Moonshining on the Bluestone – Bluestone National Scenic River (U.S. National Park Service) Moonshine—illegally distilled corn whiskey. One of the biggest legends of the West Virginia mountaineers and their lifestyle was the moonshiner. As with any legend there is always a grain of truth, and the grain in this story is 190 proof.
The mountaineer lived a subsistence lifestyle based on the concept of make do or do without. Food was grown, hunted, and gathered. Shelter, house, clothing, and bedding were made with simple tools from local resources. Water was supplied by cold mountain springs. Bartering and trading were the common forms of exchanging and acquiring goods you could not produce on your own, and cash money was always in short supply.
Early European peoples in the remote and isolated mountain settlements had to possess the skills and ingenuity to make do in many unique ways, and moonshining was one. The distillation of grain into whiskey was an old world skill that soon flourished anew in the Appalachians.
- If a West Virginia mountaineer wanted to drink whiskey, they did what they would always do; they made it themselves.
- The main subsistence food crop was corn, so corn supplied the grain.
- A basic “still” required a large metal cooking pot with a funnel- like neck, a spiral worm tube (copper tubing for creating condensation), and a pot to catch the condensation.
Corn was crushed and mixed with water to create a mixture called mash. Mash was left to ferment in open barrels and produced “still beer”, a mild alcoholic liquid that was cooked in the still pot, causing vapor to run through the worm, condense, and drip into another pot.
This product, 190 proof alcohol, was cut with good spring water to make 100 proof clear corn whiskey. Practicing the subsistence art of moonshining brought the mountaineer into contact with the outside world in two forms. As coal mining and commercial logging towns became prevalent throughout the Appalachians there was finally a lucrative cash market for the mountaineer’s corn crop, provided you sold it by the gallon instead of the bushel.
And no moonshining story or legend is complete without the cat and mouse game played between the moonshiner and his arch rival the federal revenue agent or “revenuer”. Government taxing of moonshine whiskey in the United States occurred intermittently before the Civil War and constantly thereafter, and from 1919 to 1933, nationwide prohibition on the consumption of alcoholic beverages was the law of the land.
Tax revenue agents hunted the mountains in search of illegal stills and mountaineers in noncompliance with federal tax laws. The name moonshine comes from the illicit nature of the business, and the need to produce and distribute the whiskey in remote places at night, under the light of the full moon.
The best access to exploring the Bluestone National Scenic River is through Pipestem State Park. The park preserves the history of moonshining, and this is only fair because when the park was being developed in the 1960’s two active moonshine stills were discovered and destroyed within the park boundaries.
- You can see an actual confiscated still on display at the State Park Nature Center along with an authentic mountain cabin and farmstead that has been relocated to the site.
- Ride the tramway 1,100 feet down into the Bluestone Gorge and you will pass by a rock overhang that shelters the re-creation of the once active, once remote and hidden moonshine still that the tramline exposed.
: Moonshining on the Bluestone – Bluestone National Scenic River (U.S. National Park Service)
- 1 What alcohol is West Virginia known for?
- 2 What is the main product of West Virginia?
- 3 What is produced in West Virginia?
- 4 What was made in West Virginia?
- 5 What drinks are Virginia known for?
- 6 What is the national drink of the USA?
- 7 Does West Virginia sell moonshine?
What moonshine is from West Virginia?
| The making of illegal or moonshine whiskey has a long history in West Virginia and elsewhere. The word entered the English language about 1785 when white brandy was smuggled on the southeast England coast of Kent and Sussex. Those who made or transported the beverage worked under moonlight to escape the law.
Moonshine is illegal because producers do not abide by state or federal laws regarding the licensure, manufacture, sale, and taxation of distilled spirits. In West Virginia, field corn, soft creek water, and industrious farmers came together to make moonshine, sometimes also called mountain dew or white lightning.
Moonshine is typically 100-proof whiskey, aged little or none, and was an important cash crop. So long as revenue agents did not cause trouble, making moonshine was an efficient and profitable way to market corn. With a good still, one-and-a-half bushels of corn was reduced to a gallon of whiskey, which was worth more than the grain itself and less bulky to transport.
