Bootlegging Still Exists...And Right At My Back Door
Posted by Brad Long on Sunday, January 20, 2013 at 6:02 AM By Brad Long / January 20, 2013 Comment
Last night, while spending some much needed down time at my neighborhood bar, the Back Door, I was surprised to find a table full of folks that looked a little out of place. Upon further review and because of the whispers around the bar, I learned that excitement was brewing in the bar over a reality star in the building. Tim Smith, a moonshining legend and star of the Discovery Channel’s hit reality show Moonshiners was sitting right in the middle of our humble Back Door. Complete with overalls and his signature khaki hat, Tim was just as lively and passionate about ‘shining in person as he appears on the show. In town for two days on a promotional tour for the show’s new season, Tim came to the Back Door to watch the new episode of Moonshiners among friends and fellow distillers.
Moonshine is part of our American heritage. Although it is considered illegal, in many parts of Appalachia, there are those that choose to distill their own shine, following in the footsteps of those that came before them. The Discovery Channel goes inside the day to day life of a moonshiner and discusses their trials and tribulations. NASCAR even has it’s roots based in moonshine. The first race cars were designed by moonshiners who were constantly trying to build faster cars and become more skilled as drivers in order to escape from the law. Over time these cars were used not only to outrun the police but to race each another. Eventually these humble races turned in to what we know as NASCAR today.
Kentucky has deep roots in moonshine. If you have grown up or lived in Kentucky you have most likely been in some sort of contact with illegal moonshine. I have been on several trips to Eastern Kentucky, Harlan County in particular, where although the “apple pie” shine comes in milk cartons, it sure will keep you warm on a cold night.
If you don't want to travel to Eastern Kentucky to taste moonshine, or if you feel more comfortable trying the legal stuff, their is some good news for you. Along with Tim Smith, I had the pleasure of talking to Steve Beam, owner of Limestone Branch Distillery. This distillery, located in Lebanon, Kentucky, creates varieties of legal moonshine like apple pie and 100 proof Sugar Shine. The moonshine sold under the T.J Pottinger label can be bought in town at such major retailers as Liquor Barn and Party Mart.
Whether you are a bourbon, vodka, or tequila, drinker, if you are from or are visiting Kentucky you have to try moonshine. Moonshine has historic and cultural meaning in this region and you can taste it in every sip. Moonshiners on Discovery channel is a great way to learn a little bit about the ongoing struggles that bootleggers still face today and is an entertaining way to gain insight into a lifestyle that not many people get to see first hand. Moonshiners airs on the Discovery Channel Wednesday evenings at 10pm.
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