Is stillin in your family tree?

The long and storied history of distilled spirits.

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Re: Is stillin in your family tree?

Postby BTR Kentucky » Thu Mar 10, 2016 5:50 pm

One line of my family are Scottish Irish, they were all moonshiners that settled on land near me where the government kicked them all off their land back in the 60s. My granddad and great GG went to jail for moonshiners, got ratted on. Got other family members from same area that were moonshiners. The area was full of moonshiners
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Re: Is stillin in your family tree?

Postby Shine0n » Thu Aug 11, 2016 9:46 am

My grandad made his and I got to fetch all the water for him, that's all! On the west side of Charlotte North Carolina. Being 8 yo that's rough man. One night after a run he was drunker than hell and wanted to beat on everyone around and got my gramma pretty good, when he passed out in the bed she sewed him up in the sheets and damn near killed him with a cast iron griddle. Needless to say he never touched another one of us again. Lol sure do miss that mean little man though.
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Re: Is stillin in your family tree?

Postby BoisBlancBoy » Thu Dec 01, 2016 6:42 pm

The only history I have or know of is from personal experience. I was 8-10 yrs old and walked into my Grandpas barn. He was sitting in front of a still and it was dripping away into a jar, not that I had ANY clue what was going on. Finally I asked him what he was doing and he told me to stick my finger in the jar and taste it. Of course I did and I about puked while trying to say how awful that was. I can remember him just belly roll laughing at me. One of those memories that have really stuck with me especially since he is no longer with us. But that memory was a big part of the reason I took up the hobby.
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Re: Is stillin in your family tree?

Postby dukethebeagle120 » Thu Dec 01, 2016 8:43 pm

my great great uncle bootlegged rum and whiskey across the border
from quebec to vt across lake m.m. during prohibition with a steam boat.
my family ain`t drinkers but there`s a point on the lake named after them.
a hushed part of our family history.my father told me of it.
we didn`t produce but sounds like we were in transportation
its better to think like a fool but keep your mouth shut,then to open ur mouth and have it confirmed
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Re: Is stillin in your family tree?

Postby craftsman » Mon Jan 16, 2017 7:07 pm

As History in my family would have it, my grandmother was a moonshiner in upstate Pennsylvania. She was a very industrious woman that made whiskey and brandy at home. She had no problem with finding corn and she malted the corn because sugar was too expensive and hard to come by. She made Brandy from the wild berries and fruit she raised on the property.
The unique part of this story is during the prohibition, my grandfather was a Pennsylvania state policeman and assigned to the revenuers division that went around busting up stills. It was a horseback division that went into the mountains and hollers looking for moonshiners. My grandfather worked long hours and my grandmother told me he only made about $6.00-8.00 per week. After all it was during the height of the great depression.

Sometimes during the week, he would bring his police buddies home for lunch. My grandmother was a great baker that made cakes, bread, pastries and pies. She relayed to me that the baked goods smelled up the whole house and did an excellent job of hiding or masking her mash odors. She had an old wood-stove in the kitchen and she had a curtain that was on a frame on both sides of the stove that sat out a bit, but didn't look suspicious. Behind that curtain was her mash barrels. She had a pot still with a thump keg in the cellar that she disguised very well in the laundry area.

Now my grandfather used to get real nervous when he brought these fellows over, but grandmother was cool as a cucumber. She loved the way the fellows all ranted and raved about the fresh baked goods smell in her house and how great her baking tasted. She told me if they ever went into the kitchen and looked behind the curtain she was going to have problems.

What I found most interesting is she sold the moonshine whiskey and brandy out the back door and made more money from a few customers everyday than my grandfather ever made in month. My grandmother never drank, she claimed "she only tasted". The money helped pay bills and put shoes and clothes on my mother and her sisters and brother.

She told me this story in the 70's before she passed away. She also told me her recipes and how she made caramelized cherries to color and help flavor her whiskey. I was very fortunate. It is amazing to me that during the prohibition, she claimed more women than men had profitable moonshine stills. I like how the verbal tradition of history was passed down. I hope to share my experiences with my grand children, but only difference between me and the past is my legacy is a hobby and not my livelihood.
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Re: Is stillin in your family tree?

Postby Truckinbutch » Mon Jan 16, 2017 7:16 pm

:clap: Excellent story :thumbup: It was often that way where I live . Menfolk did the heavy labor and the women provided the 'butter and egg' money . They survived those times by everyone contributing what they could .
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Re: Is stillin in your family tree?

Postby CaptMorgan » Mon Feb 20, 2017 1:46 am

I just found out that my grandad on mom's side made moonshine. I never met him as he died at 47 years old shortly after I was born. He was born in Slovakia, or whatever it was called then and moved to the states. I wish I knew what kind of still he made and what kind of mash he ran. I would have liked to gain some knowledge from him, too.
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Re: Is stillin in your family tree?

Postby frost021 » Mon Feb 20, 2017 2:46 am

I Love History and wish I had paid more attention when I was younger as I remember as a child in the 70's going to visit my great grand aunt and her husband that were in there late 70's at the time looking after my great grandmother that was in her late 90's And the sole reason to visit, was Dad had done off a new recipe and bring a pint of 70's% and wanted my great grand uncle to taste it then they would get into conversations of Rum Running when he was young and working for my great great grandfather ,during Prohibition, and then conversations would go, into the expulsions of the acadians... Dad started to show me a few things about stillin a few years before he passed after I had a bout with Drugs As he was a heavy drinker and never proofed down and kept things at 70 or higher %...and didn't want me following in the same footsteps that being said he only showed basics as everything and it all had to do patience...Then I found this forum and learned so much More Specially on Saftey... :D
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Re: Is stillin in your family tree?