Some used it to buy property, and a good copper still and the condensing coil or “worm” had considerable value themselves. On March 3, 1791, soon after the colonies became a nation, Congress imposed the first taxes on stills and whiskey. Such laws caused the 1794 Whiskey Rebellion, an uprising in western Pennsylvania and parts of present West Virginia.
West Virginia prohibition took effect in 1914. Then, from 1920 until 1933 the U.S. government enforced nationwide prohibition, causing a dramatic increase in moon shining. Even when national prohibition ended, parts of the South remained dry. In any case, some imbibers remained partial to clear mountain whiskey, and illegal distilling continued.
This mixture, called mash, was fermented in open barrels. If moonshiners had yeast and used it, the fermentation took up to four days; if they didn’t have yeast and if the weather was cool, fermentation took longer, maybe two weeks. When fermentation was complete, the mildly alcoholic liquid, now called beer, was ready to distill or ‘‘run off.” The beer was heated in the still’s pot or copper kettle to the temperature, well below boiling, when alcoholic vapors rise from the liquid.
Homemade corn liquor is just about a thing of the past, however, since sugar is now usually substituted for most of the grain. A number of licensed distilleries in West Virginia now make legal whiskey branded as “moonshine.” This Article was written by Mark F.
What alcohol is West Virginia known for?
West Virginia has a long history of making moonshine in the hills. Several distilleries, wineries, meaderies and breweries are still crafting a variety of flavorful sips. Spirits used to be made from field corn and creek water, and the shine was commonly known as “white lightning” as much for its effect on people as its likelihood to blow up while being made.
What liquor is made in West Virginia?
Still Hollow Spirits – A farm-to-bottle distillery, Still Hollow Spirits specializes in traditional mountain style whiskey as well as unique botanical infusions. Their one-of-a-kind spirits include corn whiskey, rye whiskey, ginseng moonshine, cranberry moonshine and mint moonshine. To learn more about Still Hollow Spirits schedule a tour and get a taste of their mountain spirits.
What is Virginia’s signature drink?
Virginia: George Washington’s Rye Whiskey – George Washington, a Virginia native, has his obvious claims to fame. But did you know he also distilled whiskey? Produced at his Mount Vernon home in the 1790s, the rye whiskey is still in production today. In 2017, it became, Continue reading to see other signature drinks in your region.
What is something West Virginia is known for?
West Virginia Pictures and Facts The big bridge over the New River Gorge was once the biggest arch bridge in the world. The big bridge over the New River Gorge was once the biggest arch bridge in the world. Photograph by Lightscribe, Dreamstime Get facts and photos about the 35th state.
Nickname: The Mountain State Statehood: 1863; 35th state Population (as of July, 2016): 1,831,102 Capital: Charleston Biggest City: Charleston Abbreviation: WV State bird: cardinal State flower: rhododendron
After archaeologists discovered spear points used to hunt extinct species such as mastodons and, they realized that people have lived in what’s now West Virginia at least 10,500 years. Many thousands of years after these ancient people lived, including the, Iroquois, Manahoac, Meherrin, Monacan, Nottaway, Shawnee, Occaneechi, Tutelo, and Saponi populated the land.
As a result, Native Americans’ homelands were taken, and tribes began supporting the French in a land war against the British (often called the French and Indian War) from 1756 until 1763. The British won that battle, so West Virginia was still part of Virginia during the Revolutionary War of 1775 to 1783.
But at the beginning of the Civil War (1861-1865), West Virginia refused to secede (withdraw) from the Union along with the rest of the state. John Brown, an abolitionist—someone who wanted to abolish slavery—staged a famous raid on Harpers Ferry in 1859. Brown hoped weapons gained in the raid would be used in the fight against slavery, but his raid failed.
West Virginia separated from Virginia in 1861, and two years later, it became its own state. West Virginia was originally going to be called “Kanawha,” a name that honors a Native American tribe. However, even though the region separated from, officials still wanted that as part of its new name.
