New documentary explores untold stories from local Moonshine history

Everything we know about the Moonshiners and the history of Moonshining is false.

This is one of the themes of the new documentary film from the Center for Cultural Preservation on the regional history of Moonshine, “The spirits are still moving”.

David Weintraub, award-winning director / producer of 40 story films, interviews nearly three dozen moonshiners and their families in western North Carolina, eastern Tennessee and South Carolina’s Dark Corner to tell a story about the history of Moonshine that has never been relayed before.

“The myth that all moon seers are violent, lazy and drunken criminals hiding in the woods, wearing long beards and longer arrest records, has been told by the media for over 100 years.” , Weintraub said. “In fact, producing alcohol was hard and backbreaking work. that only the most enterprising farmers carried out what they did to survive difficult circumstances and put food on the table. It’s a fascinating story and far more interesting than the myths and distortions we’ve heard.

The film delves deep into the history of the Southern Appalachian Mountains by exposing the stereotypes and fabrications about mountain climbers that have fueled movies and cable TV shows for generations, from the Beverly Hillbillies to the Moonshiner Show.

According to Cody Bradford, fifth generation moonshiner and owner of Howling Moon Distillery in Asheville, “People think all moonshiners were outlaws, but it was the federal government that passed an excise tax afterwards. the civil war that poor farmers had to endure. It was either starving or drinking and it’s not hard to figure out which one they chose.

Bradford and his family are portrayed in the film, as are the moonshiners from Yancey County to Spartanburg County. Most surprisingly to many is that many of the moon seers were African Americans, women, and Native Americans. And this moonshine has played a central role in medicine since the Civil War.

The new film will have its world premieres in the western North Carolina region June 17-20, and all COVID social distancing guidelines will be in place. Each screening will begin with bluegrass music from the Apple Country Bluegrass Band, which will perform in the film and a chat with the director and local moonshiners will follow each screening.

The Spirits Still Move Them will premiere at The Orange Peel in Asheville at 7 p.m. on Thursday, June 17, at North River Farms in Mills River on Friday, June 18 at 8 p.m. in a movie theater and Sunday, June 20 at 8 p.m. at the Southern Appalachian Brewery in Hendersonville. All outdoor locations are subject to weather dates if necessary.

Ticket prices vary by location and advance reservations are strongly recommended given the high demand and expected sales by ordering online at or by calling the Center at (828) 692- 8062. Ticket buyers get $ 5 off the price of the DVD if they purchase it in advance.

This film is made possible by Blue Ridge National Heritage Area Partnership, the Community Foundation of Henderson County and North Carolina Humanities. The Center for Cultural Preservation is a non-profit cultural organization dedicated to the continuity of mountain heritage through oral history, documentary film, education and public programs. For more information about the Center, contact them at (828) 692-8062 or

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