Why is Georgia Known for Moonshine?

  • Grandaddy Mimm's

    Grandaddy Mimm's in Blairsville

The Early Days of Moonshine in Georgia

Scotch-Irish immigrants began to settle in Georgia in the 1780s, bringing with them the knowledge of how to distill fruits into alcoholic beverages. With that settlement, moonshine production began. Whether it was apples, corn or peaches, Georgians made the most of their crops, including the production of whiskey or brandy.

Dawsonville Moonshine Distillery
Dawsonville Moonshine Distillery

During the Civil War, the United States government formed the Internal Revenue Service to collect taxes on “luxuries,” including alcohol and tobacco. Many moonshiners refused to pay the tax and continued operating their stills. In the 1870s, federal agencies started going after the moonshiners in North Georgia, and in 1920 Prohibition was enacted, which meant consuming alcohol was illegal.

The infamous cat-and-mouse moonshiner versus revenuer car chases through the North Georgia mountains reached is peak in the 1930s and ’40s, giving birth to a new type of industry, stock car racing, which would lead to the formation of NASCAR.

Modern 'Shine in Georgia

Illicit still production of moonshine has died off in the last half-century, and in the last decade, liquor companies have been producing the spirit legally throughout Georgia, with the beverage enjoying a renewed popularity.

Grandaddy Mimm
Grandaddy Mimm

Georgia is now home to 16 distilleries, including:

Moonshine Festivals in Georgia

Remaining popular are festivals that celebrate the moonshine heritage of Georgia. Check out these upcoming events in the Northeast Georgia Mountains to learn more about the spirit and Appalachian culture:

50th Annual Mountain Moonshine Festival, Dawsonville (October 27 – 29, 2017) – Festivities kick off on Saturday morning with a parade of cars. There will be live entertainment, numerous vendors and festival fare. Also, festival-goers can enjoy a car show, cruise-in, and swap meet at the Georgia Racing Hall of Fame.


Eileen Falkenberg-Hull

Eileen is Georgia’s official Festival Explorer and the editor of Occupy My Family, the Atlanta area’s most comprehensive resource for family fun. Click here for more Festival content from Eileen.

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