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Turn on your television and start flipping through the channels. Chances are you’ll stumble across one of the new “actuality” programs chronicling the life and times of Moonshiners. While moonshining itself is nothing new (it has been around since the Revolutionary War) the fascination as a society we have for it is.  Americans are more and more frequently faced with the corruption and hypocracy of big government; as a result, we find it amusing that a merry group of outlaws has found an unorthodox way to stick it to the man.


Think the days of bootleggers, backwoods stills and “white lightning” are long gone? Not a chance. It’s a thriving multi-million dollar industry. Perhaps more importantly to the moonshiners, however, is it’s a tradition dating back hundreds of years, passed down to them from their forefathers. It’s part of their unique history and culture. While this practice is surprisingly alive and well, it’s almost always illegal.


The origin of moonshining in the United States has been linked with the Whiskey Rebellion during the 1790’s. Under President George Washington, a Federal tax was imposed on whiskey, which farmers strongly resented as this revenue was frequently the key to surviving a bad crop year. This new tax led to a backlash and rise in illegal distillers. Even the origins of NASCAR have been traced back to the skilled driving of moonshiners eluding law enforcement.

Law Enforcement

While they may seem somewhat backwards, moonshiners in this country have a long and proud history of staying just outside the reach of the long arm of the law. Often setting up camp in remote backwoods locations, moonshiners have been brewing up some pretty potent stuff for hundreds of years. Even now with government bigger than it has ever been and many claiming these people suffer from an insane alcohol addiction, illegal moonshining continues to thrive in certain parts of the country where there is always a demand for a nice, stiff beverage.

It’s an entertaining game of cat and mouse the cops and moonshiners continue to play with each other, and we as a society have become smitten with the idea of a few good ole’ boys out in the woods skirting the big bad government regulators.  While some would surely suggest these moonshiners are in desperate need of treatment for alcohol addiction, others marvel at the entrepreneurial spirit they brazenly exhibit with their toothless grins.

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