The term Moonshine is commonly associated with the illicit production of alcohol.
Strict control policies, taxation, prohibition, government and other monopolies are common reasons, why for centuries Alcoholic Beverages have been made outside the law.
The 14 years of prohibition in the United States, created a huge demand for illicit alcohol which was often distributed and controlled by criminal gangs. Prohibition has officially been in force in the world of Islam for 12 centuries. The Temperance movement in the 19th and 20th centuries called for a ban on intoxicating beverages which had the effect of driving demand underground.
Home brewed alcoholic drinks, beer, fruit based beverages, palm wine and distillation from a wide variety of raw materials are made in many counties of the world.
Alan Haworth and Ronald Simpsons book explores a largely uncharted area, they estimate that at least half of the consumption of alcohol throughout the world is basically Moonshine. This in itself is an important reason to collate data on why and how this situation exists in a modern world.
Their studies are limited to parts of Africa, Brazil , Mexico and India. It is to be hoped that these will be expanded to Russia, the Eastern block and Scandinavia in due course. They explain that there are few common factors involved and that each country in unique. Extensive poverty is a prime motivator, as Moonshine avoids the taxation and controls which surround legal alcohol. It often wrongly considered that illicit alcohol is a danger to health, this is not always the case. Governments and public health authorities should work together to reduce the harm from contaminated beverages.
This book looks at the complex issues involved and clearly shows that there are a wide variety of Moonshine markets. Throughout the world , indeed there is an entire culture associated with the illicit production of alcohol.
Moonshine is the 6th book in the ICAP series on Alcohol in Society. For further details contact visit www.ICAP.org