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- 1 How much is Ole Smoky Moonshine tasting in Nashville?
- 2 Does Nashville sell liquor in grocery stores?
- 3 Does Tennessee sell moonshine?
- 4 Can you drink on the street in downtown Nashville?
- 5 What is moonshine in Nashville?
How much is Ole Smoky Moonshine tasting in Nashville?
Are children allowed on site? Yes, children are welcome at all distillery locations. However, in order to participate in the Guided Tour, all guests must be 13+. Are dogs allowed on premise? Yes, dogs are allowed inside the building at our locations in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge.
For our Nashville location, pets are only allowed in the outdoor area. Pets are not allowed to join the Guided Tour at the Holler or 6th and Peabody. How many bottles of moonshine/whiskey can I fly with? Please check the TSA guidelines and confirm directly with your airline. They are never allowed in carry-on bags, however.
How much does a tasting cost? How many samples do you get for the money? Tastings at our Sevier County locations are $5, and you receive a $5 off coupon towards your purchase and a variety of flavor samples. At our Nashville location, tastings are $10.
- The tasting includes a $10 coupon towards your purchase, various flavor samples and a Yee-Haw beer.
- Do you take paper ID’s? We accept paper IDs if they are within 30 days of their issue date, a supervisor will double check any paper ID.
- Is there parking at your locations? While our locations do not offer parking exclusively for our distilleries, there is convenient public parking nearby.
Do we have to schedule a time to do a tasting? No. Just come in to visit with us and step up to a tasting bar with space available and our friendly shine-slingers will help you out How do I sign up for the guided tours of the distillery? Guided distillery tours are now available at The Holler in Gatlinburg and 6th and Peabody in Nashville.
- Click here to Book A Tour.
- Can I still buy moonshine and whiskey on Sundays? Is it illegal to drive over state lines with the moonshine/whiskey? What is your return policy? If you have questions about a return or exchange, please email us at [email protected] with your name, phone number, and order/receipt number.
Do you ship your moonshine and whiskey? We are not able to ship our products directly to consumers due to federal laws. However, we do distribute to all 50 states. Some states are eligible to order via our online partner, Reserve Bar. How can I find out what liquor stores carry your product? Visit our Find-A-Jar page to find moonshine and whiskey flavors in your area.
- Be sure to call retail locations to check availability.
- How would I find out who my local distributor is so I can order your product? Visit your local liquor store and let them know that you would like to have Ole Smoky available near you.
- They can reach out to their distributors for availability.
- What is the price of the jars at your retail location? The majority of our moonshine and whiskey flavors are priced at $26.95 plus tax, with the exception of our fruits (Cherries, Peaches, Pickles, Pineapples) which are $29.95 plus tax, Blue Flame which is $36.95 plus tax, Blended whiskey which is $36.95 plus tax, and James Ownby Reserve which is $54.95 plus tax.
Do you have any deals on the moonshine/whiskey if I were to buy multiple? We do! However, promotional items are subject to availability. Stop by to see what deals we’re running! Are your locations wheelchair accessible? Yes, all locations are wheelchair accessible.
Does Nashville sell liquor in grocery stores?
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Eggs, milk, and. vodka soda? That could be on your shopping list, if a bill makes its way to the Governor’s desk. You would still have to buy liquor bottles at the liquor store, but the bill would make it possible to purchase some of the pre-mixed cocktail drinks that contain vodka, bourbon and even tequila.
- Under current Tennessee law, you can only buy beer, wine or malt liquor at Tennessee grocery stores.
- Anything else involving hard liquors requires a trip to the liquor store.
- I think, as a citizen, I would like to be able to go buy it in a market or a grocery store,” said Rep.
- Pat Marsh, a Republican who also serves as Speaker Pro Tempore.
Marsh’s bill would allow for pretty much any pre-mixed cocktail to be sold at the grocery store — as long as the alcohol content didn’t exceed 10.1%. “I think it’s got a great chance; I hope so,” said Marsh. But it’s turning into quite the lobbying war.
Distilleries like Brown Forman, which owns Jack Daniel’s in Lynchburg, are all for it. Liquor store owners are fighting fiercely against it. “I didn’t think it was as big as it’s getting to be right now, but there’s some opposition coming out that I didn’t think we would have,” said Marsh. The battle reminds the manager of Compton’s Foodland of the fight to allow wine in grocery stores nearly a decade ago.
