Can’t beat moonshiners? Then join ’em!

“In North Carolina, the ‘Moonshine Capital of the World’ (3,846 stills seized in 1954), state officials have inaugurated a shrewd new strategy against moonshiners.

“On the shelves of state liquor stores there has appeared a civilized but untamed 100-proof corn liquor respectably labeled ‘White Lightning — Clear as the Mountain Dew’ and respectably distilled on order by a subsidiary of the Brown-Forman Distillers Corp. in Louisville. The North Carolina Board of Alcoholic Control had decided it would stop trying to wean moonshine guzzlers, and would offer them a better product.

“White Lightning is produced from a mash of 85 percent corn. 15 percent malt — no rats, snakes or lye. It is aged less than 30 days, and then the aging process is stopped by storing it in uncharred, paraffin-lined barrels. At $4.40 a quart, it costs less than most aged amber whiskies but slightly more than moonshine ($3.50 to $4 a quart). North Carolinians snapped up the first consignment. ‘Man,’ said one satisfied customer last week, ‘that’s just like I was raised on.’ ”

—  From Time magazine, July 25, 1955

The Brown-Forman version of moonshine seems no longer available. In 2005, however, Piedmont Distillers in Madison introduced Catdaddy Carolina Moonshine, and it has since added Junior Johnson’s old-family-recipe Midnight Moon.