HAVE YOU EVER DRANK ANY "TENNESSEE WHITE WHISKEY" OR MOONSHINE BEFORE?
Moonshine is any distilled spirit made in an unlicensed still. As with all distilled spirits, yeast or naturally occurring bacteria (such as Zymomonas mobilis) ferments a sugar source to produce alcohol; the alcohol is then extracted through the process of distillation.
Because of an "illegal air" in the past, moonshine is rarely aged in barrels like proper whiskey, and it sometimes contains impurities and off flavors if made without care. The off flavors may come from improper mashing, fermentation or distillation, and unsuitable storage containers. In popular culture, moonshine is usually presented as being extremely strong and in North America is commonly associated with Appalachia and Atlantic Canada.
Moon-shining is usually done using small-scale stills. Typically, the still is built by the moonshine producer, thus avoiding the legal ramifications of obtaining a still commercially. The pot still is made of copper or stainless steel, and a water filled barrel with a copper tubing coil for a condenser, is the traditional type of still, being popular with early moonshine producers due to its simplicity and ease of construction. More efficient Reflux stills are available to the modern moonshiner, either self-built, assembled from a kit, or purchased fully assembled.
In the 1700's poverty in Appalachian hills had brought the farming of small corn being one of few viable choices. Farming, price, and demand made moonshine a promising business for [West] Virginia. But moonshining became illegal in Virginian and Northern Appalachians due to unethical political deals in Washington D.C. which taxed, harassed, and imprisoned the poor of east Appalachia to promote whiskey from major distillers that were on the other side of the mountains (ie, in Tennesee, Ohio). The big interests had been discomfited by the expense of travel to get it over or around the Appalachian mountains by wagon and inability to compete with the poor farmers, thus "made deals in D.C." to stop competition from moonshiners. See also: The Whiskey Rebellion of 1795.
Modernly, moonshine easy to get permission to make in personal quantities (with all fire codes followed) and its easy to find many a good recipe for, but to sell it as safe to consume is difficult and requires training and inspections.
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