Tuesday, May 13, 2008

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Moonshine School Redux

To give you some perspective on the rarity of moonshine stills, the Georgia Department of Revenue Alcohol and Tobacco Division shut down only five stills statewide in 2007.
Of course, those are only the ones it knew about.

~ John Madewell

Raban County’s moonshine school is back in the news. The school, which I mentioned last month, is a training ground of sorts—and the only one I know of—for law enforcement agents from around the United States to learn first-hand the sights, sounds, smells, and (I presume since I haven’t attended) tastes associated with making illegal liquor.

And I don’t just mean tastes of the finished product; part of successfully tracking larger-scale moonshiners who make their liquor outdoors is the ability to taste a fermenting mash and be able to tell how far along it is—whether, for instance, a mash will be ready in one day or three, given the weather (when you're making outside, warm weather means a faster ferment). Knowing what a mash tastes like as it goes through its fermentation stages helps determine when to be in place to watch a currently unoccupied still site, nabbing the operator when it’s time to return for the run.

WTVC in Chattanooga’s In-Depth Look at Moonshine Making discusses the school and has two linked videos called Lessons in Makin' Shine here. Featured are Randall Deal, who has received a presidential pardon for his distilling and Tony Gallaway, who ran some shine back in the 1970’s but is now a county marshal.


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