the alcohol.

    Stills have been heated using wood, coal, and even steam in the past, but today’s stills are generally heated with propane gas

  • At this point, the alcohol is completely evaporated.

    In honor of the thumping sound generated by the steam being driven under the level of alcohol in the barrel, the thump keg was given this name.

    • Water is poured into the top of the worm box from a nearby water source and then expelled through the bottom of the crate or barrel, which is known as a worm chamber.

    When the worm’s end is reached, the alcohol drains into a pail or container.

    The clear liquid that results from this process is ready to be packaged or jarred and sold.

But Did You Know…Prohibition & Franklin County, The Moonshine Capital of the World

  1. Corn meal is made by grinding the kernels of corn together.
  2. Most commercial hog feed is composed of maize, and it is inexpensive and easy to obtain without drawing too much notice.
  3. Corn meal is steeped in hot water in the still before being infused with other ingredients to produce whiskey.
  4. Traditional moonshiners use malt to convert the starch in the maize meal into sugar, which is sometimes added to the mixture.
  5. It is next necessary to add the yeast, which kicks off the fermenting process.
  6. It is necessary to properly stir this mixture before it is cooked in the still for a certain length of time.

A heat source is utilized to get the mash temperature to around 172 degrees Fahrenheit.

Pressure increases in the still, and as a result, the alcohol steam is driven through the cap arm, which is a pipe that emerges from its top.

  • In honor of the thumping sound generated by the steam being pressed under the level of alcohol in the barrel, the thump keg was given this designation.

Water is poured into the top of the worm box from a nearby water source and then expelled from the bottom of the crate or barrel, creating a worm colony.

When the worm’s end is reached, the alcohol is expelled into a pail or jar.

  • The clear liquid that results from this process is ready to be packaged or jarred and distributed.

Jamestown: America’s Moonshine Roots

Corn meal is made by grinding the grain. Most commercial hog feed is composed of maize, and it is inexpensive and easy to get without drawing too much notice. Corn meal is steeped in hot water in the still before being distilled. Traditional moonshiners use malt to convert the starch in the corn meal into sugar, which is often combined with sugar. After that, the yeast is introduced, which kicks off the fermentation procedure. This combination, known as mash, is well churned before being cooked in the still for a certain period of time.

A heat source is utilized to bring the mash temperature up to around 172 degrees Fahrenheit.

  • As the pressure in the still increases, the alcohol steam is driven through the cap arm, which is a pipe that comes out of the top of the still;
  • the steam then travels into the thump keg, which is essentially a barrel into which the steam is forced to the bottom.

It is at this moment that the proof of the alcohol steam is doubled; the steam then proceeds into the worm, which is a coiled piece of pipe that snakes its way along the interior of the worm box.

This keeps the worm bathed in cold water that is continually moving, which helps to condense the alcohol vapour into liquid.

Following that, the moonshine is poured into a proving barrel to equalize the quantity of alcohol and mix to the required proof;
The clear liquid that results is ready to be packaged or jars and sold.

Image Courtesy of The Library of Virginia
  • Corn is processed into meal.
  • Today, some moonshiners utilize commercial hog feed since it is mostly composed of maize and can be purchased without drawing a lot of notice;
  • corn meal is steeped in boiling water in the still.
  • Sugar is occasionally added, although traditional moonshiners use malt to convert the starch in the maize meal into sugar.
  • Then the yeast is introduced, which kicks off the fermentation process.
  • This combination, referred to as mash, is well churned before being cooked in the still for a certain period of time.

Stills have been heated with wood, coal, and even steam in the past, but modern stills are generally heated with propane gas; at this point, the alcohol evaporates.

The thump keg got its name from the thumping sound that is generated when the steam is driven under the level of alcohol in the barrel.

  • The worm box is a container or barrel into which cold water from a local water source is pumped, with the water flowing into the top and subsequently out the bottom.

The alcohol is expelled from the end of the worm into a bucket or container.

Illegal vs. Legal Liquors

In part, those who moved to the United States from their home nations were fleeing harsh taxes placed on them by their old governments; one such tax was levied on the distillation of whiskey, which many Scots-Irish, German, and English inhabitants believed to be unfair. When they arrived in America, they were under the impression that they would be exempt from these payments and that they would be able to begin making their own distilled drinks without interference from the newly formed United States government.

  • As a result, the government put a tax on alcoholic beverages.

This group of “moonshiners” was the first to operate in the United States, with many of them settling in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Western Virginia, where a smaller, less crowded population and huge areas of land allowed them to conceal their activities with relative ease.

