Microkhan by Brendan I. Koerner

Duplin County Blues

June 3rd, 2009 · 7 Comments

We were grateful to come across this tale not only due to its sordidness, but also because it answered a long-standing question we’ve had: What’s the going rate for a serving of moonshine nowadays?:

A Duplin County couple is facing multiple charges after a shocking discovery at their home daycare business.

Authorities confiscated a stash of guns, ammo, gallons of alcohol, marijuana, and moonshine early Saturday morning from Johnnie and Judy Wilson’s home business.

“People have a right to live in their residence and operate a business, but to have these types of items in their residence with children around is very disturbing,” said ALE agent Kenneth Simma.

Investigators say the Wilson’s were not only holding a daycare inside their home, but were also selling illegal alcohol like moonshine for as much as $3 an ounce.

Either the Wilsons’ clients weren’t too good at math, or North Carolina has some outrageous sin taxes about which we’re unaware. Because $3 per ounce is a complete ripoff, considering that an ounce of Jack Daniels goes for about $1 at retail. And we’re assuming the daycare rotgut is far inferior to Lynchburg, Tennessee’s favorite caramel-colored mindbender.

Also a possibility: The local TV news station botched the reporting, or simply bought the cops’ figure hook, line, and sinker.

(Image via Old Pictures)


Tags: ····

7 Comments so far ↓

  • nikkos

    As a native of Kentucky, I can tell you that the prices are typically double what you would pay at the liquor store (If you had access to one. Which you don’t. Which is why you’re paying the bootlegger twice what it would cost retail). Regular old beer is also a staple of the moonshiner, not just moonshine itself (it’s not homemade, rather, they bring it into the “dry” county from the “wet” county and sell it at mark-up.)

  • buskertype

    the most recent price I was quoted on moonshine (primo stuff) was $20/quart, which does make you wonder about this report.

    On the other hand, I think that a lot of today’s moonshine drinkers are not looking for a cheap drunk so much as they are just getting off on being outlaws and sticking it to the man, or the street cred that comes with having moonshine to offer people at parties. Kinda like absinthe for hillbillies and crackers.

  • buskertype

    @nikkos- but then I’m from WVa which is much less afflicted with the scourge of dry laws.

  • Brendan I. Koerner

    Thanks for the comments. Not exactly sure what the Wilsons were cooking up, but my impression is they weren’t master distillers. $3/oz price quote is likely police bunk, to make their feeble contraband haul seem more impressive.

    BTW, I should’ve included a link to this story at the bottom of the post–my favorite modern moonshiner story, from 1997:


  • Tony Comstock

    This is like the ‘Porn is a $12B, $15B, $52 a year industry” figure you see in the NYT, Time mag, etc. Porn, dope or booze, it’s in no one’s interest to question these figures. The bigger the number, the better for all concerned.

  • antimeria

    maybe i’m just ignorant, but i’ve never heard of ALE; one more reason for an acronym-vetting process.

  • Brendan I. Koerner

    @antimeria: Heh. Hadn’t even noticed that unfortunate acronym. Seems to be for Alcohol Law Enforcement, a North Carolina state agency. Given that the spelled-out name doesn’t make total sense, I wonder if the acronym was actually intentional–albeit for reasons I can’t possibly fathom.