The moonshine origin story is an interesting one. It was created before prohibition, but its story carries throughout prohibition and even beyond. It’s known for being popular during the roaring 20s, but these days it can be purchased all over the world, and it’s totally legal! However, there’s a lot you should know about the history of moonshine and moonshine today. It’s a popular drink amongst alcoholics because of its high alcohol content levels. If you’re looking to learn more about moonshine, let’s get to it! 

The Moonshine Origin Story

Moonshine was originally created in England in the 18th century before it spread to the United States. Many claim its origins began in the United States, but that’s simply not the case. However, the United States can likely claim the rights for popularizing the intoxicating beverage. For the first 200 years, moonshine wasn’t illegal to consume or produce. 

During the early years, moonshine was used for trade. Because it was of high value, people would trade it for profit or other materials. It was especially popular amongst the communities around the Appalachian mountains where Scotch-Irish immigrants introduced the substance. 

Prohibition and Bootlegging

Because liquor and all other alcoholic substances were illegal, moonshine became more and more popular during prohibition, and for good reason. It was hard to sneak booze, but moonshine was so potent that you didn’t need to have too much of it on hand to get drunk. That made it the most cost-effective alcoholic beverage to purchase and share with friends. 

Bootlegging moonshine was also popular during prohibition. Many people transported moonshine throughout the United States because it was easy to hide from the authorities. Instead of having to hide a large container of beer, they could smuggle a small amount of moonshine that was capable of getting the same amount of people drunk. 

During prohibition, moonshine was made with a few different methods. However, the most popular was “The Studer Method” popularized by brothers Robert J. and Joseph M. Studer. They used a distiller and added sugar, yeast, water, rye, and fruits to the barrels. Of course, the entire process was much more complicated than that. However, they also used to add syrups to the drink to change the color and flavor, such as lemon or orange syrups. 

Moonshine in the Present

In the present day, moonshine is no longer illegal and can be purchased pretty much anywhere that liquor is sold. However, it cannot legally be produced in your home. That doesn’t stop people from doing it, though. Many people still create homemade moonshine and sell it to friends, family, and even online. These homemade variations are often known for being better and more alcoholic than varieties sold in stores, which is likely why people continue to make them. Alcoholics also often drink moonshine as a way to get intoxicated quickly without having to drink too much. 

What’s Moonshine Made Of?

There wasn’t one standard recipe for moonshine, so the ingredients often varied between sellers. However, for the most part, it consisted of fruits like prunes and apricots. It also contained yeast, rye, corn, and sugar. Some brewers even began putting unique ingredients into their moonshine, like paint thinners, embalming liquid, and manure as a way to intensify the experience of drinking. However, most brewers stuck to the same recipe of cornmeal, yeast, sugar, and water. The standard recipe stays the same to this day, although people still like to have their fun with it. 

Why Was Moonshine Dangerous?

Moonshine is dangerous because of its high alcohol content levels. It was (and still is) much more potent than other types of liquor. When consumed like another type of liquor (not taking into account the increased alcohol levels), one could face toxic alcohol poisoning. Moonshine has to be consumed safely and in small amounts only. Unfortunately, many people don’t take these rules seriously and will drink too much moonshine in one sitting, sending them straight to hangover/vomit city, or in more serious cases, the emergency room or even death. 

While it’s important to be cautious whenever you’re drinking anything, it’s especially important with moonshine. If you’re considering trying out this highly alcoholic drink, just have a taste or two and then switch back to something that isn’t as dangerous. Your body will thank you. 

On top of that, moonshine was dangerous during prohibition because you never exactly knew what you were going to get. Not all sellers were reputable, and with some including chemicals like paint thinner, some batches were more dangerous than others. However, that isn’t much of a problem in the present day. 

How Much Did Moonshine Cost?

During prohibition, moonshine would sell for approximately 25 dollars a gallon. That’s a lot of money for the 1920s. If you adjust for inflation, you’re looking at 325 dollars for one gallon of moonshine. Can you even imagine spending that much money on moonshine? By the late 20s, however, the price was cut in half, going for 12 dollars a gallon or 180 dollars adjusted for inflation. Still, pretty pricey. However, you have to remember that alcohol was illegal during this time, which made the prices much higher overall. Plus, moonshine was highly concentrated, meaning that a gallon could last a long time or serve a lot of people. 

Seek Treatment for Alcohol Addiction 

It’s fun to learn about the moonshine origin story, but it likely was used by a lot of alcoholics back in the day. Alcoholics often look for the easiest way to get drunk, pounding drinks in a short amount of time. With moonshine, they don’t have to drink as much, making it much easier to get intoxicated. 

You shouldn’t have to struggle with alcohol addiction all on your own. If you or someone you love is suffering from an addiction, it’s time to get help. To learn more about our treatment programs, call Asheville Recovery Center today. We’re eager to answer any questions you may have, and we’re here to help you get and stay sober.

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