Virginia was named after a nickname of Queen Elizabeth I, who ruled in the late 1500s.) West Virginia is called the Mountain State because it’s the only state completely within the Appalachian Mountain region, and its average elevation is higher than any other state east of the Mississippi River! Left: West Virginia state flag Right: West Virginia state symbols quarter: © Pancaketom | Dreamstime rhodondendron: Maya Bunschoten | Dreamstime cardinal: Wildphotos | Dreamstime.
black bear: Daveallenphoto | Dreamstime Some people think this state’s shape looks like a leaping frog, with its nose in the southwestern corner. It’s bordered by,, and in the north; Maryland and in the east; Virginia and in the south; and Kentucky and Ohio in the west.
Its wiggly western border is created by the Ohio River, while its winding eastern border is created by the Appalachian Mountains. It can be divided into two geographical regions. The Appalachian Ridge and Valley Region includes the Appalachian and Blue Ridge Mountains, which start in the northeast and run southwest.
This region is known for its parallel ridges that were cut by streams, as well as canyons called “water gaps.” Forests, caves, and high peaks dot this area, including the state’s highest point, Spruce Knob. The Allegheny Plateau spreads across the rest of the state, and has flat-topped hills and rounded peaks.
Cornsnakes, mountain earthsnakes, fence lizards, stinkpots (a kind of turtle), and five-lined skinks are some of the that slither and skitter through West Virginia. such as tiny cricket frogs, mountain chorus frogs, Allegheny Mountain dusky salamanders, and West Virginia spring salamanders also live throughout the state.
Some of West Virginia’s most common trees include hemlock, red spruce, cedar, ash, pitch pine, hickory, and cucumbertree, which has cucumber-shaped fruit. The state also has a large number of native wildflowers such as Virginia bluebells, Virginia buttonweed, Virginia potato (which has edible roots), and Virginia strawberry.
As the ‘ third most-forested state, West Virginia is known for its timber and protected woodlands. It’s also famous for its salt: Wild buffalo and deer gathered to lick natural salt deposits, and Native Americans and colonists gathered salt to cure butter and preserve meats.
It’s even pictured on the West Virginia quarter. —Visitors to Harpers Ferry National Historical Park can learn about life in the 1800s, including old-timey trades such as dressmaking, blacksmithing, and dairy making. Tour guides in period dress hang out around the historical buildings and homes.
Hiking trails take you to places such as the Point, where the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers meet for a view of,, and West Virginia at the same time! —Pedestrians and cyclists can follow the Wheeling Heritage Trail System along old, no longer used railway tracks for more than 13 miles. —Wild onions called ramps are grown in West Virginia in spring.
They’re so popular that they have their own annual festival called the Feast of the Ramson! —Author and civil rights activist Pearl S. Buck, Confederate general Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson, and pilot Chuck Yeager (the first person to break the sound barrier in flight) were all born in West Virginia.
What alcohol was popular in the Wild West?
Saloons of the American West Mammoth Saloon,, Arizona by Kathy Alexander Keystone Hall, Laramie, Wyoming, 1868. Well, there just ain’t no talkin’ about the, without mentioning the dozens, no hundreds – er, thousands of of the American West. The very term “saloon” itself conjures up a picture within our minds of an Old West icon, complete with a wooden false front, a wide boardwalk flanking the dusty street, a couple of hitchin’ posts, and the always present swinging doors brushing against the as he made his way to the long polished bar in search of a whiskey to wet his parched throat.
The first place that was actually called a “saloon” was at Brown’s Hole near the –– border. Established in 1822, Brown’s Saloon catered to the many trappers during the heavy days. in Deerlodge, Montana Saloons were ever popular in a place filled with soldiers, which included one of the West’s first saloons at, Colorado, in the late 1820s; or with cowboys, such as, ; and wherever miners scrabbled along rocks or canyons in search of their fortunes.
When gold was discovered near Santa Barbara,, in 1848, the settlement had but one cantina. However, just a few short years later, the town boasted more than 30 saloons. In 1883, Livingston,, though it had only 3,000 residents, had 33 saloons. The first western saloons really didn’t fit our classic idea of what a saloon looks like, but rather, were hastily thrown together tents or lean-to’s where a lonesome traveler might strike up a conversation, where a cowman might make a deal, or a miner or a soldier might while away their off-hours.
