The making of moonshine whiskey has a long history here in West Virginia. The word entered the English language about 1785 when white brandy was smuggled on the southeast England coast of Kent and Sussex.
In WV, field corn, soft creek water, and industrious farmers came together to make moonshine, sometimes also called mountain dew or white lightning. It is typically 100-proof whiskey, aged little or none, and was an important cash crop. So long as revenue agents did not cause trouble, making moonshine was an efficient and profitable way to market corn. With a good still, one-and-a-half bushels of corn was reduced to a gallon of whiskey, which was worth more than the grain itself and less bulky to transport. source: blackdraftdistillery.com.