“I think it’s going to be gradual, and it’s going to take some time,” said John Carpenter, who serves as the store’s manager. As you might expect, wine became a big seller after that bill finally passed, and Carpenter predicts the same could happen with cocktails.
- If it’s something the people want, then we are more than happy to look at that because at this point it becomes a win-win,” said Carpenter.
- We would probably start small.” Customer Carrie Cleveland thinks it’s a common-sense move.
- Most states have already gone to this as it is.
- Tennessee’s already allowing wine in stores, so you might as well do it and do it right,” he said.
“As long as you’re selling it safely and you’re getting tax revenue off of legal sales — go for it.” But don’t start making your shopping list just yet. The bill has several stops in committee before each chamber gets to vote on it.
Does Tennessee sell moonshine?
Moonshine Day: Tennessee’s history with the once forbidden spirit Charlie Reecer and Dewey Smith sampling a batch of moonshine, Clay County, Tennessee, ca.1920-1925. Looking Back at Tennessee Collection, Tennessee State Charlie Reecer and Dewey Smith sampling a batch of moonshine, Clay County, Tennessee, ca.1920-1925. Looking Back at Tennessee Collection, Tennessee State Library and Archives
by: Posted: Jun 5, 2021 / 05:00 AM CDT Updated: Jun 4, 2021 / 03:33 PM CDT
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Moonshine, just in the last decade, has become a legal alcoholic drink to manufacture, but unlike beer and wine, it’s still illegal to make without a proper license. Manure, paint thinner, anti-freeze, and embalming fluid are just a few hazardous ingredients that were used to make illegal moonshine during the prohibition era, according to the Tennessee State Library and Archives.
Two men posing in front of a moonshine still, Claiborne County, Tennessee, 1903. Looking Back at Tennessee Collection, Tennessee State Library and Archives. Moonshine still, Clay County, Tennessee, 1918. Looking Back at Tennessee Collection, Tennessee State Library and Archives Daniel Duesst (pronounced “due east”) with his gun, his dog, and his jug of moonshine Sequatchie County, Tennessee, ca.1900. Looking Back at Tennessee Collection, Tennessee State Library and Archives Sheriff Mike Boatright and others with confiscated stills, Elizabethton, Tennessee, ca.1940s. Looking Back at Tennessee Collection, Tennessee State Library and Archives Charlie Reecer and Dewey Smith sampling a batch of moonshine, Clay County, Tennessee, ca.1920-1925. Looking Back at Tennessee Collection, Tennessee State Library and Archives Sheriff and deputies surrounding broken stills beside the Presbyterian Church, Jonesborough, Tennessee, 1920. Looking Back at Tennessee Collection, Tennessee State Library and Archives Sheriff Mike Bootright and deputies with a confiscated moonshine still, Elizabethton, Tennessee, ca.1940s. Looking Back at Tennessee Collection, Tennessee State Library and Archives Bob Holland, Sheriff J.L. “Fate” Smith, and deputies after a raid on a still, Humphreys County, Tennessee, ca.1920s. Looking Back at Tennessee Collection, Tennessee State Library and Archives A moonshine still being “busted,” Grundy County, Tennessee, ca.1900. Looking Back at Tennessee Collection, Tennessee State Library and Archives
And though, prohibition lasted in Tennessee from 1920 to 1937, its history with the distilled spirit dates back hundreds of years. Scott-Irish settlers brought their whiskey making skills to the Appalachian mountains in the late 1700s. Traditionally, the European liquor is made with malted barley.
- But, Smokies settlers used corn.
- When a Whiskey Tax was enacted in 1802, it drove many makers to produce their product in secret.
- The corn-based liquor was crafted under the cover of night.
- Hence, the name “moonshine.” Moonshine is also synonymous with untaxed liquor.
- It’s still illegal to manufacture liquor in Tennessee without a proper license.
Ole Smoky Distillery in Gatlinburg became the first licensed moonshine distillery in Tennessee. It opened in 2010. Copyright 2023 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. : Moonshine Day: Tennessee’s history with the once forbidden spirit
Do you need to refrigerate Ole Smoky moonshine?