However, as the settlement became more populated, the saloon would inevitably prosper, taking on the traditional trimmings of the Old West. In those hardscrabble days, the whiskey served in many saloons was some pretty wicked stuff made with raw alcohol, burnt sugar, and a little chewing tobacco.
No wonder it took on such names as Tanglefoot, Forty-Rod, Tarantula Juice, Taos Lightning, Red Eye, and Coffin Varnish. Also popular was Cactus Wine, made from a mix of tequila and peyote tea, and Mule Skinner made with whiskey and blackberry liquor. The house rotgut was often 100 proof, though it was sometimes cut by the barkeep with turpentine, ammonia, gunpowder, or cayenne.
The most popular term for the libation served in saloons was Firewater, which originated when early traders were selling whiskey to the, To convince the Indians of the high alcohol content, the peddlers would pour some of the liquor on the fire as the Indians watched the fire begin to blaze.
Though the beer had a head, it wasn’t sudsy as it is today. Patrons had to knock back the beer in a hurry before it got too warm or flat. It wasn’t until the 1880’s that Adolphus Busch introduced artificial refrigeration and pasteurization to the U.S. brewing process, launching Budweiser as a national brand.
was the most popular and prolific game played in Old West saloons, followed by Brag, Three-card-monte, and dice games such as High-low, Chuck-a-luck, and Grand Hazard. Before long many of the Old West mining camps such as,, and, became as well known for gunfights over card games as they did for their wealth of gold and silver ore.
There were gambling saloons, restaurant saloons, billiard saloons, dancehall saloons, bowling saloons, and, of course, the ever-present, plain ole’ fashioned, “just drinking” saloons. They took on names such as the First Chance Saloon in Miles City, Montana, the Bull’s Head in, Kansas, and the Holy Moses in Creede, Colorado.
Encircling the base of the bar would be a gleaming brass foot rail with a row of spittoons spaced along the floor next to the bar. Along the ledge, the saloon patron would find towels hanging so that they might wipe the beer suds from their mustaches.
Often, there was the infamous nude painting of a woman hanging behind the bar. Holy Moses Saloon, Creede, Colorado, 1890 One question many people ask is whether were really adorned with swinging-style doors. These types of doors called cafe doors, and sometimes referred to as “batwing” doors, were found in many saloons, but not nearly as often as they are depicted in popular movies.
They were practical because they provided easy access, cut down the dust from the outside, allowed people to see who was coming in and provided some ventilation. Most importantly, it shielded the goings-on in the saloon from the “proper ladies” who might be passing by.
Men of the usually did not drink alone, nor did they drink at home, and needing each other’s company, there were a lot of regulars at the many saloons. The patrons were a varied lot – from miners to outlaws to gamblers and honest workmen. What they were not — were minorities.
That was the soldier. There were several reasons for this. Given the makeup of the many men of the West — adventurers, people who “didn’t fit in” in the East, outlaws, and Civil War deserters, they had no respect for the men who “policed the West.” Nor could these independent-minded men respect anyone who was made to “stand at attention” and obey all orders.
These private men of the West were also accustomed to inquiring of another man’s first name only. With their varied and often shady backgrounds, curiosity was considered impolite. Both men’s and women’s pasts were respected and were not inquired about.
If a stranger arrived and didn’t make the offer, he would often be asked why he hadn’t done so. Even worse was refusing a drink, which was considered a terrible insult, regardless of the vile liquor that might be served. On one such occasion at a Tucson, saloon, a man who refused the offer was taken from bar to bar at gunpoint until “he learned some manners.” However, if a man came in and confessed that he was broke and needed a drink, few men would refuse him.
On the other hand, if he ordered a drink, knowing he couldn’t pay for it, he might find himself beaten up or worse. Because the saloon was usually one of the first and bigger buildings within many new settlements, it was common that it was also utilized as a public meeting place. Judge Roy Bean and his combination saloon and courtroom were a prime example of this practice.
