Think bootleggers, backwoods stills and "white lightning" are things of the past? Hardly! It's a thriving multi-million dollar industry - though clandestine and illegal. Discovery Channel presents MOONSHINERS, a fascinating six-part series telling the story of those who brew their shine - often in the woods near their homes using camouflaged equipment - and the local authorities who try to keep them honest.
Deep in Appalachia, where many shiners live, there are some areas where more sugar is sold than local residents could consume on their own. The main ingredients in moonshine "mash" are water, sugar, corn and yeast. It's also no coincidence that moonshine season is from June to October - the height of the corn harvest and the peak of foliage to hide the illegal operations.
A tradition dating back hundreds of years and passed down through generations, the origin of moonshining in the United States has been linked with the Whiskey Rebellion during the 1790s. Under President George Washington, a federal tax was imposed on whiskey, which farmers strongly resented - leading to a backlash and rise in illegal distillers. Even the origins of NASCAR have been linked back to the skilled driving of moonshiners eluding law enforcement.