The rich and colorful history of illicit booze in America spans some two hundred-odd years. From the Whiskey Rebellion onward, distilling was split -- the legal distilling industry on the one side, black marketeering on the other. "Outlaw" liquor has played a surprisingly large role in American history. Hooch touched the election of Thomas Jefferson, the invention of the IRS, and the birth of NASCAR. It is the story of Tommy Guns, hot rods, nip joints, and the Chestnut Blight -- and its story is far from over.
Raised in the sticks of Virginia and devoted to his southern heritage, Watman grew up nipping on Moonshine and now distills his own spirits. He gives us an inside look at how distilling is done -- the ingredients, the essential tools, and the many ways it can all go wrong -- and treats us to his own hilarious first attempts to distill moonshine.
Like the microbrewery craze, the microdistillery movement has started gaining national traction over the last few years, as our current cultural obsession with authenticity and craft has crested. In addition to the major industry players, there are over a hundred microdistilleries thriving across the country. And many hobby-distilleries are lobbying to legalize their pastime. Moonshine is a booming industry, worth millions of dollars annually. Each year, hundreds of thousands of gallons of illegal whiskey are shipped from places like Franklin County, VA, to Washington, DC, Philadelphia, and other major cities where it is sold for a dollar a shot in "nip joints" to inner-city drinkers. Part cultural history, part foodie taste-making, and part how-to, Chasing the White Dog combines the historical and the contemporary, the outlaw and the scofflaw. Who makes it? Who drinks it? What it meant to America?