Moonshine has a long, rich history that goes back further than most people realize. Even throughout the prohibition era, there remained a strong following of moonshiners, and their clients, who took the risk to enjoy this fiery beverage. In this post, we’re going to take a look back at the history and heritage surrounding moonshine.
The word moonshine comes from the word “moonrakers,” which is used to describe English smugglers who transported and traded illegal goods. It’s believed that moonshining dates all the way back to the early American settlers. Some of the English settlers who first landed on America soil created and sold their own moonshine. At the time, however, moonshine was scarce and its popularity was relatively low.
The truth is that moonshine didn’t explode with popularity into the prohibition of alcohol took place in the 1920s. With federal agents shutting down bars and liquor stores, residents were forced to look elsewhere to fulfill their need. Even though there was a black market for liquor and beer, it didn’t have the same ‘kick’ as good old fashioned moonshine. People were eager to purchase shine and savvy businessmen were eager to sell it.
There were several key regions in the U.S. which played a role in the history of moonshine, one of which is the Appalachian Mountains. Residents here would build stills deep in the woods where the rugged terrain protected them from the prying eyes of law enforcement. Of course, transporting the moonshine into town was a whole different story. 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.
In an effort to outrun law enforcement, moonshiners began to make performance adjustments and modifications to their vehicles. Boosting their cars’ performance gave them a better shot at outrunning law enforcement on the road. Moonshiners were able to transport their beverage with ease thanks to these performance upgrades. It’s a little known fact that this is essentially how stock car racing was invented.
The prohibition of alcohol didn’t come to a stop until 1966, when Mississippi (the last state following prohibition laws) was allowed to sell alcohol once again. Today, there are still federal laws governing the production and sell of moonshine. If you plan on producing your own batch, do your homework beforehand to ensure you are abiding by all federal laws.