According to the BBC and Double XX, moonshine is now an accepted beverage among foodies.
As part of the movement to grow and process your own food, home breweries are popular. I guess moonshine was the next logical step. Per the BBC:
Though most prosecutions continue to be in the south, many of today’s new moonshiners are hipster kids, foodie enthusiasts and hobbyists on America’s coasts, making booze in their kitchens and bathrooms.
Growing up in the foothills of Appalachia, this just seems…strange. To me, moonshine means redneck and white trash. If you’ve ever seen or smelled a still, I question the desire to build one in your kitchen and bathroom.
Certainly moonshining is part of the cultural fabric in the South. NASCAR got its start when moonshiners built fast cars to escape local authorities. Reports of knowing someone who bought moonshine from a neighbor’s brother’s cousin’s fraternity friend are not that exceptional. In college, I had co-workers who frequently bought moonshine in Scott County, Tennessee. And by tradition, some people keep a jar of moonshine in their car in case they run out of gas. Other friends actually drank some of the famous apple pie moonshine that Marvin “Popcorn” Sutton made that the Double XX story mentions.
According to both stories, part of the allure of moonshine is breaking the law and sticking it to “The Man.” So of course Double XX makes the leap to Tea Party folks:
Despite the potential appeal to Manhattan cocktailers, the real draw of moonshine at this moment in time may be its links to “the elemental rural libertarianism that shaped American politics.” (Tea Party moonshine, anyone?)
I can somewhat understand the appeal. Sometimes both sides of the political spectrum move so far to the fringe that they share common beliefs. The anti-commercialism, anti-corporate urbanites are drawn to the illicit spirit just like Middle America libertarians are. To my understanding, it’s not illegal to make moonshine for personal consumption, but it is illegal to sell it. (Someone, please correct me if I’m wrong.) That feeds into the personal liberty trend growing in this country.
There are drawbacks. Sales of moonshine are illegal not only because of lost tax revenue, but also because homemade grain alcohol can be dangerous. Moonshine is almost pure alcohol and isn’t that far off from the ethanol used as a supplement in gasoline–hence the reason to keep a jar in your trunk. Anti-government types and foodies may like the naturalness of moonshine, but there are benefits of buying liquor and food from licensed companies that follow safety regulations.
Stories like this make me wonder why urban-dwellers are so pretentious and look down at those in the South and fly-over country. What’s redneck to me is apparently cutting-edge to hipsters.