Moonshine has been around for hundreds of years in America. It’s had its highs and lows, its good days and bad days. It’s risen and fallen in popularity, just to get a surprise boost in recent years.
Some aspects of white lightning have stayed the same and relatively constant, while others have progressed—they’ve changed, been altered, been bettered over the years. With that being said, it’s no surprise moonshine lovers wonder what its future may look like—what our future generations can look forward to in 100 years. Though we can’t see into the future, we can make some educated guesses.
Here’s what we think will stay the same and what will change in the next 100 years of moonshine.
The Stories and Tradition
The moonshine stories—the anecdotes, the history lessons—have been passed down from generation to generation since before the Civil War. Grandfathers and fathers passed down their moonshine stories to their children and grandchildren. The gunfights, the backwoods stills, Prohibition, the bootleggers, good men fighting and dying—these stories have been told and retold for years. Perhaps they’ve been altered or exaggerated just a bit along the way, for effect, but these stories are a piece of American history. They allow us to remember the old days of white lightning. These stories have stayed relatively unchanged. In 100 years, these same stories will keep being passed on, unchanged. Hooch is and always will be an American tradition, no matter how many years pass.
The same is true about hooch recipes. Family recipes have been passed down from generation to generation. Though they might have been modified here and there to include better quality ingredients or better distillation methods, you can still taste the history in every sip. We guess that if you buy hooch from these small-batch distillers in 100 years, they’ll taste the exact same as they do now—and did hundreds of years ago.
Unfortunately, Big Whiskey is now trying to get a piece of the action, so we can only assume that with hooch’s rise in popularity, more and more big corporate distillers are going to be producing and selling moonshine. Not by hand, not with TLC—not the stuff people crave—but by mass production using factories. If this happens, small-batch distillers will have to stay strong and keep fighting so we consumers can still buy the good stuff and not have to settle for factory-made ‘shine.
Big Whiskey has been able to cash in on the moonshine craze because of loosened liquor laws. The government has become less strict with its laws, allowing distilleries in some states to produce and sell hooch legally in liquor stores and online if they got the proper permits. The government can regulate and get tax revenue from distilleries wanting to take a shot at going legit. Hopefully, this is a sign for what’s to come. Perhaps in 100 years ‘shine will be legal in every state of America, but only time will tell.
Over the past few years, white lightning has become more mainstream. In the past, you’d only see gangsters and Southerners drinking the stuff. It was too potent for many, and too risky for the rest. Now, mothers, fathers, hipsters, teens, and every other typical American citizen want to drink hooch. Perhaps in 100 years, it’ll be a typical sight to see a few jars of hooch in everyone’s kitchen. We shall see.