By Toni C. Collins
Levy County Historian
In December 1955, a local newspaper carried a news article about two moonshine stills in Levy County being destroyed by state and federal agents of the Beverage Department.
One of the stills was located about two miles east of Inglis on County Road 40. It consisted of eight barrels, a 100-gallon pot and was capable of producing 16 five-gallon jugs a week. One International one-ton truck was confiscated.
Horace Wilcox of Clearwater was arrested in the raid. He was turned over to federal authorities and arraigned in Gainesville. The other still destroyed was located about a quarter mile back of Six-Mile Turpentine Still at Usher. It consisted of two 2,500-gallon sheet metal containers.
The containers were used to ferment the mash as well as for the pot to run the shine into. The still was capable of producing 1,000 gallons of moonshine a week. No arrests were made.
The passage of the Volstead Act in 1919 made the illicit traffic and production of homemade liquor, known as moonshine, a booming industry in Levy County.
The stills to make the brew were usually located in the woods where cooling water could be obtained from a creek, pond or well.
The stills were not elaborate or of great capacity, but there were many of them.
The sugar and grain was brought in by train or truck and the finished product shipped out the same way. Many a carload of moonshine was shipped out of Levy County by rail under a bill of lading reading “lumber.”
The repeal of the 18th Amendment in 1933 did not stop the production of moonshine in Levy County, just reduced the activity slightly.