Moonshine

Immigrants from Scotland and Ireland brought with them their preference and talent for making whiskey. Indian corn proved an acceptable grain substitute for Old World barley. And carrying whiskey to market on horseback over rough mountain roads was easier and more cost-effective than hauling bulky grain in wagons. The federal government imposed taxes on whiskey between 1791 and 1802, and again after the Civil War. Mountain farmers responded by moonshining, making whiskey deep in the woods by moonlight. Moonshine achieved new popularity during Prohibition, and many early stock car racers got their start racing law enforcement officers to market. Some in Appalachia still prefer the taste of high-proof shine, or simply wish to avoid paying high alcohol taxes.

Multimedia:

Below is the Digital Heritage Moment as broadcast on the radio:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Related Posts

  • OutlawsOutlaws Outlaw heroes in the tradition of Robin Hood have been an expression of Appalachian folklore since the pioneer period. Illegal actions to avenge a wrong or defend the honor of family or […]
  • Migration of the Scotch-Irish  from Ulster to Western North CarolinaMigration of the Scotch-Irish from Ulster to Western North Carolina Migration has been a major feature of human history, beginning with the earliest hunter-gatherers who ranged widely in pursuit of food. Other motives for migration have included war, […]
  • CornbreadCornbread Cornbread is a staple in the Appalachian diet. Introduced to the corn plant by Native Americans, European settlers in the New World quickly adopted it for its ease of cultivation, it’s […]
  • Cornhusk CraftsCornhusk Crafts   Appalachian people, of Cherokee, European, and African origin, all share a long history of making useful and decorative items from the outer leaves of ears of corn, known as […]
  • Great Valley RoadGreat Valley Road   The Great Valley Road was a product of geography and history. It followed the contours of the Appalachian Mountains from southeastern Pennsylvania to the Carolina […]