Whiskey taxes were imposed on a sporadic basis by the United States government for around 40 years following the Revolutionary War, followed by a 45-year period during which no taxes were imposed; however, with the outbreak of the American Civil War, Congress reinstated the whiskey tax.

  • It should come as no surprise that some distillers decided to operate their businesses illegally rather than pay these exorbitant taxes.

ProhibitionThe Rise of Moonshine Running

With the closing of the nineteenth century, the United States’ anti-alcohol stance was gaining popularity. Local governments introduced legislation during this period to make rural distilleries illegal, and throughout the course of the next years, individual Virginia counties outlawed both the manufacturing and sale of spirits. By 1914, the state of Virginia had decided to outlaw all alcoholic beverages, and the state was wholly devoid of legal alcoholic beverages. Moonshiners would continue to defy the regulations and convey their wares in motor vehicles to industrial areas like as Danville, Lynchburg, and Roanoke, among others.

MoonshinersPolice: A (Lucrative) Game of CatMouse

However, while the idea of a moonshiner in the Blue Ridge Mountains tends to conjure up images of a poor backwoods farmer, the truth is that some moonshiners made a substantial profit, particularly during Prohibition. During the Great Depression, a small group of bootleggers in Virginia’s highlands became exceedingly affluent, making tens of thousands of dollars in cash while the economy was in freefall. One such moonshiner in Franklin County purchased an airplane so that his son could fly over their acreage and make certain that their stills were not visible from above when they were moonshinning.

  • Even after alcohol was once again legalized, the profits from illegal moonshining in the region remained high, encouraging bootleggers to continue their shady businesses.
Image Courtesy of The Library of Virginia

With the assistance of local informants (who were sometimes the bootleggers’ own competitors), police officers and tax enforcement authorities tracked down moonshiners throughout the United States. Following the receipt of this inside information, the agents would keep an eye on the moonshiners and their property in the hopes of raiding the still sites when the moonshiners returned to their distilling operations. The stills discovered during a raid would be demolished with axes or sticks of dynamite if they were discovered.

The moonshiners’ distillation tactics were modified in order to escape capture, such as stringing tiny bits of thread over passageways to detect whether their locations had been visited without their knowledge or constructing underground stills that were difficult to detect.

  • The still was found in 1979, at which time revenue agents assumed that it had been in operation for some years prior to being discovered by accident.

Running From the Law: MoonshinersNASCAR

In several cases, revenue agents chose to track down moonshiners while they were on the move rather than staking out their still locations. However, if agents were made aware of the trip, they may put up roadblocks or wait along the intended route for the moonshine runner to pass by, resulting in a smoother voyage for the majority of the time. Because two-way radios had not yet been created, escape capture was still a possibility for moonshiners who drove fast automobiles and were familiar with the twisting rural roads that led to their destination.

Although popular culture has long connected moonshine running with NASCAR auto racing, in truth, only a small number of moonshine drivers from the Blue Ridge were active in organized racing throughout their careers.

  1. These abilities transferred readily to the realm of NASCAR, where speed and balance were two of the most significant components in the sport’s most competitive races.

As a cab driver, Scott developed his talents as a fearless driver and a smart technician, which he used to transport illicit whiskey, eventually leading to his being the first and only black driver to win a major-league NASCAR race.

National Headlines: Franklin County’s Conspiracy Trial of 1935

In several cases, revenue agents chose to track down moonshiners while they were on the move rather than staking out their stills. However, if agents were made aware of the trip, they may put up roadblocks or wait along the anticipated route for the moonshine runner to pass by. Because two-way radios had not yet been created, escape capture was still a possibility for moonshiners who drove fast automobiles and were familiar with the twisting rural roads that led them to their destination. Known as a “bootleg turn,” skilled bootleg drivers would twist their cars into a 180-degree skid in order to throw off their pursuers.

  1. It was instead at the local garages that the link was made, as mechanics utilized their knowledge and abilities to alter engines to enhance speed and suspensions to ensure better handling on the roads.

The illicit moonshine trade in Virginia may not have produced many drivers for the NASCAR series, but one driver who did emerge from this background wasWendell Oliver Scott, a Black American racer from Danville’s “Crooktown” neighborhood.

An interactive exhibit for all ages is available at the Black History MuseumCultural Center of Virginia, which is situated in Richmond and presents the story of Wendell Oliver Scott and his key contributions to NASCAR.

