You can still find moonshining going on in every state in the union if you look hard enough, but popular culture will probably always associate the making of white lightning with the South.
In America’s early years, moonshining was a practical enterprise. Farmers could earn extra money by converting excess crops into corn whiskey or apple and peach brandy, and selling it.
Of course, the federal government’s attempt to impose a tax on liquor manufacturing, beginning in the 1790s, didn’t sit well with farmers and other individuals who lived in rural areas where moonshine was considered a commodity. Consider the Whiskey Rebellion.
By the early 20th century, the advent of the automobile gave illegal distillers an effective means to get their product to market. To outrun police and revenuers, moonshiners became adept at souping up their vehicles.
Writer Jack deJarnette grew up in North Georgia and would occasionally ride with a moonshiner named P.J. Puckett on his runs. According to deJarnette, P.J.’s daddy O.J, and his uncles N.J. and M.J. had a moonshine still back in the woods behind their house in Cleveland, Ga., where they produced moonshine of the highest quality possible.