Cool facts about Moonshine history
Our Smoky Mountains are home to legendary moonshine! Making spirits has long been a tradition in East Tennessee, although it hasn’t always been above board. To help spark your interest for your next visit to our moonshine distillery, TN Shine Co. has put together some cool facts about moonshine history and the Smokies.
Many Irish and Scottish immigrants settled in the Smoky Mountains. They brought with them their time-honored practice of distilling whiskey. And while European whiskey is often made with malted barley, the settlers used locally grown corn instead.
When the federal government passed a new $2 per gallon excise tax on whiskey, distillers in the Smoky Mountains were not pleased and many Appalachian folks decided not to pay it. In order to avoid the law, distillers would do their work at night, by the light of the moon. And that’s why their unaged corn whiskey was soon called “moonshine”.
What today is a popular attraction in the Smoky Mountains, many years ago it was a favorite hideout for moonshiners because of its remote location and subterranean lake (from which the distillers got their water). When you tour Forbidden Caverns, your guide will point out an old moonshine still in the cave.
Lewis Redmond was a legendary Robin Hood moonshiner in the Smokies. He became a person of interest in 1876 when he shot and killed a deputy who tried to arrest him. Redmond spent five years on the run, hiding out in the mountains and sharing his moonshine money with his supporters. He was arrested in 1881, but ultimately pardoned.
Rumor has it that when Prohibition came into effect in 1920, both entrepreneurs and criminals all around the country started illegally distilling and selling alcohol. Even the infamous mob boss Al Capone might have stashed his illicit spirits in the Smoky Mountains before transporting them to Chicago.
Here at Tennessee Shine Company, we stick to our family’s signature recipes – you can taste the authenticity with every swig. And, just like our Prohibition-era moonshiner ancestors, we’re blessed with a view of the Great Smoky Mountains and a love for handcrafting the best small-batch moonshine and whiskey in the country. Pair that with our down-home, friendly atmosphere, and you’ll understand what sets our XXX Distillery apart from the rest. Come on out visit with us and sample our award winning shine.