How Moonshine Works



First use of Moonshine the English word goes back to the fifteenth century literally meaning shine of the Moon and figuratively figuratively quote appearance without substance pretense or fiction and the first time it was used to refer to liquor that didn't occur until the eighteenth century England and it's specifically referred to illegal or smuggled alcohol. That's why the name because smugglers use the cover of night to smuggle their goods which didn't necessarily have to be moonshine yes but but <hes> smuggling alcohol was common in Europe at the time and smugglers had only the shine of the moon to guide their pass moonlight was sometimes used in the same sense <hes> as moonshine was until the nineteenth century a yeah and for a while there any job or activity that was done late at night might be called moon shining or moonlighting but eventually moonshine nine came to really basically mean booze and booze related activities and moonlighting came to mean that other thing that moonlighting means. I totally forgot about moonlighting yeah. That's true I I remember because it was a company any stipulation that you couldn't moonlight and I had to get a thing that I could that movie anyway. There's actually a folk tale from the time about a group of smugglers caught in the act of raking the pond pond Abe bond aunt for barrels of smuggled French Brandy <hes> than they were caught by some tax collectors in the middle of the Act yes and thinking on their feet. The smugglers pretended to be a group of confused drunk people trying trying to rake in the moon's reflection or in their drunken parlance cheese yeah yeah there were like nod dude. We're not there's no certainly barrels of brandy in there. We're just trying to get the sweet cheese out of this pond rea- so drug rug this bulletproof ploy obviously worked and the clippers labeled the smugglers as moon rakers win about their merry way. I'm sure laughing about all those silly drunk. People and Moonshine was often typically. We made night in hopes. No one would see smoke from the stools yeah <hes> it got its start in America in green producing states like Pennsylvania yeah immigrants from England and Scotland and Ireland who settled in Appalachia brought there whiskey recipes with them and adopted them for whatever grains were they were growing around here right and instead of letting excess green go to waste producers distilled it not only could you drink or maybe sell this stuff but in some places it was an accepted currency it could be the difference difference between surviving and not a big economic <hes> <hes> may not staple but but site game it was so in seventeen ninety one when the U._S. government you know seeing all of this implemented the whiskey tax in an effort to pay off the cost of the revolutionary war. <hes> people were happy about it. No no also thinks to this for letting me once again. Look up the Alexander Hamilton sound job because they say in their. Air Jefferson there's a cabinet and he says when Britain tax our T. we got frisky. Imagine what's going to happen. If you GONNA tax on Whiskey and it was true I mean this was right after the revolutionary war in some people's you you know like like mentality about it was like we just we just went to war about taxation without representation. Why why why are you going to taxes for this now yeah and it was a big shifts from it was basically states? Rice versus versus a federal bank and so we are still figuring out a lot of stuff you renew country <hes> and yeah we talked about this in our Bourbon whiskey episode so yeah people didn't like it. distillers resorted to all <unk> sorts of things to evade tax the point the U._S. Marshal descended upon Pennsylvania coming to collect and his presence was not welcomed five hundred men attacked the home of the local tax inspector general and during the skirmish the group's leader was killed which escalated into a protest made up of over six thousand people President George Washington sent thirteen thousand troops to deal with the situation who yes US yeah. All of this was part of the Whiskey rebellion in eighteen o one the U._S. government repealed the whiskey tax <hes> and this was one of our new countries. I test yeah the whisky rebellion whisky rebellion. We're serious about it yard in before and after this though moon shining really took off in the south tales were told about gunfights between collectors trying to get excise taxes for moon shiners in the eighteen sixties these skirmishes increased as revenuers came around trying to collect excise taxes for the civil war a yeah during an after the civil war times were particularly hard for a lot of Americans and there was again a lot of resentment from people who were scraping scraping to make a living off of things like moonshine towards these taxes <hes> and moon shiners came together with the Ku Klux Klan as this conflict against the tax collectors and crew and several battles ensued as desperation went up Moon shiners became more ruthless and violent in their tactics attacking Iraq members and their families and anyone who they believed may give away the location of a still and this did not India moonshine owners to their communities and the public opinion started to shift towards the negative end when it came to moon shiners at the same time temperance is getting more and more public support yeah in the Georgia Mountains in eighteen seventy six four fifths of the court cases and federal law enforcement focus was on illegal alcohol well yeah <hes> wanted to mention too wasn't just a man's world now no take Nancy and see the moon shiner. She was <hes> in New Jersey in