Another saloon in Downieville,, was not only the most popular saloon in town but also the office of the local Justice of the Peace. In Hays City,, the first church services were held in Tommy Drum’s Saloon. Doc Holliday Several noted gunmen of the west owned saloons, tended bar, or dealt cards at one time or another.
There were numerous killings inside of these saloons. Just a few of these included Wild Bill Hickok, who was killed by Jack McCall while playing in the No.10 Saloon in,, ‘ killer, was shot down in his own tent saloon in Creede, Colorado; and was shot and killed from behind on August 19, 1895, in an El Paso, saloon. Dance Hall Girl, 1885 And lest we not forget the saloon, whose job was to brighten the evenings of lonely men starved for female companionship. Contrary to what many might think, the saloon girl was very rarely a prostitute – this tended to occur only in the very shabbiest class of saloons.
Not all saloons employed saloon girls, such as in north side of Front Street, which was the “respectable” side, where guns,, and gambling were barred. Instead, music and billiards were featured as the chief amusements to accompany drinking. Most girls were refugees from farms or mills, lured by posters and handbills advertising high wages, easy work, and fine clothing.
In most places, the proprieties of treating the saloon girls as ladies were strictly observed, as much because Western men tended to revere all women and because the women or the saloon keeper demanded it. Any man who mistreated these women would quickly become a social outcast, and if he insulted one he would very likely be killed.
In the early of 1849, dance halls began to appear and spread throughout the boomtowns. While these saloons usually offered games of chance, their chief attraction was dancing. The customer generally paid 75¢ to $1.00 for a ticket to dance, with the proceeds being split between the dance hall girl and the saloon owner.
: Saloons of the American West
What is the most popular liquor in Virginia?
Map: The most popular liquor in every Virginia city and county Every year, Virginia’s state-run liquor monopoly puts out a roster of its best-selling products. And this year, just like the year before, Tito’s Handmade Vodka took the top spot. But those overall sales figures conceal a rich and varied tapestry of local liquor preference.
What is the main product of West Virginia?
Agriculture – West Virginia has a long history of agriculture, dating back to the Native Americans and the early European settlers. In 2016, west Virginia generated $0.7 billion in agricultural receipts. The state’s agricultural production and processing industries represented 1.3% of the total GDP of West Virginia.
The highest valued livestock commodities are broilers, cattle and calves, turkeys, sheep and lambs, hogs, chicken and farm-produced fish. Livestock products produced are dairy products, chicken eggs and wool. Hay is the number one crop produced in West Virginia.
What is produced in West Virginia?
West Virginia Ag Facts Capital: Charleston Population: 1,819,777 Founded: June 20, 1863 (35th) State Bird : Cardinal State Tree: Sugar Maple State Flower: Rhododendron Number of Counties : 55 Largest City: Charleston – 50, 381 Nickname : Mountain State Number of Farms: 23,200 Average Farm Size: 157 acres Total Farmland: 3.7 million acres Climate & Soil •West Virginia gets approximately 4″ of rain each month.
•Hay, grown to feed the state’s livestock, is the #1 crop, providing 2% of West Virginia’s total agricultural receipts. •Other major crops of West Virginia are apples, corn for grain, soybeans and tobacco. •Peaches and wheat are also grown in the state.
•Sheep and lambs, hogs, farm chickens, honey, farm-raised fish, and wool are also produced in West Virginia. General •Approximately 95 percent of West Virginia farms are family-owned; the highest in the U.S. •The state is the third most-forested state within the nation.
State Pages: West Virginia State Beef & Cattle Pages State Ag Facts States That Produce The Most Food (By Value) The Most Produced Food By State
What was made in West Virginia?
Our pleasure—things invented in West Virginia CLARKSBURG, W.Va. (WBOY) — With, 12 News took a look back at some West Virginia history. WBOY image. While the Mountain State’s most-known invention among its residents is almost certainly –first commercially produced in 1927 by Giuseppe Argiro in Fairmont so that hungry coal miners could eat with one hand and drink water in the other–they’re not the only things invented in West Virginia.
