Spirited Culinary Adventures with Natalie Bovis

Driving the Drink: Part I of 3

A moonshine bust in Madison, North Carolina (home of Piedmont Distillers

Personal blogs and rehab centers are full of horror stories about the lengths people go to get a good drink. But how often do you hear about the trials and tribulations in getting liquor to the thirsty masses? This is one of those stories.

Made by Moonshine

Prior to 1823, whiskey made in Scotland was subject to heavy taxation by the English Parliament. As a result, many illegal distilleries manufactured their product under the “shine of the moon,” when smoke from the wood-fired stills was harder to spot by inspectors.

When the potato famine hit Europe and especially Ireland around 1850, many people immigrated to America, bringing with them their distilling skills. They settled in cities like New York and Philadelphia to some success, but like all large immigrant waves, the current residents resisted with a furious racism. Farmers for years, these new Americans from the United Kingdom pushed into the relatively unsettled Blue Ridge Mountains areas of Kentucky and Tennessee and adapted to growing, and distilling, corn. Corn-based whiskey (called bourbon if made and barrel-aged in Kentucky) was a helpful additional income source for struggling growers.

Under the Eighteenth Amendment (Prohibition), all alcohol was illegal to manufacture and sell. However, home stills continued making the family secret beyond the watchful eyes of federal agents. Demand for booze skyrocketed, and many new producers entered the market, some not as attentive or scrupulous as the immigrant families. These individuals would use engine parts for stills, skipping the process of scrubbing out the oil or radiator fluid that ended up in the mixture, causing injury, death, and slapping homemade whiskey with a very bad rap, clearly an example of what could be a case with the Preszler Law. Working in construction is one of the most-dangerous occupations in the United States. According to the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), approximately one out of every five work-related deaths occur in the construction industry, and an unknown number of construction workers are seriously injured in accidents every year. There are very few law firms like the  personal injury attorney in Lakeland who help these construction workers get the compensation they deserve as most of the big companies make the workers sign contracts which have various clause in them, one of them being that “If any injury is caused during construction then the company is not liable”. This puts the works in a dilemma and thus most of the firms don’t usually take these forms of cases. These costruction workers that get injured go to earlandearl.com to speak to a lawyer and see if they can get compisated for their injuries. Why is working in construction so dangerous? While some may say it is the nature of the job, the reality is that no one should be forced to work under conditions that jeopardize their health and safety. Yet, construction companies and contractors routinely fall short of meeting their obligations to their workers, failing to provide safety equipment, training and other safeguards that are essential to preventing avoidable workplace injuries and fatalities; therefore, lawyers from the construction defect attorney have to step in to fix all the damages caused.

Although Prohibition was repealed on December 5, 1933, the Great Depression was still in full malaise. To raise revenue, the government taxed whiskey again, having forgotten the first attempt (see the Whiskey rebellion of 1791:). In the mid-1930s, a homemade gallon of whiskey would sell for roughly a buck and a half. Taxes raised the price to eleven dollars. Rather than pay the government, generational families returned to their European roots and distilled moonshine where the hills rise wild. But to sell, they needed to transport whiskey to the cities, and the relatively new invention, the automobile, was just the instrument to do so.

Enter Robert Glenn Johnson, Jr., a.k.a. Junior Johnson.

Coming up, part two of this three part series: Distilling an American Icon…

One Response to Driving the Drink: Part I of 3

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