This morning Berfroisâ€”Intellectual Jousting in the Republic of Lettersâ€”is featuring an excerpt from Charles Thompson’s new book Spirits of Just Men: Mountaineers, Liquor Bosses, and Lawmen in the Moonshine Capital of the World.
“‘What did he sell there?’ I asked. He had a little bit of everything, he told me: some dry goods and a few hardware items, some drinks and a few food items. He sold a lot of sweet feed: molasses-soaked grains for cattle and hogs. But most of his profits came from his sales of five-gallon metal cans and fifty- pound bags of sugar, malt, and yeast. He didn’t have to tell me these items were for the bootlegging trade, the business that people back in the store’s heyday in the 1920s and through the Great Depression of the 1930s sometimes called blockading.”