Why Is It Called Moonshine?

The term ‘moonshine’ has been around for centuries, and it is one of those phrases that everyone knows but few people really understand. The word has a wide range of connotations to it,from being associated with backwoods bootleggers to jaw-dropping stories of underground stills and moonshiners risking their lives making illegal liquor.

But why is it called moonshine? That’s a complex question, as the phrase has a mysterious past even before it became connected with illegal whisky production in the United States. It’s a captivating tale and one that deserves a closer look to learn more about the history and what it means today.

So let’s dive in and find out the answer together.

Why is it called Moonshine?

Moonshine is a term commonly used to refer to illegally produced distilled alcohol, more specifically, the unsanctioned production and distribution of spirits.

The term dates back to the eighteenth century and the practice of making alcohol at home or on small-scale stills. Moonshine has a long and storied history in the United States, but it’s original origins are a bit of a mystery.

An Ancient History

Some believe that the term “moonshine” was derived from the English settlers who were accustomed to brewing and distilling alcohol in England.

They used the phases of the moon to determine when to brew and distill, thus associating their activity with the moon and leading to the term of “moonshine. ”

The American Revolution and Moonshine

Moonshine production in America began in earnest during the American Revolution, as taxes on distilled alcohol increased, more and more people began to make their own at home. In some cases, these home-made stills were used to make ethanol for medical uses, but in more cases, it was for the production of beverage alcohol.

This led to an increase in moonshine production, which was easy to conceal and transport, allowing for illicit profits.

Rise of Moonshining

With the increased taxes on distilled spirits, the moonshine industry boomed.

Moonshiners were able to make quality spirits that sold at much lower prices than the taxed alcohol, so they quickly gained a large customer base. Along with the tax evasion, all the secrecy and lack of regulation attracted drinkers who were looking for cheaper and more potent spirits than what was commercially available.

Moonshine and Its Legacy

Today, moonshine is still produced illegally in certain areas, and it’s now considered to represent a classic type of illicit alcohol production.

Although there are now many lawful ways to make high-strength, high-quality distilled alcohol, the term moonshine continues to be used to refer to this old-style of illegal production, and it will likely be part of our cultural heritage for many years to come.


Moonshine has a long and complex history, and what started as a method of tax evasion has since become a major part of our cultural heritage.

The term has persisted through the centuries and continues to be associated with illicit alcohol production. Source: https://www. mashliquor. com/blogs/tastes-tales/why-is-it-called-moonshinehttps://enterprise. alberta. ca/abc/History_of_Moonshine. cfm

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