Bootleggers, moonshiners, and rum runners rejoiced when Prohibition banned the manufacture, transportation, and sale of alcoholic beverages in the United States. Florida’s long and undulating coastline provided an open door for illicit booze from the Caribbean, and the state’s extensive forests, swamps, scrub, hammocks, and bayous provided ample cover for stills. In 1926, Charlotte County in southwest Florida gained recognition for the biggest haul of contraband liquor on record.
After Prohibition ended, moonshining remained an important business in Florida. In the 1950s, Baker County in northeast Florida became known as the Shine Capitol of the South. Moonshiners in the Okefenokee Swamp purportedly dodged water moccasins to get to their stills. Stories abound of daring deliveries in souped-up vehicles loaded with “white lightning” and speeding down the highway from Baxter, Florida to Fargo, Georgia.
Thirsty for more? Check out more images of moonshiners and the Prohibition era on Florida Memory.