Charles Folias, Whiskey Caveman

Moonshiner Charles Folias operated his still out of a complex cave rig like the one pictured here. Brilliant!

Moonshiner Charles Folias operated his still out of a complex cave rig like the one pictured here. Brilliant!

Being a moonshiner isn’t just about making a potent, pure product. It’s also about surviving, putting bread on the table, taking risks, and above all else, evading the “revenuers,” or tax agents.

Distilling moonshine without a proper license has been a crime since 1791, but many have always seen it as their God-given right to brew the white dog, and taxation of it as nothing but a gross infringement on their freedoms.

Some have gone so far to evade revenuers that they’ve taken their operations out of sight and sound. One moonshine character from North Carolina named Charles Folias would literally vanish when tax agents came after him. They would frustratingly search high and low, but Folias was buried below — his moonshine still was hidden deep in a cave at the end of an underground tunnel.

One day, though, Folias’ luck ran out as he came upon a nest of rattlesnakes while disappearing into his cave. If he kept running, he’d be sure to get bitten and possibly die. If he turned back, he’d be handcuffed by the revenuers. Folias gave up, giving the rattlesnakes all the credit for the fate he met, and telling the revenuers “you deserve no credit for it.”

The story of Charles Folias lives on here at Legendary Moonshiners of North Carolina as a tribute to his creativity, cunning, and courage until the bitter end.

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