Ole Smoky Distillery on Twitter: ‘@Kev_Campbell Hey Kevin, refrigeration is recommended but not required, so your Moonshine Cherries should be fine!
What whiskey is famous in Tennessee?
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Tennessee whiskey is straight whiskey produced in the U.S. state of Tennessee, Although it has been legally defined as a bourbon whiskey in some international trade agreements, most current producers of Tennessee whiskey disclaim references to their products as “bourbon” and do not label them as such on any of their bottles or advertising materials.
- All current Tennessee whiskey producers are required by Tennessee law to produce their whiskeys in Tennessee and – with the sole exception of Benjamin Prichard’s – to use a filtering step known as the Lincoln County Process prior to aging the whiskey.
- Beyond the perceived marketing value of the distinction, Tennessee whiskey and bourbon have almost identical requirements, and most Tennessee whiskeys meet the criteria for bourbon.
Tennessee whiskey is one of the top ten exports of Tennessee. According to the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States, as of 2013, the U.S. market for bourbon and Tennessee whiskey reached $2.4 billion, and exports of bourbon and Tennessee whiskey grew to exceed $1 billion.
There are two major producers of Tennessee whiskey, Jack Daniel’s based in Lynchburg (owned by the Louisville, Kentucky -based Brown-Forman ) and George Dickel based in Cascade Hollow near Tullahoma (owned by the London-based Diageo ), as well as numerous locally based producers throughout the state.
In June 2017, the Tennessee Distillers Guild launched the Tennessee Whiskey Trail, a 25-stop distillery tour across the state, to further promote Tennessee whiskey and local whiskey culture.
Can you drink on the street in downtown Nashville?
Can You Walk On The Streets With A Beer In Nashville? – 2023 Yes, you can walk the streets with a beer, but it must be in a paper or plastic cup. It is against the law in Nashville to walk the streets with an alcoholic drink in a glass, aluminum, or metal container. If, however, you are walking back to your hotel or home with unopened alcohol that you bought from the store, that is fine since it’s still commercially sealed.
in Nashville, commonly called the “Solo Cup Law” states that “it shall be a violation for any person, while in or on a street, alley, sidewalk, parking lot, parking garage or other area generally open to the publicto have in their possession beer, ale, wine or other alcoholic beverage for the purpose of consumption in a glass, aluminum, or metal container unless such container is commercially sealed.” An to the law was put forward that would ban even paper or plastic cups.
It seems, however, that the hearing has been pushed out indefinitely. So for now the existing law stands that you can walk around Broadway with a paper or plastic cup with alcohol. : Can You Walk On The Streets With A Beer In Nashville? – 2023
What stores sell alcohol in Tennessee?
Where to purchase alcohol in Tennessee
|Alcohol Type||Where to get|
|Beer||Grocery stores Convenience stores Gas stations|
|Beer, wine, distilled spirits||Liquor stores|
|Most alcoholic beverages||Bars Restaurants|
Does Tennessee sell liquor at Walmart?
Do All Walmarts Sell Drinking Alcohol? (State List) This might seem like an obvious question, but there are a lot of complexities when it comes to the sale of alcohol at Walmart. In fact, all grocery stores are subject to state and regional laws governing the sale of beer, wine, and liquor. So, to find out all the ins and outs of alcohol sales at your local Walmart, keep reading.
- As one of the largest retailers of food and beverages in the world, it probably comes as no surprise that Walmart sells alcohol.
- But there are a few caveats to note here due to the fact that different states have different laws and regulations governing the sale of alcohol.
- While Walmart as a company is a massive retail distributor of alcohol, including beer, wine, and liquor, not all Walmart stores are legally allowed to supply alcohol to customers.
For example, Walmart stores in Utah are infamous for not selling alcohol because it is illegal for any grocery stores to sell alcohol in that state. Several other states have similar laws, which Walmart abides by. To give a simpler answer to the question, Walmart sells alcohol in every state, except for:
- Rhode Island
- New Jersey
These states firmly disallow the sale of alcoholic beverages in grocery stores or non-state liquor stores. In some other states, such as North Dakota, Walmart has resorted to opening separate retail locations called Walmart Liquor Stores where they can legally supply alcohol to customers.
