On the North Carolina/Tennessee border, a history of bootlegging in its many forms has become somewhat endearingly engrained in the pop cultural perception of the region. Since the age of prohibition-era feuds, illicit producers in the region have proven themselves outstandingly resilient against state and federal regulation. A romanticized sense of backwards wiliness like that of the mountaineers has earned a place in America’s heritage.
In the reality of modern Appalachia, poor folks who are decidedly isolated—physically and mentally—from the commercial draws of the big city stay buried deep in historical tradition. The mindset of the region often spurs innovative businessmen to become self-sufficient—using the land, resources and other people around for profit in the face of otherwise stagnant local economies.
Bootlegging, as such, begins with moonshine….