Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Throwback Tuesday - North Carolina Moonshine

A post from 2012.  Apparently, Troy and Sons (which is what it was called when I took the tour in 2012) is now named Asheville Distilling, although Troy and Sons remains one of their products.

Since I first posted this in 2012, legal moonshine is now made in many states, including my native New York State.  I've had it in various places, but this product made in Asheville was probably my favorite.

This is edited slightly, to reflect the name change.

Sustainable Saturday - North Carolina Moonshine

A legal moonshine, distilled in Asheville, North Carolina, is made from a heirloom corn variety believed to be lost, in a distillery owned by a woman. 

"Moonshine", a.k.a. corn whiskey, has a very long and distinguished history in our country.  Made right, with high quality corn, and high quality water (and nothing else) it distills into a very smooth clear whiskey.  It can also be aged in barrels once used for bourbon - a type of recycling as bourbon barrels can only be used once.

Let's take a little tour of the Asheville Distilling  moonshine operation in Asheville.

Our tour guide, the sister of the woman who owns the distillery, walked us through the process of making "moonshine". (Incidentally, although I believe the term "moonshine" is a common description for the product of unlicensed liquor making, this product is marketed under the name "moonshine".)

First, a mash of a heirloom corn called "Crooked Creek Corn" and water, is allowed to ferment.  Up to this point, the beginning process is something like beer making.

Crooked Creek Corn is an open pollinated white corn with a high fat content.  It only produces one ear per plant, and the finicky plants are susceptible to wind damage. The tour guide assured us that they have no plans to genetically engineer this corn, which their operation will hopefully save from extinction.

This initial fermentation is done in the blue barrels you can see in back of the still below.

Unlike beer, however, no hops are added, and a distilling process is begun in this still.  The resulting 190 proof liquid is cut with water down to 80 proof.

The result is a very smooth clear whiskey that warms your stomach quite nicely - what locals would call a good "sipping whiskey".

I'm not that much into whiskey but I could definitely see this being added to certain mixed drinks.
The other variety Troy and Sons made in 2012 was amber colored, aged in these former bourbon barrels.

The ceiling of the tasting room is lined with wood from these barrels and the walls are nicely decorated, too.

Yes, we had to buy a bottle - in a North Carolina state owned liquor store.  I was pleased to see that these stores promote North Carolina products.

 A toast, to liquid sustainable agriculture.


  1. Many a friend was into moonshine, when I was a denizen of Charlottesville. No, I'm not THAT old. This was the 70s.

  2. What has this country come to? Now moonshine is legal? (Funny how things come around.)

  3. what an amazing place I am sure my hubby and son in law would love to take a tour at a place like this. Very interesting for sure
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  4. I'd been seeing legal moonshine available in liquor stores the past several years when I've visited Tennessee. It's all over the place now with many brands and in many flavors and variations. All the rage these days.

    Back in the 80's when moonshine was still illegal, my ex-brother-in-law brought out a mason jar full of the stuff. It was as clear and sparkling as real clean water. I was surprised how smooth and pleasant it was to drink. I had expected something far more harsh and fiery.

    I'll have to get some of the legal variety on my next visit to Tennessee. I meant to get a jar this summer and then I forgot.

    Arlee Bird
    Tossing It Out


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