Moonshine and Prohibition
The term moonshine usually refers to illegally produced un-aged alcohol distilled from any source. However, because of it’s illegality the quality of moonshine has been notoriously variable.
The differences between illegal moonshine and “Shine” from The Myriad View are few and simple :- quality and consistency and the fact that we have paid all legally required taxes. If the gangster Al Capone had paid his taxes he wouldn’t have ended up in jail!
The term “Prohibition”, also termed Dry Law or The Noble Experiment, usually refers to the experience in North America in the early 20th Century that prohibited the manufacture, transport, import, export or sale of alcohol.
Born out of the religious Temperance Movement and brought in to law by popular plebiscite, it was variably enacted in each Canadian province. During prohibition, contrary to it’s intention, there appears to have been an increase in alcohol consumption with the proliferation of the speakeasy and since alcohol production was placed into the hands of organised crime, there was also an increase in gang related violence and murder.
Because prohibition in the USA persisted longer than in many Canadian provinces, Canada became a source of illegal alcohol production and importation into the USA. Ships such as The Nellie J Banks, a famous rumrunner sailing out of Naufrage PEI, more than played it’s part in supplying illegal moonshine to organised crime in The USA.
PEI itself had the longest period of prohibition (from 1900 to 1948) of any Canadian province. It’s people went through two world wars unable to buy a legal drink! This may well explain why Shine (as illegal moonshine on PEI is called) is still the preferred and traditional drink at most social gatherings and weddings.
For more info on Moonshine check out our link to CBC TV programme Land and Sea "Moonshine" from May 2010 in which we are featured.