National Moonshine Day Date in the current year: June 6, 2024

National Moonshine Day National Moonshine Day is celebrated annually on the first Thursday of June. It was created to recognize a drink with a long and rich history that is particularly associated with the Prohibition era in the United States.

Moonshine is high-proof liquor that is typically produced illegally. It is also known by many other names, including bootleg, choop, firewater, homebrew, hooch, mountain dew, mulekick, pass around, rotgut, shine, skullpop, and white lightning. The name “moonshine” is believed to have derived from a tradition of making illegal alcohol at night to avoid detection and punishment.

The first recorded use of the term “moonshine” referring to illicit alcohol dates back to 1765. It originated in England and became popular in the United States after the outlawing of non-registered stills during the Civil War.

Throughout history, moonshine has been made to avoid taxes or circumvent full bans on alcohol. In the Untied States, in particular, it is primarily associated with the 1920s and early 1930s Prohibition era, when it was illegal to produce, import, transport, and sell alcoholic drinks.

Making moonshine had been an industry in the American South before Prohibition, and a nationwide ban on alcohol didn’t change much in this regard. Producing good hard liquor at home was easier than homebrewing good beer, so moonshining was common in the rural areas of Georgia, Kentucky, North and South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia.

Of course, moonshiners (producers of illegal liquor) and bootleggers (people who smuggled it) were relentlessly pursued by law enforcement, but it didn’t stop the moonshine market from expanding. The demand for moonshine began to decline following the repeal of Prohibition in 1933, when selling hard liquor became legal again and it became hard for homemade spirits to compete with legally produced alcoholic beverages. Today moonshining is very rare, at least in the United States.

Back in the day, moonshine was usually made with barley or rye. Since the 19th century, however, most of the beverage has been made with corn (we’re talking about the United States here because in other countries moonshiners may use the most widely available grain or other products rich in sugar or starch such as potatoes, beetroot or sugar).

Moonshine is at least 80 proof, or about 40% alcohol by volume. It is made using a still. Since owning, selling and importing stills is illegal in many countries, moonshining enthusiasts often assemble their own stills using whatever equipment is available and exchange tips online, helping each other out.

National Moonshine Day was originally celebrated on June 5 but was moved to the first Thursday in June in 2014. Since it is prohibited in the United Stats to manufacture distilled spirits outside of licensed distilleries, we recommend against making your own moonshine to celebrate National Moonshine Day. However, you can observe the holiday by purchasing moonshine from a craft distillery to support the microdistillery movement. A lot of commercial distilleries produce novelty versions of moonshine with various flavors.

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National Moonshine Day, unofficial holidays, food and drink days, observances in the United States, moonshine, moonshining