“Kevin Kosar, vice president of policy at the R Street Institute, recently released a gem of a book covering an oft-joked about but little understood topic — illicit distilled spirits. Titled “Moonshine, A Global History,” Kosar’s work uncovers some interesting history beyond the familiar perspective of the friendly criminal life of the ‘Dukes of Hazzard’ or the garish prohibition parties symbolizing ‘The Great Gatsby’….”
Winston Groome writes at the July 3/10, 2017 Weekly Standard:
“Moonshine always reminds me of the time the great P. J. O’Rourke got hold of a jug of the stuff in college and it caused him to be struck blind. It seems that O’Rourke and some of his buddies in Ohio went down into Kentucky looking for moonshine to bring back for a party that night. He drank from the jug—amount unknown—and by the time he awoke next morning all he could see was white! He spent several terrifying moments until, at last, he realized he was on his hands and knees with his head hanging in somebody’s toilet.
“With that warning ringing in your ears, Dear Reader—come, let’s investigate this 10,000-year-old phenomenon known as moonshine. Contrary to popular legend, “moonshine” does not take its name from dark Appalachian mountain hollows and a sinister time of night…”
“Much of the current demand for legally produced moonshine has been filled by small distilleries, who are often new to the booze business,” says Kevin Kosar in his book Moonshine: A Global History. “Moonshine is an attractive product for them—they can sell it and reap revenue right after it comes off the still. (Barrel-ageing spirits is costly; one must procure barrels, which are relatively expensive, and a place to store them. The spirits also evaporate, meaning less comes from the barrel than was initially put in.)”
….Kevin’s book is a trove of new information. Turns out, Hollywood portrays a limited view of the spirit that is a symbol of freedom worldwide. I spoke with Kevin about the book and here’s some of what we talked about.
I used to have a fantasy of setting up a moonshine still just to have my own source of booze, but the process is so complicated it seems like I need to be a chemist to do it. Why do people take the time to make Moonshine when it’s easier to make other forms of alcohol?
Kevin Kosar: Good question. Well, I guess I’d ask in response, why do folks bother to learn to fly fish and spend boku bucks on rods and equipment when they can go to a good market and buy perfectly good trout and salmon? It’s just the way people are — they like to mix their hands with nature’s bounty and produce something, whether it is knitting a scarf or wood-working one’s own furniture. Making spirits is challenging, but the rewards of getting it right are great. Seeing clean, fragrant liquor coming off the still after days of fermenting and toil is a joy.”