Cornwall LivingIssue #62
By the shine of the moon
The Cornish Moonshine Company celebrates the story of a very Cornish non-conformist, Tom the Smuggler.
We speak with the Cornish Moonshine team, who tell us a story about smuggling in Cornwall, explaining how non-conformity and following one’s own path has led to the success of many, including this up-and-coming, bootlegging Cornish liquor business. Ask anyone to describe an 18th-century smuggler, and they’ll probably tell you about a Cornishman called Tom. He rolls a couple of kegs up a moonlit beach and hides them in a cave, before hawking the brandy round the village. Everybody knows him as Tom the Smuggler, and his neighbours distract the revenue man at the front door while Tom rolls his barrels out the back.
“We’ve created Cornish Moonshine to tell Tom’s story, and to represent the non-conformists of this day and age.”
Cornwall was (and still is, to many) like its own country, separate from the rest of England. Cornish men and women are staunchly proud of their heritage and this ‘patriotism’ allowed Tom the Smuggler to flourish. Tom looked after his fellow Cornish folk, and asked them to turn and face the wall as he approached. That way, if he was arrested, the villagers could truthfully swear that they had seen nothing, for hearing was not evidence enough. Smuggling under the night’s sky, when only the true locals could navigate the Cornish coastline by the moon’s light alone, Tom’s illicitly smuggled alcohol soon became dubbed ‘moonshine’. Tom was a true nonconformist and, in the words of John Kenneth Galbraith: “Humanity’s most valuable assets have been the non-conformists. Were it not for he who insists upon attempting to find new ways of bettering things, the world would have known little progress, indeed.”
The team tells us: “We’ve created Cornish Moonshine to tell Tom’s story, and to represent the non-conformists of this day and age. We don’t believe in following the crowd, and would rather pave our own path in our own category of spirit drink. Cornish Moonshine isn’t a vodka or a gin, nor is it a whisky. It stands alone as a grain spirit made from 100% Cornish barley, and we couldn’t be more proud of what we’ve created. So, here’s to Tom the Smuggler, and cheers to our fellow nonconformists!”
"We’ve created Cornish Moonshine to tell Tom’s story, and to represent the non-conformists of this day and age."