The following is an excerpt from the book: The Art of Creating Cornbread in a Bottle:
“Like many consumers, I believed that bourbon was the true American spirit. It’s a good story, and distillers in Kentucky are adept at telling it. Bourbon, however, is basically aged corn whiskey, and corn whiskey was made in this country from the earliest days of the colonial settlers: Scots-Irish immigrants who traveled to the New World and brought their distilling skills with them. After the Whiskey Rebellion of 1791–94, those folks went underground and concocted their product in thousands of improvised stills throughout the Appalachian South. Their whiskey—unregulated, untaxed, and illegal—was made by the light of the moon and became known as moonshine.
As I researched the Whiskey Rebellion, I realized it was the source of many of the social and cultural divisions we see in America today. The widespread mistrust of the government throughout the South, as well as the resentment of the moneyed classes on the part of hardworking, rural citizens, is directly traceable to the events of 1791–94. Moonshining in the Appalachian South became both a source of sustenance and a way of life. In addition to being the only way to survive, it also became a symbol of the individual’s resistance against forces beyond his or her control.
Moonshine today is legal in many states, and mason jars filled with corn whiskey populate the shelves of retail stores across the country. Even so, the attitudes of moonshiners haven’t changed much. Many of these men and women are descendants of generations of people who hid stills in remote spots in the backwoods and risked prison time to support their families. They are proud of their heritage and are committed to making sure that their ancestors’ way of life doesn’t disappear.
The first part of this book traces the history of moonshine from the Whiskey Rebellion through the tax wars of the nineteenth century, and onward to Prohibition toward the present day. ”
Excerpt From: Mark Spivak. “Moonshine Nation.”