Difference Between Moonshine and Whiskey

Moonshine vs Whiskey

Whisky is perhaps the most popular alcoholic beverage around the world after beer. It is made by fermentation of grains and later distilled and aged wooden casks or barrels. Whisky has to be aged by storing it in these barrels for long time periods. There is one whisky called white whiskey or simply moonshine that is a source of confusion among many people, especially who are not aware of the nuances of alcoholic beverages. If moonshine is indeed a type of whisky, why add a prefix of white before the name to make it different? This article takes a closer look at this alcoholic beverage to try and find out the answer.

What is Whiskey?

Whiskey is an alcoholic beverage that is distilled after fermentation of barley and other grains such as corn and wheat. There are many variations of the manufacturing process of whisky but no matter which part of the world it is produced, making of whisky requires fermentation, distillation, and aging or storage in wooden barrels. For a beverage to be called whiskey, it has to be aged by storing in wooden casks for years at stretch. Whiskey is called whisky in Scotland, commonwealth countries, and many other parts of the world. In fact, whisky made in Scotland is called Scotch whisky or simply Scotch. The name whiskey is derived from ancient Irish term that means water of life.

What is Moonshine?

Moonshine is the name of alcoholic beverage that is produced illegally to bypass the legal requirement of aging of whisky and also to save on manufacturing process. It is a whisky sans aging. Moonshine is referred to as hooch, tharra, arrack, white lighting, white whiskey, etc. in different parts of the world. The word moonshine seems to have been inspired by the word moonrakers that was used to refer to people indulged in smuggling and other clandestine activities. The roots of moonshine lie in the American Revolution when government levied heavy taxes on manufacturers of alcohol. Irked by this, many Americans made alcohol secretly. This type of whisky was called moonshine.

What is the difference between Whiskey and Moonshine?

• Moonshine is illegally made whisky or rum.

• To be called whiskey, alcoholic beverage requires aging in wooden barrels for long time periods whereas moonshine has no such requirement.

• Moonshine is called by different names around the world.

• Whiskey is made by fermentation of grain mash, mostly barley, though other grains such as corn and wheat are also used for making it.

• Moonshine is also called hooch, white lightening, tharra, arrack, etc.

• Moonshine comes from moonshiners that refers to people conducting their business at night or in a clandestine manner.

• Whiskey is mellow and smooth whereas moonshine is raw and straight.


Further Reading:

  1. Difference Between Brandy and Whiskey
  2. Difference Between Bourbon and Whiskey
  3. Difference Between Cognac and Whiskey
  4. Difference Between Rum and Whiskey