My sense is that while "every moonshiner is different," there are a couple of main strains.
1. The businessman. This individual has customers who want cheap, potent spirits. Somehow, he has to make something that's cheaper than buying Everclear. Even if he has to transport the Everclear into a dry county, that's a tough hurdle. The solution is sugar, because it ferments, easily, quickly and completely, with minimal hassle and little telltale odor.
2. The traditionalist. This individual probably has been shining all of his life, like his pappy and grandpappy before him. Sure, there's money involved, but mostly he just does it because he's always done it. He also has definite ideas about how it should be done and he sticks to the old family recipe.
3. The craftsman. Like the traditionalist, this person isn't doing it so much for the money but because he likes doing it and likes the product. The main difference between the craftsman and the traditionalist is that the craftsman may experiment a little bit, trying to make the best product he can.
4. The fraud. This person acquires alcohol in any form, maybe making it, maybe buying it, maybe stealing it, but probably "positions" his product as good ole country shine just like grandpappy used to make. His product might kill you or make you blind. He doesn't care.
Maybe there are some other variations, but those are the four that come to mind.