This Tiny U.S. Town Is Known as the “Moonshine Capital of the World”

Moonshine is a liquor known to be produced and sold illegally, with an estimated proof of at least 80 proof. Prohibition is the source of the history surrounding the production and use of moonshine. In order to prevent any kind of surveillance by police or neighbours, alcohol would be produced at night. Today’s lawfully operating moonshine producers have expanded the market for moonshine liquor.

They operate distilleries around the United States. However, in one small American town during Prohibition, when the number of illicit distilleries was at an all-time high, everyone was somehow connected in the moonshine trade. The “Moonshine Capital of the World” is the name given to this little village.

About Franklin County, VA

Franklin County is situated in the Blue Ridge Foothills of the state of Virginia in south-central region. Native Americans inhabited the region before European settlers arrived. A significant Scotch-Irish population moved into the mountains as the US colonies expanded. Additionally, because the eastern regions of the state had already reached their limit, people relocated to establish tobacco farms in the western regions. Franklin County, named for Benjamin Franklin, is a component of the Roanoke metropolitan region and is home to over 54,000 people.

Great Moonshine Conspiracy

However, why is Franklin County referred to as the “World’s Moonshine Capital”? The solution is easy to understand. Roughly all of the residents were either involved in moonshine production or distribution. The moonshine trade had taken over Franklin County in its entirety. There have been multiple moonshine (and whisky) distilleries in the region since the 1700s. Everything changed drastically across the nation when Prohibition was established and put into place. Moonshine distilleries operating illegally carried on, albeit at night to evade detection.

Its inhabitants gave it the moniker during this time. Additionally, by producing and selling it, the county’s residents were able to maintain their standard of living while also earning extra money. Authorities discovered that distillers had made significant profits for a number of years in the 1930s without having to pay taxes after Prohibition was overturned. This resulted in the “Great Moonshine Conspiracy” court case.

In the longest trial ever, 34 individuals were indicted and 31 of them were found guilty. In Franklin County, there are still a few moonshine distilleries that proudly showcase their producing heritage. Additionally, Matt Bondurant wrote a book titled The Wettest County in the World that explored the county’s history of prostitution. It was made into the film Lawless (2012).

In summary

That’s right, Franklin County, Virginia, the small hamlet dubbed the “Moonshine Capital of the World,” is just that. Franklin County, which is in the centre of Appalachia, gained notoriety during Prohibition for its moonshine production. The majority of the town’s residents were employed in the moonshine industry or had some connection to it. Consequently, the small town was designated as such. The people of Franklin County are proud of the town’s nickname, even though things have changed and alcohol is now permitted in the area. As they ought to!