Is it legal to drink moonshine in Tennessee?
At a flea market off of Highway 129 in Knoxville, Tennessee, cars pack into the parking lot. So much so that vans and trucks with lift kits pull over on the shoulder of a side street and park. In recent years, the flea market doesn’t get a ton of business on Saturday, but on Sunday, it’s saturated with people. Getty Images At the top of the hill, attached to a chicken and rabbit stand is a small shed. Unlike ninety-five percent of the other stands at the flea market, this one has a screen door, with a sign fixed to it that reads ” Burglars and thieves watch out for flying objects ” and a drawing of a pistol pointed directly at its reader.
If you want to buy a chicken, you should go around to the other side. This is an entrance for friends. Friends looking for something they can’t (really) get in a liquor store: authentic, old-fashioned, Tennessee moonshine. Inside the shed, usually, is one of the few people left making and selling it the authentic, old-fashioned, Tennessee way.
On most Sundays, a man named Jim (changed for anonymity sake), sits inside even though the shed doesn’t belong to him. He buys a vendor lot at the flea market so that he can park his truck close. Inside looks like a clubhouse. On the back wall hangs an American Flag, gently touching corners with a Confederate flag.
- The rest of the walls are filled with every object you can imagine.
- A lantern, a small skeleton, an old BB gun with fluorescent orange dog collars hanging off the barrel, a cast iron skillet.
- And in the middle of the shed is an old oil barrel that is hollowed out for burning wood.
- Even though this particular Sunday morning has warmed up enough that a fire is not necessary, you can still feel the heat radiating off the rusted metal barrel from a couple feet away.
Jim, or Moonshine Jim as he’s sometimes called, is not here today. A rarity, according to the people who occupy the shed in his absence. He had planned on coming to the flea market but decided to have a late October cookout, and after two quart jars of his own supply, Moonshine Jim was in no shape to stop in.
A hangover for Moonshine Jim was even rarer than not showing up at all. Know this: Moonshine Jim is not a drunk. He loves his product. He’s known to meander his way through a twelve pack as Sunday morning turns into evening, but he’s not a drunk, and he’s not one to not show up. Billy Jo looks up from underneath a baseball cap and his strikingly light brown eyes focus while explaining Moonshine Jim’s whereabouts.
From behind the oil barrel, he produces a jar of moonshine. He takes a sip and passes it off to Angela, the woman sitting beside him in a folding chair. I wasn’t particularly invited to hang out with Moonshine Jim that day. I reached out to see if I could get ahold of him, but he didn’t answer.
So I stopped in, and though I wasn’t a burglar or a thief, that gun sign on the door felt very real. You don’t just bust into the club. These are not Tennessee church people, though if you head far enough into the rows of flea market vendors, you can buy prayer candles with Mother Mary on them, six for five dollars.
This club is important because moonshine is disappearing. The kind of moonshine Jim is making is a special-recipe kind of liquor that has been native to Appalachia for centuries now. It’s made through an old school process that has been deemed illegal for as long as it’s been around, but with a law change in 2009, there’s a new battle.
- While the first 200 years of American moonshine was about the government versus the moonshiner, the threat of big business attempting to commodify an old school trade introduces a whole new adversary.
- But Jim and his crew are responding accordingly: stay quiet, stay consistent, and keep ‘stilling, even with big liquor looming in their backyard.
At this makeshift church at the top of the hill, a woman named Angela reaches over for the jar again. In a pair of overall shorts and a pink camisole, she sits in a way that’d induce a heavy dose of side-eye on a New York City Subway. Angela has a way of finding herself in the crosshairs of bad luck too often. Through the screen, you can see his white polo shirt tucked into his khaki pants—just a shade off from an entirely white ensemble. Come to find out, he’s the man responsible for leasing out all of the spots at the flea market. Part of his job is keeping books and notes on who’s in what spot.
- The other part is acting as campus police.
- Moonshine is illegal in Tennessee—at least in the way it’s consumed in this shed.
- The current law specifies that to produce moonshine commercially, a license must be obtained and an annual fee must be paid.
- That fee is based on how much moonshine you make, but it’s all so very clearly written for the benefit of taxes and corporate accessibility that people like Moonshine Jim continue distilling as he always has: in the shadows.
