10 Differences Between Moonshining and Homebrewing


One Inspired NASCAR

NASCAR legend Junior Johnson with his 427 Mystery Motor Chevrolet. Johnson started out as a bootlegger before making it big in NASCAR. © Martyn Goddard/Corbis
NASCAR legend Junior Johnson with his 427 Mystery Motor Chevrolet. Johnson started out as a bootlegger before making it big in NASCAR. © Martyn Goddard/Corbis

Are you a NASCAR fan? You have moonshiners to thank for it. During Prohibition in the 1920s, bootleggers selling illegal moonshine discovered a frequent need to outrun the federal tax agents. This resulted in vehicles with increasingly souped-up engines -- and informal races for bragging rights.

As the 1940s came into view, these races became organized events, and cars were raced on tracks. By 1947, Big Bill France called drivers, owners and mechanics to a Daytona Beach, Fla., hotel to hammer out some standard rules for racing. The result? The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) was born [sources: Levinson, Flask].

While many people enjoy a beer while watching a game, we don't know of any sport that was inspired directly by either beer or wine. Score one for moonshine.

Author's Note: 10 Differences Between Moonshining and Homebrewing

I come from a long line of teetotalers, but some family histories have an impressive lineage of homebrewers, moonshiners and bootleggers. I have a friend who, while mapping out her genealogy, discovered that during Prohibition her ancestors made their living distilling and selling hooch. They were German immigrants who lived on an isolated patch of land and set up stills with little fear of inspection. Just to be sure, though, they'd send one family member to serve as lookout where the farm's lane intersected with the county road.

Related Articles


  • American Homebrewers Association. "Get Started." (Oct. 25, 2013) http://www.homebrewersassociation.org/pages/lets-brew/get-schooled/get-started
  • California State University. "Content in Beer." (Oct. 24, 2013) http://www.csulb.edu/~parayner/Alcohol.html
  • Cornell University. "A History of Wine." (Oct. 25, 2013) http://rmc.library.cornell.edu/ewga/exhibition/introduction/index.html
  • Dillow, Clay. "FYI: Can Drinking Moonshine Really Make Me Go Blind?" Popular Science. June 11, 2012. (Oct. 25, 2013) http://www.popsci.com/science/article/2012-05/fyi-can-drinking-moonshine-really-make-me-go-blind
  • Drinks Planet. "Too Much Alcohol in Homemade Wine." 2009. (Oct. 25, 2013) http://www.drinksplanet.com/too-much-alcohol-in-home-made-wine-338887.html
  • Flask. "Seven Fun Facts You Didn't Know About Moonshine." (Oct. 25, 2013) http://www.flask.com/7-fun-facts-you-didnt-know-about-moonshine/
  • Harris, Aisha. "Can You Really Run a Car on Moonshine?" Slate. Aug. 31, 2012. (Oct. 25, 2013) http://www.slate.com/blogs/browbeat/2012/08/31/can_you_really_run_a_car_on_moonshine_fact_checking_the_new_movie_lawless_.html
  • Harvison, Josh. "Local Moonshine to be Sold Legally in State of Arkansas." KAIT8. March 18, 2010. (Oct. 25, 2013) http://www.kait8.com/global/story.asp?s=12167556
  • Homebrew It. "How Long Will it Take to Make my First Batch of Homemade Wine?" (Oct. 29, 2013) http://www.homebrewit.com/blog/2010/08/12/how-long-will-it-take-to-make-my-first-batch-of-homemade-wine/
  • Homebrewing. "How to Adjust Alcohol Content of a Beer." Nov. 10, 2010. (Oct. 24, 2013) http://homebrew.stackexchange.com/questions/299/how-to-adjust-alcohol-content-of-a-beer
  • Ingliss-Arkel, Esther. "The Science of Moonshine (And How to Make It)." io9. (Oct. 29, 2013) http://io9.com/5809085/the-science-of-moonshine-and-how-to-make-it
  • Levinson, Meredith. "A Brief History of Nascar: From Moonshine Runners to Dale Earnhardt Jr." CIO. Feb. 1, 2006. (Oct. 29, 2013) http://www.cio.com/article/17142/A_Brief_History_of_Nascar_From_Moonshine_Runners_to_Dale_Earnhardt_Jr.
  • McNeill, Alan. "How to Make Wine At Home." Mother Earth News. October 1976. (Oct. 29, 2013) http://www.motherearthnews.com/real-food/how-to-make-wine-zmaz76soztak.aspx?Pageld=1
  • Moonshine Heritage. "What Does the XXX on Moonshine Jugs Mean?" Feb. 15, 2012. (Oct. 24, 2013) http://www.moonshineheritage.com/blog/category/moonshine-history/
  • Palmer, John. "How to Brew." How To Brew. (Oct. 24, 2013) http://www.howtobrew.com/appendices/appendixA.html
  • Palmetto Moonshine. "The History Behind Moonshine." (Oct. 29, 2013) http://www.palmettomoonshine.com/history.php
  • Sanburn, Josh. "Moonshine is Growing in the U.S., and Big Whiskey Wants a Taste." Time. May 27, 2013. (Oct. 25, 2013) http://business.time.com/2013/05/27/moonshine-is-growing-in-the-u-s-and-big-whiskey-wants-a-taste/
  • Smith, Tim. "History of Shine." Tim Smith Moonshine. (Oct. 25, 2013) http://timsmithmoonshine.com/moonshine.html
  • Snider, Brett. "Is It Illegal to Make Moonshine?" Find Law. April 26, 2013. (Oct. 25, 2013) http://blogs.findlaw.com/blotter/2013/04/is-it-illegal-to-make-moonshine.html
  • Tsai, Michelle. "Why is Moonshine Against The Law to Make Moonshine." Slate. Oct. 18, 2007. (Oct. 25, 2013) http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/explainer/2007/10/why_is_moonshine_against_the_law.html
  • Yeidell, Cynthia. "Ground Zero For Whiskey: Law Allows Production of Distilled Spirits in State." Knox News. July 5, 2009. (Oct. 25, 2013) http://www.knoxnews.com/news/2009/jul/05/ground-zero-whiskey-law-allows-production-distille/?print=1
  • Young, Kevin. "TN Moonshine Bust Yields 1,000 Gallons of Liquor." WSMV. Aug. 19, 2011. (Oct. 25, 2013) http://www.kait8.com/global/story.asp?s=12167556


How That Creamy Chocolate Is Made

How That Creamy Chocolate Is Made

Chocolate comes from the equatorial cacao tree's unassuming cocoa beans. Learn the steps from tree to table as cocoa beans become sumptuous chocolate.