HOWLING MOON DISTILLERY
My family came to the mountains of Western North Carolina looking for fertile farm land and isolation. Most of them arrived in Yancey County N.C. in the late 1700's. They were scots-Irish, Highland Scots, Welsh, British, and Native American. They headed for the hollers instead of being close to town. They lived off the land as subsistence farmers. There was very little they could not make for themselves or barter for. Their society and economy existed with very little money. They were not able to get their crops to market before they would spoil. To preserve them and be able to generate a profit they had to distill most their grains, fruit, and sugar cane. In 1791 the first tax in American history became law. The whiskey tax was designed to tax full time distilleries based on the size of their still. It was assumed you distilled full time. The people of the Appalichain Mountains, who only distilled their whiskies and brandies after they harvested their crops, would loose money under the new law. They had no choice. Most hid their stills in the woods and continued distilling by the light of the moon. Moonshine and moonshiners became legends. A legacy still alive today over 225 years later.