After all, if you’re making it at home, all you can make is five gallons, and it can’t be for consumption. As the man in the white polo asks, “Jim here?” Angela slides the jar behind her leg and Billy Jo responds, “He’s not here today.” The man walks away and when I mention that Jim is popular, Billy Jo responds, “Hell, he’s a ‘stiller.” He’s quickly interrupted by Angela.
“Fucking bastard. Every time I try do anything,” picking up the jar to make good on the sip she tried for before, “Fuckin’ anything around here. Can’t do shit. At least he ain’t got his rent-a-cop dress up uniform no more.” This tension between the law and the people who make and drink moonshine is practically ingrained in the drink itself.
The origins of the original recipes can be traced back to the late 1700s with the Scots-Irish flooding into the hills of Eastern Tennessee, Kentucky, and Georgia. Their white liquor was unaged, sold through word of mouth, and most importantly, untaxed.
The government didn’t get a cut of any of the profit coming out of their whiskey production, which clearly didn’t go over well. The term “moonshine” is rooted in the way the whiskey was made. You don’t go out and make illegal liquor in the light of day, so the whiskey was made in secret, sometimes by the light of the moon.
Fast forward through prohibition, when moonshine production hit an all time high, to the creation of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). Created as an independent bureau in the 1970s, the ATF collected billions of dollars in alcohol and tobacco taxes.
Of course, this meant nothing good for 20th century moonshiners, who often made whiskey as a means of survival in response to a world that opted to industrialize urban areas while paying little attention to rural places like Appalachia. And with penalties higher than ever, the moonshine industry went deeper underground.
A community that thrived off word of mouth basically shifted to a whisper network: you might know someone, or run into a guy at a stock farm who might know a guy. You weren’t in the club until you could be trusted, and even then, you better keep your damn mouth shut.
- After talking with Billy Jo and Angela for a bit, it seemed to be clear: Moonshine Jim was just not going to show up.
- It wasn’t too surprising either that on the very weekend an outsider to the club showed up to ask about moonshine, Jim wasn’t available.
- And then a month later, when Jim had formally agreed to discuss moonshine with me in person, he didn’t answer his phone.
Jim’s flakiness was understandable. If the laws around moonshine production seem absurd, the penalty for breaking them is just as nonsensical. Production of liquor without a license is a Class A misdemeanor and can result in a fine of up to $2,500 and a jail sentence up to 11 months and 29 days.
- Either of those penalties have the weight to devastate most families in East Tennessee.
- Those punishments used to be even more stringent, sending offenders to jail for much longer, with even higher fines.
- So when someone outside the club comes along asking about the very thing that could land you with a $2,500 fine and a year away from the people you love, why invite them in? “I usually flavor it with something because it seems like everybody’s lawn mowers likes apples.
Whose lawnmower doesn’t love a little apple pie?” That’s probably what Brian (whose name has also been changed) was thinking as well as he stood in doorway of his friend’s living room in North Knoxville, occasionally glancing at me from across the room.
Brian is not from the same generation as Jim. He doesn’t run a pot still. He doesn’t have a big operation. His crew doesn’t meet at a flea market on Sundays, and by his estimation, a lot of old timers would say he doesn’t even make real moonshine. But there he is, standing in the doorway after being asked on a whim to discuss everything related to moonshine, cautious as if the ATF is about to be unleashed to take him down.
And they’d have their work cut out for them. Sturdy and tall at six-foot-three, Brian has a giant dark beard that covers up the top half of a faded KISS t-shirt. He could easily tackle any given linebacker you’ve seen, but still, he waits in the doorway for a bit. Shutterstock After a little talk about how terrible Tennessee football has been this year, he preempts the conversation by saying, “I don’t even make moonshine. I make ‘alternative fuel’ for your lawnmower. I actually have a license to make alternative fuel, and I make stuff for you to run your lawn mower.
- If you drink it, that’s on you.
- That ain’t on me.” Brian is clearly smart, and clearly a smartass.
- He wears that badge proudly as one of the new guys who’s found a loophole that exempts him from the laws and legislation that has plagued moonshiners for decades.
- If the government is going to give a nod and act like producing undrinkable ethanol is a concession to moonshiners, Brian is going to give a nod right back.
