North Carolina MoonshinePiedmont DistillersJunior Johnson's Midnight MoonBorn from a lethal combination of copper and corn, industry opportunities for bootleggers soared when North Carolina became the first Southern state to enact prohibition. Bootlegging – selling spirits without taxation or government permits – became a means for financial stability. While national Prohibition ended in 1933, North Carolina remained a dry state until 1935 – the heyday of hooch – eventually giving birth to the firewater-fueled sport of NASCAR.While moonshine once lost its luster with cheaper, more accessible liquor, it never died. As the farm-to-fork movement grows in North Carolina, the still-to-store movement is not far behind. Catalyzed by the local initiative, microdistilleries continue to multiply in North Carolina, crafting small-batch moonshine, vodka, gin and rum. And this time, it’s legal.For a taste and tour of some of our state’s finest spirits, visit one of these microdistilleries:Blue Ridge Distilling CompanyBostic Holding true to its title, from the Golden Valley comes a golden spirit born from the Blue Ridge Distilling Company. The distillery’s bellwether brew – boldly branded Defiant – is a barley-based whiskey made from pure mountain water softened and seasoned in white oak barrels. The distillery offers tours Monday through Friday, and weekends by appointment.Broadslab DistilleryBenson Jeremy Norris, Broadslab owner and master distiller, uses his grandfather's recipe – passed down to five generations of moonshine makers. Their Legacy Shine, Reserve Whiskey and Carolina Coast rums are made from all-natural ingredients, prepared in a hand-crafted, 500-gallon, solid copper pot still. The distillery is open for tastings and tours, Thursday to Saturday.Muddy River DistilleryBelmont Brewed on the banks of the Catawba is Muddy River Distillery’s Carolina Rum. While it may not offer the tropical tranquility of Bacardi, the down-home distillery crafts rum that’s equally sweet and smooth, begging for a blender. Distillery tours are available upon request.Piedmont DistilleryMadison Piedmont Distillery brews its signature spiced ‘shine – Catdaddy Carolina – from a train-station-turned-hooch-headquarters amidst the unassuming town of Madison. In 2007, North Carolina’s NASCAR legend and bygone bootlegger Junior Johnson joined the cause with his heirloom recipe for Midnight Moon, with fruit flavors ranging from apple pie to blueberry. Top of the Hill DistilleryChapel Hill Chapel Hill’s well-known watering hole is brewing more than beer these days. The Tar Heel tavern has introduced hand-crafted Carolina Whiskey, Piedmont Gin and Vodka, not to mention an Age-Your-Own Whiskey Kit. After a personalized tasting and tour with the distiller, sip your choice spirit on the TOPO patio overlooking famed Franklin Street.Troy and SonsAsheville In the town titled “Beer City USA,” moonshine is making a name for itself. Troy Ball is the matriarch of moonshine. This bootlegging businesswoman brews small-batch ‘shine from North Carolina-grown heirloom corn with hints of vanilla, cucumber and melon for Asheville’s most affluent, with a customer list that includes Biltmore and The Omni Grove Park Inn. Distillery tours and tastings are offered during select times Friday and Saturday.Find spirits from these microdistilleries at North Carolina ABC Stores:Carolina DistilleryLenoirCovington SpiritsSnow HillHowling Moon DistilleryAshevilleSouthern Artisan SpiritsKings MountainBlair Rumley Cofield is a graduate of University of North Carolina with a degree in Southern Studies. She lives in Raleigh and restricts her barbecue intake to eastern-style only.