"Rum Runner" redirects here.
For other uses, see Rum Runner (disambiguation).
The term rum-running is more commonly applied to smuggling over water; bootlegging is applied to smuggling over land.
It is believed that the term bootlegging originated during the American Civil War, when soldiers would sneak liquor into army camps by concealing pint bottles within their boots or beneath their trouser legs.
Also, according to the PBS documentary Prohibition, the term bootlegging was popularized when thousands of city dwellers sold liquor from flasks they kept in their boot legs all across major cities and rural areas.
The term rum-running most likely originated at the start of Prohibition in the United States (1920–1933), when ships from Bimini in the western Bahamas transported cheap Caribbean rum to Florida speakeasies.
But rum's cheapness made it a low-profit item for the rum-runners, and they soon moved on to smuggling Canadian whisky, French champagne, and English gin to major cities like New York City, Boston, and Chicago, where prices ran high.
It was said that some ships carried $200,000 in contraband in a single run.
Alcohol smuggling today
For multiple reasons (including the avoidance of taxes and minimum purchase prices), alcohol smuggling is still a worldwide concern.
In the United States, the smuggling of alcohol did not end with the repeal of prohibition.
Although the well-known bootleggers of the day may no longer be in business, bootlegging still exists, even if on a smaller scale.
The state of Virginia has reported that it loses up to $20 million a year from illegal whiskey smuggling.
The Government of the United Kingdom fails to collect an estimated £900 million in taxes due to alcohol smuggling activities.
Absinthe was smuggled into the United States until it was legalized in 2007.
Credits to the contents of this page go to the authors of the corresponding Wikipedia page: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rum-running.