“I usually flavor it with something because it seems like everybody’s lawn mowers likes apples. Whose lawn mower doesn’t like a little apple pie?” At that moment, Moonshine Jim’s number pops up on my phone. He texts an address that we can meet up at in two hours.
A grocery store out in the far stretches of Knox County. And with the company of one new-school moonshiner, and the promise of one old-school veteran, the club grows one member larger. A few hours after his text, Moonshine Jim gets out of his truck in a mostly empty grocery store parking lot. He looks like he’s being led to slaughter.
While he insists he’s happy to meet, Jim is also very much aware that talking about moonshine is of no benefit to him. Actually, Jim has made his entire life about not discussing moonshine. He’s changed out of hunting clothes after killing a six point buck this morning.
Now he’s wearing bibbed overalls and a pair of work boots. His beard is long and gray and blends into what little you can see of his hair. The rest is blocked by a hat that looks like the love child of a baseball and conductor’s cap. As he moves toward the entrance, he neither wavers nor moves quickly.
Much like a hog on a conveyor belt, he’s resigned to whatever fate he’s signed up for. But against his better judgment, Jim starts the conversation at the beginning—his beginning. In moonshining terminology, they call it the sprout. It’s the first stage of the distillation process—the work that needs to be done before the traditional pot still process can begin.
- Corn kernels are put in a tote sack, moistened with warm water, and allowed to, well, sprout.
- Jim holds out his fingers to show a gap about two inches in length and says, “When it gets about yay long, you lay it out in the sun, let it dry, and mash it up.” Jim’s own sprout, and Brian’s for that matter, began in the days they delivered it.
Separated by thirty years, Brian and Jim joined the ranks of local moonshiners as delivery men. In his adolescence, Jim was handpicked for the job. “When I was a boy, we’d haul hay for about everyone around here. This used to be a hay field right here. You know, they’d pay you a dollar an hour to work. Moonshining is a business that stabilized a lot of rural communities in the mid-20th century. The old man who used Jim for his delivery services was teamed up with a lawyer and another woman in town. That network relied on trust, and it took a while to bring in someone new.
Brian started out the same way, “I learned to make moonshine approximately about 9 to 10 years ago. I had bought some up in Cocke County, up around Newport. I was typically going up there to buy, and I got to be friends with the guy I was buying from. Well, he ended up in the hospital, and couldn’t make any runs.
I actually went to visit him and he gave me the address and just said, ‘Go here. Don’t ask questions. Just go here.” Keeping quiet was the most important part of the process, but for those who grew up around moonshine, that’s practically second nature.
Even before he was delivering, the evidence of moonshine was practically background noise for Jim. “When I was a kid, you could hear it. Thump keg thumpin’ all over the ridge. Nobody would tell on nobody, but you could hear it in the night if you’d know what you’re listenin’ for.” After enough time delivering, Jim was taught to make it.
His process has remained pretty traditional: a pot-still format that involves three 55 gallon drums. The rest is part science, part art. The mystique of moonshine is that you’re making your own recipe. Even legal distillers recognize that. Michael Bender, who is Vice President of Sales at Ole Smoky Moonshine, admits, “What I think is really interesting, and what I’m a little envious of is if you’re making illegal moonshine, there’s a lot of other things you could use ingredient-wise to come up with some interesting things that the government would never let us do as a legal distillery.” His company uses a family recipe, passed down for seven generations, but the company, which was founded in 2009, is now bound by FDA regulations that illegal moonshiners are not.
- Nobody would tell on nobody, but you could hear it in the night if you’d know what you’re listenin’ for.” Jim is especially proud of his recipe.
- Inside, he combines equal parts sugar and “red Indian corn,” a special touch that comes directly from his line of moonshiners.
- I don’t know about them other guys, but that Indian corn, it makes the best whiskey ever.
It’s good.” As Jim explains the process, I notice that his once tense shoulders start to loosen up a bit, and his eyes, which are startlingly blue, shift from being worried to kind. He explains his operation is not a lone-wolf deal. There’s Jarhead, who gets the jars in bulk.
- And Sugardaddy, who, well, gets the sugar.
- And then there’s another guy who helps Jim run the still.
- They have an agreement that if for any reason any of the four of them get caught, they don’t reveal the names of the other three.
