North Carolina Moonshine

Piedmont DistillersNorth Carolina Moonshine

Junior Johnson's Midnight Moon

Born 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 Company
Bostic
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 personalized tours and tastings by appointment.

Muddy River Distillery
Belmont
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 Distillery
Madison
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. To truly taste and toast the town’s crown jewel, visit the distillery during Madison’s annual Shine Fest.

Top of the Hill Distillery
Chapel Hill
Chapel Hill’s well-known watering hole is brewing more than beer these days. The Tar Heel tavern recently 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 Sons
Asheville
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. Drop by the distillery for a taste and tour of an authentic Asheville export.

Find spirits from these microdistilleries at local ABC Stores:

Azure Skye Beverages
Charlotte

Carolina Distillery
Lenoir

Broadslab Distillery
South Benson

Covington Sprits
Snow Hill

Howling Moon Distillery
Asheville

Southern Artisan Spirits
Kings Mountain

Blair Rumley

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