🌽 Moonshine Defined
❦ Moonshine is technically defined as a clear, un-aged whiskey or rum (usually whiskey). It is made primarily of corn mash, but often contains varying constituents unique to a brewer’s personal taste.
❦ The fundamental ingredients in authentic moonshine are cornmeal, sugar, yeast, and water.
❦ The term “moonshine” is alleged to be derived from the word “moonrakers”, which was used to describe early English smugglers, as well as, the secret-like nature of the Appalachian distillers who ran illegal production and distribution whiskey operations during the night.
❦ “Moonshiners” are individuals who produce moonshine, while “bootleggers” are the ones who transport and distribute moonshine.
❦ The difference between whiskey and moonshine is aging. Whiskey comes out of the stills clear. Moonshiners bottle this clear whiskey and sell it as moonshine.
🌽 Moonshine Law
❦ Although the federal government legalized homebrewing for the first time since Prohibition in 1978, Moonshine brewing was still illegal because the law excluded spirits.
❦ Moonshine was illegal in the United States until 2010.
❦ Tennessee was the first to legalize Moonshine, followed by Kentucky, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, and more.
❦ Current laws allow licensed distilleries to produce Moonshine so long as they pay the required state and federal taxes upon its production.
❦ It is still technically illegal to homebrew your own Moonshine for personal consumption if you do not retain the proper permits. You have to go through a lot of red tape before you can legally produce and distribute Moonshine.
❦ Illegal moonshine operations still occur today because brewers want to avoid paying high excise taxes.
🌽 Moonshine Safety
❦ Without the proper equipment and knowledge, it is possible for moonshine to cause lead poisoning.
❦ The result of improper fermentation can turn the corn mash into methanol, which can cause blindness and death.
❦ Poorly produced moonshine can be contaminated. And many people died during Prohibition as a result of contaminated Moonshine.
❦ The moonshine distilling process can be very dangerous since it is very flammable. Furthermore, inadequate ventilation can lead to dangerous levels of vaporized alcohol in the air.