Levi used bricks to pave Summers Street and by 1873, says he had paved an entire block and sought out for brick roads. The Rumsey Steamboat Model, WV State Museum. The Steamboat – While Robert Fulton is credited with creating the first steamboat, the said James Rumsey was the first to invent a steam engine capable of propelling a boat using hydraulic jet propulsion, and it was demonstrated on the Potomac River near Shepherdstown on Dec.3, 1787, 20 years before Fulton’s boat design, though the Virginia Department of Arts, Culture and History did acknowledge Fulton’s as more practical.
Anna did so by becoming the with a memorial ceremony on May 12, 1907, and then helping to turn it into a national holiday when Congress passed a Mother’s Day resolution. Grandparents’ Day – Oak Hill, West Virginia resident Marian McQuade is credited with creating Grandparents’ Day when she started a statewide campaign calling for a special day to recognize grandparents and Gov.
What drinks are Virginia known for?
7 Interesting Cocktail Recipes From Virginia To Make A Lasting Impression On Your Guests
Stephanie Kenney Updated: September 19, 2020 16:15 IST
You must give these cocktails a try
Virginia has 70 distilleries making some of the finest alcohols Here are seven recipes of Virginia-special cocktails Enjoy and drink responsibly
Here in Virginia, we take pride in our hand-crafted spirits. We’re also the birthplace of American Spirits with the first batch of whiskey distilled right here in 1620. We now have over 70 distilleries making some of the finest whiskey, bourbon, vodka, moonshine and liqueurs in the United States.
What is the highest alcohol content in Virginia?
PLEASE NOTE: A GRAIN ALCOHOL PERMIT IS REQUIRED TO OBTAIN THIS PRODUCT IN VIRGINIA. At 190 proof, Everclear has an extremely high alcoholic concentration.
What is the national drink of the USA?
Bourbon (whiskey), named for Bourbon County, Kentucky, is a corn whiskey aged in charred oak barrels. It was proclaimed the U.S. National Spirit by an act of Congress in 1964.
Does West Virginia sell moonshine?
This article is originally posted on the West Virginia Encyclopedia’s website and gives an excellent history of moonshine. Author attribution is listed below. The making of illegal or moonshine whiskey has a long history in West Virginia and elsewhere.
In West Virginia, field corn, soft creek water, and industrious farmers came together to make moonshine, sometimes also called mountain dew or white lightning. Moonshine is typically 100-proof whiskey, aged little or none, and was an important cash crop. From the mid-18th century, settlers from Scotland, Ireland, Wales, and England came to the mountains with distilling equipment and the necessary know how. They quickly adapted their Old World recipes to include American field corn. Whiskey was drunk in far greater quantities than today and used to barter for salt, nails, and taxes.
The settlers, mainly Scotch-Irish, saw the tax as unfair. President Washington himself led troops to stop the rioting, and the federal government kept the tax in force for 11 years. Whiskey remained untaxed from then until 1862, except for three years following the War of 1812.
About 1910, states began to enact state prohibition laws in anticipation of the great national drought soon to follow. West Virginia prohibition took effect in 1914. Then, from 1920 until 1933 the U.S. government enforced nationwide prohibition, causing a dramatic increase in moon shining. Even when national prohibition ended, parts of the South remained dry.
In any case, some imbibers remained partial to clear mountain whiskey, and illegal distilling continued. After 1950, as local prohibition laws were voted out and economic conditions improved, the demand for illegal whiskey fell and production of moonshine declined.
When fermentation was complete, the mildly alcoholic liquid, now called beer, was ready to distill or ‘‘run off.” The beer was heated in the still’s pot or copper kettle to the temperature, well below boiling, when alcoholic vapors rise from the liquid.
Homemade corn liquor is just about a thing of the past, however, since sugar is now usually substituted for most of the grain. Story credit: Sohn, Mark F. “Moonshine.” e-WV: The West Virginia Encyclopedia.20 October 2010.
Is American Born moonshine real moonshine?
100% AUTHENTIC. Made from a 200-year-old recipe, this un-aged corn whiskey upholds the historic traditions of American mountain moonshine. Drink it neat or paired with a variety of mixers.