- While explaining the general process, he’ll occasionally smile like he’s remembered something important.
It’s then that he leans toward me a bit to explain how it should be made, as if he’s revealing a secret him and me are the only people to know. If the moonshine itself is his forbidden art, it’s the ingredients that are his signature brushstrokes. Brian has particularities in his process, too.
- But unlike Jim’s outdoor still, Brian does everything in his basement.
- Part of the change that happened in the late 1970s, when the ATF came under new direction, is that a lot of moonshiners took their craft underground.
- Setting up permanent stills in the woods became riskier as patrolling for those violating distilling laws increased.
At this point in our talk, Brian has loosened up as well. He maneuvers between being cool and measured, leaned back in a recliner to leaned forward intently as he explains the ways of the government, “The whole bullshit about the ATF or the sheriff flying around with helicopters.
- That shit is real.
- They fucking look for you.
- Because it’s all about the money.
- The government wants their damn money.” “What we benefit from in the legal industry is quality control.” Circumventing the whole open-flame-burn-your-house-down approach, Brian’s “alternative fuel” is alternative in every sense of the word.
The mechanism he uses sounds like what happens when a Reddit message board and a mad scientist have a one night stand, but when he passes me a pint jar to grab a quick taste, it’s very clear that it works. His approach to creation is alternative too. If Jim is a man of faith, Brian is a man of science.
- I keep records, and once it’s done, if I taste it and it tastes like shit, I mark it out and I try again.
- I don’t just say, ‘Well, that’s good enough.
- I’m just going to load it up and go sell it.” Brian believes in the strength and authenticity of small batches.
- That’s how you can control the quality.
Meanwhile, Jim is working with nearly 100 pounds of mash mixture at a time. That’s where a bit of the confusion between generations comes in. Can you really get quality moonshine from such a large, unregulated process? Bender thinks that’s where the legal stuff is ultimately going to get the edge, “What we benefit from in the legal industry is quality control. Shutterstock In the short time I got to spend with Jim, his reaction to this now seems entirely predictable; he’s completely unbothered. He says that if you truly are authentic, your moonshine should be high-quality by nature because no self-respecting ‘stiller is going to allow their product out there in the community if it’s shitty product.
And shitty product is no good. Dangerous product is worse. There’s an old legend out there that says a bad batch of moonshine will make you go blind. That’s bullshitkind of. Methanol is one of the byproducts of distillation, and about 10mL of it can destroy your optic nerve. Thirty mL of it can actually kill you.
So Jim’s explains, “When you run a run, about the first quart comes off it. It’s about 190 proof. You’ll catch that off in a quart jar and when you go to proofin’ it, if it’s not strong enough, you add a little ’til you get it about right. When you shake it, you get a bead—if it’s a little bitty round bead that stays up there, that means you don’t have enough alcohol.” The methanol is still in that first quart, known as the “head,” so adding it back in can’t be good, right? Well, Jim has a workaround for that, too.
- I burn maple wood and save the charcoal off of it.
- You know, snuff it out and save it.
- Then I wrench it in the creek, run the moonshine through it, and it filters.
- That takes any and all oil you have in there and takes it out.” Brian’s perspective is a bit more involved.
- Much like the research he did on me before we met, he has gone so far to have an informal vetting process of potential buyers.
If you’re the kind of person who doesn’t know how to actually drink moonshine, he’s not going to take the risk of selling it to you. That’s how small his batches are. So small that you can research your customer base and make sure you’re not dealing with an idiot.
- You know, ‘round here, everybody’s kind of smooth on the whiskey, long as nobody gets drunk or killed.” But even with methanol running around, the biggest danger in making and distributing the moonshine is that it’s still very much a punishable offense in most of the U.S.
- Brian keeps such an insignificant number of supplies that even the ATF hasn’t noticed them on their two trips to visit him, “They’ve been to my house twice, and they’re not the smartest people.
If you tell them they can’t come in, then you can get in trouble, so I’ve always kept ways to keep my ass covered.” Jim shakes his head at the idea of ever keeping his larger operation anywhere close to home. “Don’t never sell it where you live or let your neighbors know what you’re doing.