Moonshine in Virginia Today

  • Some tax officers preferred to track down moonshiners while they were in transit rather than staking out their still sites.
  • Most moonshine excursions from still to customer would be uneventful, but if agents were made aware of the trip, they may put up roadblocks or wait along the anticipated route for the moonshine runner to pass by.
  • Because two-way radios had not yet been created, escape capture was still a possibility for moonshiners driving fast automobiles and familiar with the twisting rural roads that led to their destination.

Although moonshine running has long been connected with NASCAR auto racing, in actuality, only a small number of moonshine drivers from the Blue Ridge were involved with organized racing.

These abilities transferred readily to the realm of NASCAR, where speed and balance were two of the most crucial variables in racing.

  1. As a cab driver, Scott developed his abilities as a daring driver and a smart technician, which he put to use hauling bootleg alcohol, which helped him become the first and only black driver to win a major-league NASCAR race.
Photo Credit: Shannon Terry

In the vicinity, there is another moonshine distillery called Twin Creeks Distillery, where you may sample moonshine, fruit brandies, and “White Whiskey,” which is the distillery’s pure, unaged maize liquors that are available in 90- and 100-proof. Despite the fact that Law’s Choice, the third moonshine distillery to establish in the county, does not have a tasting room available to the public, they brew their moonshine in Franklin and sell it at select ABC shops around the state. In addition, if you’re traveling through Southern Virginia, make a point of stopping at the Bondurant Brothers Distillery in Mecklenburg County, which is owned by one of the famed Bondurant brothers’ great-grandsons.

You might be interested in sampling moonshine in other locations of Virginia.

  1. Are you interested in learning more about Virginia’s lesser-known history?

either the Historic Cavalier Hotel or the Airlie Hotel Keep reading to learn about the history of Earth Day, and stay tuned for more But Did You Know…

History of Moonshine – Learn to Moonshine

The government’s taxation of whiskey and the clandestine distillation of spirits is not a new phenomenon. The Whisky Rebellion of 1791 occurred as a result of a tax on alcoholic beverages imposed by the Congress under President George Washington. The vast majority of distillers at the time were farmers who lived in distant places where it was difficult to get their grain to markets for processing. All of their extra grain was distilled to make whiskey. The “Whiskey Boys” of Pennsylvania, Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina demonstrated against the tax, at times violently, in order to stop it.

  • In 1794, the violence escalated to the point of armed insurrection.

Washington replied by dispatching a large number of militiamen into the countryside to apprehend and confine the rabble.

The whiskey tax was abolished in the year 1803.

  1. The astronomically high levies were as much as eight times the cost of the alcoholic beverages themselves.

Tax collectors were turned into police officers by the Revenue Bureau of the United States Treasury Department.

As we progress through history, we get to the early 1900s, when the selling of alcoholic beverages was actually rendered illegal in many jurisdictions due to popular opposition to taxation.

  1. As a result of the growing demand for alcohol, quality standards were dropped as manufacturers focussed on producing bigger quantities to fulfill the increased demand.

Among the medical conditions that have been identified is Jake Leg Syndrome, which causes partial paralysis of the feet and legs after drinking a drink known as “Jake.” The fact that the operation was conducted secretly meant that health problems were frequently overlooked.

” alt=””> ” alt=””> Popcorn Sutton is a character in the film Popcorn Sutton.

  • In order to avoid doing time in a Federal Prison for yet another arrest, Marvin “Popcorn” Sutton, age 61, committed himself on March 16, 2009.

It was between 1965 and 1972 that “the heyday of moonshining occurred,” he says, “when you could purchase likker approximately every 200 feet in certain spots.” One of Popcorn’s most recent arrests occurred in 2007, when a fire broke out at his home in Parrotsville, and his stills were uncovered in the ensuing blaze.

He was apprehended once more in 2008, and at his trial, evidence of his illicit actions dating back to the 1970s was shown.

  1. He was adamant in his refusal to take such treatment and ultimately committed suicide.

Moonshining is still practiced today.

During the decade from 1954 to 1964, federal agents in North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama, and Mississippi destroyed more than 72,000 still photographs in their possession.

  • In October 2009, a “white liquor” distiller in Wilkesboro was apprehended, and 929 gallons of moonshine were seized from his premises.

Gewndolyn Brown-Johnson, a Charlotte community leader who ran a child day care center, was arrested in December 2009 for selling moonshine from her facility.

Brown-Johnson said she had no idea what was in the bag, which the agent had purchased for $80.

