War of The States: Which State Produces the Most 'Shine?

Published by Broadslab Distillery

Which state produces the most ‘shine? And we’re not talking about the “sun” shine in Florida. Every state in the Union has produced moonshine at one point or another, but which state produces more than the others and why?

Moonshining has been most popular in the southeastern United States, especially among the farming community. When farmers could not sell their crops, they would turn the leftover corn, barley, wheat, and rye into moonshine whiskey, which they would then sell. As making moonshine is illegal in the United States, moonshiners hide their equipment in very secretive and clever ways—and one of them is geographically—in the remote hills and “hollers” of the Appalachian Mountains. So therefore, most working and abandoned stills can be found in Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, Kentucky, Tennessee, Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Virginia, Vermont, Maine, North Carolina, South Carolina, Maryland and New York.

So which state produces the most (illegal) moonshine? When most people think of moonshine, the state of Tennessee comes to mind, with Kentucky in close second. There are vast remote locations throughout the mountains in the eastern parts of both states, and when coupled with the actual volume of legal distilleries in these states, one would think either would be in contention for the prize.

But there is another, more obscure location that is known to illicit distillers and buyers alike: Franklin County, Virginia. Called the “Moonshine Capital of the World” since the 1800s, this vast county in southwest Virginia produces millions in illegal revenue and several hundred thousand gallons of ‘shine each year. Even during the 1920s, historians estimate that 99 of 100 residents were involved in some way in the moonshine trade. A historical novel, The Wettest County in the World, by Matt Bondurant was based on Franklin County history and The Great Moonshine Conspiracy of 1935 by T. Keister Greer covers the biggest bust and trial in the county during that time. Further busts in the 60s, 70s, 80s, and even 2000s, yielded incredible volumes of moonshine and still operations that far surpassed any others in the US. Between the 60s and 80s, 753 stills throughout Virginia were destroyed, but 300 of those were located in Franklin County. No other county came close! So Franklin County, Virginia did not earn its title for a “special” type of whiskey: it is for the sheer volume of whiskey produced by its resident moonshiners—and therefore the state of Virginia “wins” The War of the States when it comes to making ‘shine!

As for us here at Broadslab Distillery—we are all legal and located in North Carolina. We get kudos for being located in a county that used to produce a large volume of illegal ‘shine—but that’s not what we’re about. We’ll stick to concentrating on QUALITY and keep producing our handcrafted premium whiskies for ALL to enjoy… legally!


Please enjoy responsibly. 
If you break the seal, don’t get behind the wheel.

Broadslab Distillery produces natural, hand-crafted moonshine, whiskey and rum in Benson, NC. 
The American-made spirits are gluten-free and made without the use of anything artificial. It’s the real deal.