Moonshine has a place in the popular imagination. There was Snuffy Smith, the outdated cartoon hillbilly who fought off “revenooers.” Then, there was “Thunder Road.” Not the Bruce Springsteen song off the “Born to Run” album – the 1958 Robert Mitchum movie in which a Korean War vet came home to the mountains to run the family moonshining business.
Truth is, moonshine is pretty much a thing of the past. The Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control reports that during the past year, they investigated only 13 stills in Virginia. But as The Virginian-Pilot reports, authorities have an active moonshine case going in Suffolk. Last Friday ABC agents and Suffolk cops busted two elderly friends, ages 84 and 78, and accused them of running a “shot house,” also known as a “nip joint,” a place where untaxed whiskey is served. Among the items seized in a raid: Three gallons of moonshine, some shotguns and many bottles of commercial alcohol.
But the elderly friends didn’t make the illegal hooch. An ABC agent said it likely was from North Carolina. More “Tobacco Road” than “Thunder Road,” in other words. The investigation is continuing.