Postby Truckinbutch » Mon Feb 20, 2017 5:56 pm

frost021 wrote:I Love History and wish I had paid more attention when I was younger as I remember as a child in the 70's going to visit my great grand aunt and her husband that were in there late 70's at the time looking after my great grandmother that was in her late 90's And the sole reason to visit, was Dad had done off a new recipe and bring a pint of 70's% and wanted my great grand uncle to taste it then they would get into conversations of Rum Running when he was young and working for my great great grandfather ,during Prohibition, and then conversations would go, into the expulsions of the acadians... Dad started to show me a few things about stillin a few years before he passed after I had a bout with Drugs As he was a heavy drinker and never proofed down and kept things at 70 or higher %...and didn't want me following in the same footsteps that being said he only showed basics as everything and it all had to do patience...Then I found this forum and learned so much More Specially on Saftey... :D

It's not just you . Back when I thought my name was 'GET WOOD' I felt put upon . There is so much I could have learned first hand if I had been more mature in my thinking .
If you ain't the lead dog in the team , the scenery never changes . Ga Flatwoods made my avatar and I want to thank him for that .
Don't drink water , fish fornicate in it .
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Re: Is stillin in your family tree?

Postby DBCFlash » Mon Feb 20, 2017 6:22 pm

I remember hearing hushed stories about my uncle going to prison for moonshining way back when I was just a little boy, but nobody in the family would ever talk about it. I had forgotten all about it until I saw this very thread. I called my cousin, his grand-daughter and asked her about it. She came along way after and she had heard even less than I had, but she gave me her fathers number. I called him and he gave me the story as he remembered it. Seems my uncle was laid off from his job and the family needed money, so he gathered up some copper and built a still. He would run it in his old rickety barn and his customers would come to him to buy the hooch. Seems one day he decided to deliver a few jars and he got pulled over. No mercy from the local po-po.
I even got his old white lightening recipe. Very basic, but I'm looking forward to giving it a try. All except for the selling and the po-po part I mean...
Some men you jest cain't reach...
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Re: Is stillin in your family tree?

Postby nuncaquite » Tue Nov 28, 2017 6:29 pm

Beer brewers yes, distillers not that Im aware. The beer was rough. Supposedly drank the recipe from the old country. Really bad. We must have been kicked out of Germany for that skank.
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Re: Is stillin in your family tree?

Postby Pikey » Tue Nov 28, 2017 7:25 pm

What a great thread 8) - Sadly I have no heritage - I used to make wine while I was still at school, but my dad used to drink it when I was out :lol:

I never was able to distil until fairly recently when a friend and I made a contact in USA who gave us some of the rudiments of a still design and we experimented from there. That was after the old fella died and that is one of my regrets. It would have made his latter years so happy, not to have to scrimp for his "bottle a week" :(
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Re: Is stillin in your family tree?

Postby Bamaberry » Tue Nov 28, 2017 7:29 pm

[quote="nuncaquite"][/quote]
So glad you "poked" this thread. I'd never seen it before. And what's ironic is that I just sat down and turned on the dvr of "Moonshiners".
(DON'T say it! :oops: ) I record it so I can FF through some of the REALLY stupid parts.

My mom passed away earlier this year. Didn't know about my hobby but mentioned my Great Uncle had run a small still which she tasted as a little girl.
Didn't sound like he made it to sell but who knows.

Not to get too off topic but this seems the perfect place for it. About 2 years ago while taking care of my Mom, I got interested in genealogy.
I've ended up using [url]WikiTree.com[/url] . It is a free source so I'm not soliciting.

Most other sites everyone creates their own personal family tree, and can use some entries fro others. The difference in Wikitree is that there is only one tree and everyone contributes to it. And it seems that, like here, most people there are more astute and know what they are doing. In fact they generally ask that you source your entries instead of just making entries and see what happens.

So as you enter the data you have on your people, you may discover that a distant relative has already created branches you didn't know about.
That also helps if you only know a little about your ancestors.

That's enough. I figure if you're reading this thread you're at least a little curious about your family. If you are, at least take a look at Wikitree.
This is a GREAT thread!
:)
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Re: Is stillin in your family tree?

Postby zapata » Wed Nov 29, 2017 11:19 pm

I do. For sure at least three generations, further back according to family legend, and pretty widespread. Most ran mostly family sized stills, but I have heard stories of a few distant relatives doing time for both production and transport from prohibition into maybe 70s or even early 80s. Grandpa was a farmer, but also worked at the general store, he was known as a safe source for bulk sugar. Mom has told me how their only family "vacations" piggy backed on delivering loads of sugar across the state. It was apparently a decent grey area hustle, LEO actively watched the sugar sources to find the shiners. First time I ever heard the word "snitch" was in reference to the fact he never would.
In fact, Mom's entire life even far removed from the family farm whenever she would hear a gunshot in the distance her first thought certainly wasn't fear, and it wasn't to wonder who got a deer, it was who had pissed the sheriff off enough he was out shootin holes in their still.
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