eighteen eighties. Her neighbors largely regarded her as eccentric and I can see why because under the cover of night she would steal <music> apples and use those apples to make what she called Jersey a lightning or applejack okay yes that is a my little pony by the way a detective on her case snuck onto her property but nancy knocked him out and go Nancy. We can't help but root for them. <hes> then there was moonshine Mary a Polish emigrant out of Illinois who made moonshine insult shots of it out of her home for fifteen cents but but she went on to become the first woman in that state to be convicted for selling poisoned liquor and as we've discussed before women were also involved in the transporting of illegal alcohol <hes> there's Willie Carter sharp who gave testimony to the nineteen thirty five moonshine conspiracy trial with diamond studded teeth diamond studied that you know I nothing but respect aspect. I couldn't pull it off. That is about as America as you get. I think you're at a moonshine. You've been arrested well firearms which she was and he was show time Tate Yup yeah you do. You're right. You're right but here we come to the Nineteen Twenty s and prohibition right for Moonshine. This was the best thing that could have happened now that you couldn't buy alcohol Oh by legal means more people were seeking out illegal sources for their booze and Moonshine had been rocking that for for a while yeah already demand was so great moonshine resorted to water down alcohol and sugar-based moonshine as opposed to crane based species with passwords and secret ways to escape in case the authorities ever showed up and organized crime around the smuggling and sale of alcohol flourish yeah <hes> in hot spots like in one <hes> Franklin County Virginia Virginia. It's been estimated that ninety nine percent of the residents were involved in the moonshine trade during this time and so that's a lot of kids as well you know okay okay <hes> during the one thousand nine hundred thirty s moonshine roots from Dawson County which is the big city from where I grew up and our high school rival- they gallons of Moonshine to Atlanta and my very own home county of Lumpkin okay was big and the Moonshine seen thirties and forties as well and also distillers sometimes use the bone from raccoons Venus. Yes they do have bones they do in the distilling process of the man in Dawson. Bill gave me a history lesson and like I said he had one in his hat <hes> and yes like. I said he had previously worked for NASA PRETTY COOL Yeah Yeah. I think that I think the the penis bone is is used to help control the flow of the spirit from the condensing hose into the collection vessel like at the end of the process process. I think that's yeah that's he showed us how to use what it was used for sure. I don't know but yeah I think that was that was it was the right size without right yeah yeah and it's Kinda got this little like s curve IRV shape so so and and sort of a little groove in it where the urethra goes so I I read a surprising amount about raccoon penises during research for this episode never know go well there. You are your life profession. I sometimes I sometimes hope that like some government. Official has to look at my search. My searches someday to just go like Oh dear what oh I don't even know me too. I like to imagine there's one person assigned to you and you're just making their life. Super Interesting disturbed well. You're welcome so back to moonshine right anyway. Business was booming until prohibition was repealed in nineteen thirty three then sales flattened that didn't mean it went away much of the federal government <hes> who tried to wrangle this moonshine situation into the seventies share without these laws prohibiting alcohol although there are still dry counties and they're obviously we're back then going to the trouble of seeking out moonshine for the average person just. This wasn't worth it yeah. In order to transport as much moonshine as possible mechanics would find tune their cars upgrading the engine adding in secret compartments for the product <hes> shocks and springs were installed to protect the booze and accounts of oil slicks smoke springs these are called tanker cars and were frequently unassuming nineteen forties fords. I think I read this whole thing about Henry Ford being like a teetotaler rain like being so offended about the yes that's fine and drivers who were also called runners are trippers had to have some real driving know how some sweet news as they say to evade the authorities they also had to know all the mountain backroads well enough to drive them in the dark without headlights. One of their moves was called the bootleg turn a quick turnaround into controls kid eh in their spare time these drivers would work on their skills by racing against each other sometimes at fairgrounds sometimes for pay sometimes with thousands of spectators so okay once prohibition went away and in World War Two ended there was this group of skilled drivers who have souped up cars and enjoyed recent each other who saw that people would pay to watch them race and they were in the market for a new job a Ha so in nineteen she forty-seven this gave birth to ask supposedly the winner of the very first race used the same car to make a run like a week previous. Oh my goodness I love it. I do too. I I had no idea about this when we rolled up that distillery and there's all the NASCAR memorabilia this is interesting but for real moonshine in Nascar are and were tight Raymond Parks Moonshine was the first is to bring together a formal official racing team.

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