Ted Balaker of Reason.tv produced a video about moonshine. He says, "You can make beer at home, but if you try to make spirits at home it's a felony. Go figure."
If drinking makes us healthier and wealthier, why is America's liquor policy so screwy?Free the 'Shine! Why it's finally time to legalize liquor
Jimmy Carter legalized home brewing in 1978, and that newfound freedom fueled the craft beer movement that continues to lavish beer lovers with endless choices. But in many ways, laws that govern whiskey, gin, and other distilled spirits are stuck in the 1920s.
Federal agents still raid distilleries much like they did during Prohibition, and making any amount of moonshine at home is not only illegal, it's a felony that can carry up to five years in prison. The result is a market dominated by a few big names, where would-be craftsmen are forced to hide their work.
And yet, despite the danger, America is in the midst of "moonshine renaissance," in which a new wave of hipster hobbyists has joined with old-time 'shiners to flout the law and do what they love to do.
Mark Frauenfelder is the founder of Boing Boing and the editor-in-chief of MAKE and Cool Tools. Twitter: @frauenfelder. Come and hear Mark speak at the ALA conference in Chicago on July 1.