Legal moonshine production—funny as that sounds—has exploded in the South. Instead of on creek banks, it’s now produced in gleaming distilleries. But it’s the same old stuff: strong, unaged liquor. To sell it, the story is just as important as the hooch. Family-owned distilleries mine their histories to stand out in a market crowded by hillbilly nostalgia.

Irina Zhorov is a writer, photographer, and producer. Her work has appeared on NPR, Planet Money, and 99 Percent Invisible. She’s a Philly girl living on an old horse farm in North Carolina and working on a novel set in Siberia. 

Music for this issue is from Blue Dot Sessions: “Headlights/Mountain Road” by The Contessa, “Lobo Lobo” by El Baul, “Scraper” by Grey River, “Slider” by Grey River, “Astrisx” by Body Tonic. “Mountain Dew” performed by Bascom Lamar Lunsford.