Extra:Moonshining in Alabama
The backwoods of Alabama are often shrouded in secrecy, because in many cases that's where fiery, illegal alcohol is being made. Moonshine has been outlawed for centuries, but that hasn't stopped the business. It's thriving in Alabama.
A dangerous and illegal operation is booming in our backyard. Bootleggers and moonshining are still around. In fact, "white lighting" has struck the River Region.
"It is prevalent, and we are seeing it more and more now that some of the television shows have come out," says Sgt. Wayne Mackey with the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board.
After trekking through the woods, we spot it. A moonshine still near the Crenshaw and Pike County line.
He grew up with it. His dad, Clyde May, was a legendary moonshiner in Bullock County.
May says there are three reasons why moonshining became widespread in the River Region. He says early settlers were Irish-Scottish. Secondly, he says rivers and creeks are plentiful in the area. And lastly, May says the soil south of the Conecuh River was poor for farming, so families had to find another way to make money.
"[Moonshining] had a very rich, romantic history. There were so many people doing it, and they fed their families," says May.
The average tax on a gallon of liquor in Alabama is $22.50. Therefore, the state loses more than $327,000 in taxes a year from one 40 barrel still. The still owner walks away with more than $100,000 in profits.
If you are caught distilling illegal alcohol or selling it in the state of Alabama, you can face up to five years in prison on felony charges.