Moonshining was a lucrative business back in the day. Named because the makers would often work their stills under the light of the moon to avoid detection by the authorities, this trade began as a way to avoid paying government tax on liquor. Now it’s in Red Dead Online, too.
So, why do you want to do it? Well, to make money, of course. This is potentially the best Role in the game in terms of pure money-to-effort ratio, as it mostly just idles in the background. Still, there’s a lot to learn about making the perfect batch of shine and this guide should teach you all you need to know.
How Do You Become A Moonshiner?
This is technically the most expensive Role in the game, as you have to first purchase the Trader Role to be able to unlock it. Once you become a trader, you have to complete one of three things:
- Reach Trader rank 5
- Complete a delivery
- Pay 5 gold bars in the progress section of the main menu
Completing a delivery is the easiest route to take, just do a local one and there won’t even be other players bothering you.
Once you’ve passed one of the above milestones you’ll receive a letter telling you about an opportunity on Emerald Ranch. Go to the new icon there and initiate a cutscene. For the staggering fee of 25 gold bars, you can start a moonshining business. If you can’t scrape that together there and then you can still start up the business later, just go into the camp menu and purchase a moonshine shack.
What Does The Role Unlock?
Your gold will go towards your very own moonshining shack, complete with a secret basement and bar. It’s the closest thing to a house we’ve got at the moment. Once you rank up high enough you also unlock the best variants of the Norfolk Roadster horse, a very good horse.
You also unlock Moonshiner story missions, which more Roles should definitely have as they add a great amount of content and immersion. As well as the standard items and weapon skins, you also get a nifty little hipflask, a band for the bar, and flammable moonshine you can pour and set alight.
What Do You Actually Do?
Although this Role can be left almost completely idle, there’s a lot you can do, if you’re so inclined. This is the first Role to introduce actual story missions, though the legendary bounties sort of do, too. These missions will have you help Maggie Fike – the ex-queen of shine and your new business partner – get revenge on those who wronged her in the past. These missions are challenging and best tackled with a posse, though they can be done alone. Once you’ve completed them all you can redo them at higher difficulties, too.
You also unlock bootlegging missions, radiant missions that will see you poisoning rival gangs’ stills and taking out revenue agents. They’re formulaic but offer some fun gunfights, so there’s plenty of bodies to loot making this Role work quite well alongside the Collector. The main reason to do these is to lower the price of your moonshine ingredients.
How Do You Make Money?
This is by far the simplest Role to earn money from. All you have to do is go into your basement, buy a base mash for your shine, throw in some added berries if you want to make a better drink, wait 30-60 minutes, and then sell the finished product. Most of the extra ingredients can be bought from the catalog, such as canned fruit, and the berries and herbs you need are plentiful.
You’ll earn a fair bit from these deliveries, with stronger and flavored moonshine being worth more than the weaker, plain stuff. Just be careful when you drive, being reckless, going up and down hills, and getting the wagon shot will all spill your precious product, meaning you have less to sell and therefore get less money.
How Do You Earn Experience?
This is a really easy Role to rank up, even if you’re playing alone. All the missions earn a decent amount of XP, so be sure to play them all often. You can even be asked to help a fellow moonshiner dispatch some revenue agents if you’re in the area, which will net XP.
Just starting a batch of shine will give you some XP, as will completing a batch. The most XP will come from completing a delivery of the stuff, but every little helps, so it’s nice you get some boosts before you even try to sell.
Any Final Tips?
There are five locations you can choose to set up a shine shack. Obviously, the Grizzlies is a tempting location from a role-playing perspective, but the steep landscape and barren plantlife mean deliveries will be tough and ingredients will be hard to forage. Tall Trees and the Bayou are probably best in terms of both terrain and ingredient proximity, so those are the best.
Obviously, it’s more cost-effective to complete some bootlegger missions to lower the cost of your mash before you start production. However, if you really just want an idle money maker, you can just make unflavoured moonshine and still make some money.
Next: Everything You Need To Know About Red Dead Online In 2021
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Issy is an avid film lover, writer, and game-player based in Leamington Spa, England. He combines his love of film and games in his writing, trying to find as many connections between the two mediums as possible. When he’s not writing, playing, or watching, Issy loves to DJ and look after his growing collection of houseplants, as they make him feel more adult.
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