When you mention the word "moonshine," you're bound to get some type of reaction, whether it's a smile or quite the opposite. But in the town of Boones Mill, an alcohol still is causing quite a controversy after an action by the Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control.
Jerry Brown runs the “Hillbilly "Shack" and makes authentic barbeque. He says the still was simply a prop. But authorities weren't convinced. Things went haywire when an off-duty agent spotted the still, which was given by a customer more than a year ago. “They flipped it over up on its side and they just started busting and hacking-- busting and hacking--and they flipped it on the other side and the same thing until they got it ripped in half,” said Brown.
Brown says he's confused. Why would anyone think this old beat up still would still be in use? And the agent said even though Brown only had the pot, or bottom part of the still, he was breaking the law. On top of the still controversy, the Hillbilly Shak has been closed for three weeks since the big wind storm.
Brown says he doesn't have an ax to grind with the authorities as long as their actions were warranted.
We contacted the ABC. They made it very clear that it is against the law to possess a non-operational still without a permit. Anyone who does so could be charged with a misdemeanor. ABC says the case is under investigation.