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Jan 18, 2021

Moonshine

Moonshine, illegal, untaxed whiskey distilled in the “light of the moon,” has been a part of North Carolina lore and culture for centuries. From the state’s eastern swamps and pocosins to its remote mountain bays, more than a few North Carolinians have engaged in the production of untaxed whiskey. At the time of Prohibition, of course, moonshine had its heyday. But even after that, production continued to this day. It’s been legal in NC for a few years now, and a few families who had been in the business for generations decided to try their luck making brands that are sold in proper liqueur stores around the state.

I was fortunate enough to visit the Call Family Distillery, Broadslab Distillery and the Whiskey Jail, a former prison now used for distilling moonshine.

Mr. Call, the grandson of the co-founder of Jack Daniels Whiskey, even taught me a rather interesting fun fact while visiting the oldest, rundown and abandoned NASCAR series racetrack in America. Nascar, he said, was invented in his backyard in Wilkesboro County by moonshiners. The moonshiners had enough money in the 1940s to buy the best car tuners from all over the U.S., and they employed the fastest drivers so they could run from the police with their illegal load. After finishing their smuggling work, they would met to compete against each other with their tuned-up cars. This evening fun led to the invention of the Nascar series.