map placeholder
Click on a country for details.

Moonshine by Country 2024

Moonshine is the colloquial name given to liqueur distilled illegally. It has existed in many forms around the world and has a history almost as old as civilization itself. In fact, moonshine is so popular that many countries have legal liqueurs named for their illegal counterparts. For example, White Lightning is a cheap alcoholic cider in the UK and Mountain Dew is a non-alcoholic soda in the United States. In Canada, several legal products are marketed as shine or screech.

In the United States, moonshine holds a special place in history: prohibition. In the 1920s, the government banned alcohol, and many people made their fortunes as "bootleggers," smuggling drinks into parties and speakeasies. This period of history is often celebrated, as is the case at the modern (and legal) speakeasy in New York City: Bathtub Gin. Named after moonshine, it features a hidden entrance and a bathtub in the middle of the floor.

Even though moonshine is popular and often celebrated, there is a good reason for it to be illegal. Brewing alcohol is a precise scientific process that can easily go wrong and create a dangerous instead of enjoyable drink. This happened in Australia after World War II. Italian immigrants brewed grappa, Italian moonshine made from grapes. In this instance, it was made from the leftover stems and skins of winemaking grapes, which resulted in some grappa batches having a poisonous level of methanol and killing large groups of people.

The practice of making moonshine isn't just history. It's a business that is still thriving, especially in the southeast region of the US known as Appalachia. In this rural area of the United States, moonshine stills are hidden, guarded, and booby-trapped to avoid detection from both law enforcement and the competition. It is a way of life that was even featured in a reality TV series!

In some countries, moonshine sometimes dominates the market. This is true in Burma, where several types of moonshine have the majority share of the market, as well as in Cape Verde, where residents use sugarcane to create an artisanal product called grogue. Grogue is such an important part of local culture that nearly all the sugarcane is used to produce this moonshine. Currently, the government has plans to create a legal grogue for export to both promote their local culture and bring in revenue.

Notes:
- For the purposes of this table, the term "moonshine" refers to "homemade" alcoholic beverages made (legally or illegally) by private individuals using small-scale equipment and often using traditional methods, recipes, and ingredients.

Download Table Data

Enter your email below, and you'll receive this table's data in your inbox momentarily.

Country
Local Name
North MacedoniaРакија
RomaniaȚuică
SloveniaŠnops
AfghanistanZarbali
UgandaWaragi
GreeceTsipouro
IndiaTharra
PakistanTharra
ColombiaTapetusa or "Chirrinchi"
EcuadorSugarcane
CyprusSlivovice
SlovakiaSlivovica
GermanySchwarzgebrannter
MalaysiaSarawak
RussiaSamogon
VietnamRượu
NepalRaksi
CroatiaRakija
BulgariaRakia
TurkeyRaki
AlbaniaRaki
EstoniaPuskar, samagonn, samakas or metsakohin
IrelandPoitín
SerbiaPlum rakia/šljivovica
Puerto RicoPitorro
SpainOrujo
NamibiaOmbike
NigeriaOgogoro
ArmeniaOghi
LithuaniaNaminė degtinė
South AfricaMarulas
FranceMalt brandy
LaosLao-Lao
ThailandLao khao
IcelandLandi
PhilippinesLambanog
Solomon IslandsKwaso
FinlandKilju
LatviaKandža
MalawiKachasu
HondurasHázipálinka
New ZealandHokonui moonshine
DenmarkHjemmebrændt
NorwayHjemmebrent
SwedenHembränt
Sri LankaHeli Arrakku
Costa RicaGuaro de Contrabando
CubaGualfarina
Cape VerdeGrogue
ItalyGrappa
AustraliaGrappa
SwitzerlandDamassine
NicaraguaCususa
GuatemalaCusha
Dominican RepublicCleren
HaitiClairin
PanamaChirrisco
PeruChicha
MexicoCharanda
KenyaChangaa
GeorgiaChacha
BeninCachaça
TunisiaBoukha
PolandBimber
PortugalBagaço
Trinidad and TobagoBa-bash
IndonesiaArrack
CameroonArki odongtol
SudanAraqi
IranArak
Saudi ArabiaAragh
United StatesAppalachia
GhanaAkpeteshie
showing: 73 rows

What countries make moonshine?

The country that makes the most homemade alcoholic beverages is the country of North Macedonia.

Frequently Asked Questions

Sources