  1. This triple-distilled flavor moonshine is created in Madison, North Carolina, and it is completely legal to drink and drink responsibly.

Real moonshine is available in two distinct “flavors”: legal and illicit.

It’s all about the taxes these days.

  • A gallon of whiskey is subject to a $15.
  • 50 federal excise duty.

However, if you wish to create any alcohol in your still, even for your own personal consumption, you will need to get a federal license.

“Yes, you may have a still, but it must be allowed, and you can only manufacture spirits for use as fuel,” said Art Resnick, director of public and media affairs for the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau of the United States Treasury Department’s Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau.

  1. The process requires a federal distiller’s license and is prohibitively expensive for anyone other than a commercial distiller.

Small amounts of “craft” moonshine are currently being produced by artisans.

This is still a violation of the law.

  1. When it comes to alcohol, what is the difference between beer/wine and liquor?

A bottle of whiskey is taxed at more than $2, but a bottle of wine of the same quantity is taxed at around 20 cents.

It is possible to receive a license after completing reams of paperwork and spending upwards of $20,000, but this is not a cost that is worthwhile for the home distiller to incur.

  • Branch Water, White Lightning, Kickapoo, Moonshine, Happy Sally, Ruckus Juice, Joy Juice, Hooch, Panther’s Breath, Mountain Dew, Hillbilly Pop, Skull Cracker, Bush Wisky, Catdaddy, Cool Water, Old Horsey, Rot Gut, Wildcat, Rise’n Shine and Splo are some of the other names for moonshine that have been used.

Moonshine: The History Behind America’s Bootleg Liquor

Moonshine was initially used as a slang word to describe a spirit that had been illegally produced without the permission of the government. Moonshine has grown into a more popular and legally acquired commercial commodity in today’s marketplace.

History of American Moonshine

White lightning, mountain dew, home-brew, hillbilly pop, and rotgut are just a few of the numerous other names for the spirit, which is also known by many other names. Real moonshine is still illegal to create, and those who do so might face imprisonment if they are apprehended. Moonshine may be brewed in a variety of methods, and it is frequently created in a forest or in a location where the activity can be concealed. The Scott-Irish settlers in Virginia handed down their distilling knowledge to the newcomers in America.

  • When the 18th Amendment was enacted in 1919, it effectively prohibited the drinking and purchase of alcoholic beverages in half of the country (except for medicinal use.
  • ).

The Brockville Museum in Ontario has a postcard from 1909 that you may see here.

This is an illustration of the entrepreneurial spirit that exists in the United States.

  • Moonshine distillation was usually done at night in order to avoid being discovered.

In order to transport liquor throughout the United States, drivers known as bootleggers or runners modified automobiles with more space, powerful engines, and heavy-duty shock absorbers to withstand the weight of the alcoholic beverage were used.

messynessychic.combootleggerswhiskey.com

Famous Moonshiners

  • Maggie Bailey, known as the “Queen of Mountain Bootleggers,” made a living selling moonshine in Harlan Country to support her family.
  • Additional moonshines, such as Amos Owens and Marvin Popcorn Sutton, were also located in the surrounding region and sold moonshine.
  • Sutton’s life was converted into a reality television show on the Discovery Channel called “Moonshiners,” which followed his exploits.
  • “The Moonshine Man,” published in Harpers Weekly in 1877, depicts five vignettes from the life of a Kentucky moonshiner.

Popcorn Sutton is a character in the film Popcorn Sutton.

The Different Types of Stills

Using a Plastic StillFor distillation, a plastic still is used that has been particularly designed for separating ethanol from water. Plastic stills are capable of producing vapor alcohol with a concentration of up to 40%. They are particularly popular for home brewing due to their low cost and ease of manufacture. Column StillA column still, also known as a continuous still, is made up of two columns of text. It is capable of producing vapor alcohol concentrations of up to 96 percent. Stillness in a Spiral A spiral still is a form of column still that uses a slow air-cooled distillation process, and it is most widely utilized in the bootlegging industry.

  • It is popular because of its simplicity and inexpensive manufacturing costs, which result in a product that contains 95 percent alcohol.

In contrast to continuous distillation, they work on a batch distillation system.

The alcohol by volume (ABV) of spirits produced in this manner ranges from 60 to 80 percent.

Moonshine Today

  1. However, in current usage, the word “moonshine” still connotes that the whiskey is created illegally;
  2. however, it has been advertised as an opportunity to have a previously banned drinking experience.
  3. The production of legal moonshine and the sale of it in mason jars and other containers around the United States are embracing the history of the past.

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