Southerners drink moonshine. We have been drinking moonshine ever since our ancestral outlaws decided to sneak off into the woods late at night and cook up some of grandmother’s finest home remedies. Commonly sealed inside a Mason jar with three black X’s streaked across the label, moonshine remains the South’s most iconic beverage of choice. Now, the rest of America is finally being clued into our wonderfully illegal secret.
While many people claim that moonshine isn’t real if it comes packaged and labeled, distilleries across the country are trying to debunk that idea by crafting their own original spin on the centuries-old recipe. Moonshine’s mythology has created an international phenomenon capitalizing on the liquor’s timeless lure. Firefly, Cat Daddy Carolina, Ole Smoky Tennessee and even Moonpie are just a few of the labels in line to profit on the reemergence of commercial moonshine.
For those unfamiliar with this magical concoction, moonshine is basically whisky that hasn’t been aged and is bottled straight off the still. The ingredients remain simple: sugar, yeast, water and corn. With such an easy-to-duplicate production process, homemade versions of moonshine became so popular that the U.S. government decided to criminalize backwoods brews due to tax and public safety-related questions. Many, many years later, homemade moonshine stills remain illegal, but liquor laws have allowed legitimate businesses the chance to jump on the moonshine bandwagon. And jump they have.
According to Technomic, a food and beverage analysis, after selling 50,000 cases of their 100-proof branded moonshine in 2010, Ole Smoky Tennessee Moonshine sales ballooned to 280,000 just two years later, and this tidal wave of popularity shows no signs of ebbing.
The Discovery Channel’s “Moonshiners”, a docudrama dramatizing the lives of people who continue to illegally brew the beverage, regularly dominates the Nielsen ratings for Wednesday night cable, and the show’s host recently branded his own take on moonshine. Major distilleries such as Jack Daniels and Jim Beam have taken note of the rise in moonshine popularity and quickly capitalized on the sensation, each releasing their own version of “radiator whisky”.
Moonshine lunacy has engulfed America. Locals looking to quench their Southern thirst can purchase this sublime “jet fuel” at most liquor stores in Chattanooga.