Just act like you’re going to work or something, and they’ll never know the difference.” His neighbors may still be out of the loop, but in the time since he’s sat down, Jim has informally brought me into the fold. He tells me that if I can make it back down, he might be able to set up a time for me to check out a still.
“You just about have to see it know it,” he says. He suggests going out to the truck in the parking lot to grab a beer. Once out there, he pulls out two Natty Lights from a cooler in the bed of his black Chevrolet and wraps one in a bright blue bandana saying, “Cops ain’t gonna think nothin’ of it now.” The culture behind moonshine is clearly about so much more than booze.
- It’s about being independent, with people you trust, and protecting each other.
- Those who can truly appreciate this world are few and far between, because the notion behind it, like the liquor, is so pure.
- It’s why there are heroes within the culture.
- Like Maggie Bailey of Harlan County, Kentucky who was charged time and time again but only convicted once.
She was known for her printed dresses and apron and taking care of the community. She sold all her life and died at 101. And then there’s Marvin “Popcorn” Sutton, who rose to folklore status in the mid-20th century. Based out of Maggie Valley, North Carolina, his operation spanned across multiple states.
- His life was made into a documentary before he was sentenced to 18 months in jail.
- With a recent cancer diagnosis and no leeway from the courts, he took his own life via carbon monoxide poisoning.
- In 2010, Sutton’s moonshine was made available for sale by J&M; Concepts LLC.
- According to The Tennessean, Sutton entrusted his recipe to the owner prior to his death.
But the recipe isn’t the point. These people are more than just production leads. They’re community figureheads and makeshift mayors. They served a purpose greater than just liquor. And speaking of the liquor, Jim pulls a jar of moonshine out that’s been sitting on ice and passes it over too.
- Still talking about the danger of getting turned in, he says that the problem is with the federal government, not the local cops.
- You know, ‘round here, everybody’s kind of smooth on the whiskey, long as nobody gets drunk or killed or goes crazy and shoots somebody.
- You know who’ll get you in trouble? Women.
Husband get drunk, get stupid, and go home? She gonna tell on him. She will, oh lord. That’s got more men in trouble than anything on this earth: makin’ a woman mad.” This whole process is a thankless one. Out of a 55 gallon drum of ingredients, you walk away with only 6 gallons of moonshine. All that corn and sugar and time becomes vapor that eventually becomes poisonous vapor made drinkable. You give a lot only to get a little: a fitting metaphor for moonshining’s rich history.
- Looking back, ‘shining always seemed to find a higher cause.
- When settlers came to the Appalachian region, they made it to have a supply of whiskey (okay, not entirely selfless).
- During prohibition, it met the demand for a market that had been shut down.
- In the 20th century, when infrastructure was growing to serve those with specialized skills in cities, rural communities were being forgotten.
The network of moonshiners was more important than ever because it served a greater purpose. As far as Brian is concerned, those days are changing. He straddles a strange line now. With the bodily exterior of a mountain man with a sprawling beard, he also wears a nice pair of sneakers and a fairly new-looking Steelers hat.
- He’s clean and well spoken.
- He adds g’s onto the end of his words.
- And in a way, you can see that he’s not fully comfortable claiming either world.
- It may not look like it, but I live in a nice neighborhood,” he says, as if his beard or his moonshine or his upbringing outside of Northeastern Tennessee would persuade someone he’s not worthy of their time.
During our conversation, he’s at his most comfortable defending the old time moonshiners and chastising a money-hungry government whose time would be better spent fighting actual crime instead of petty offenses that send people in less affluent neighborhoods to jail, crippling their chances of a future.
He took care of everybody up in that area, and it took him killin’ himself for anybody outside of it to care about him.” At other times, he withdraws, “You’re going to have more corporate places pop up. But the majority of moonshine will come from folks like me. You make it for your friends and your family and folks that you know.” But in a way, that’s a testament to the way culture has shifted.
At one point, a distiller that serviced the far reaches of his community was doing it for his friends and his family. In the most authentic sense, it’s the trickle down economics so highly regarded in circles of rich Reagan subscribers. Money siphoned to one moonshiner serving a whole community was then distributed directly back into his community—his family, if you will.
- It’s the way Bender sees Ole Smoky’s presence in East Tennessee as well.
- He explains, “Most of have moonshined in the past, and they’re steeped in that moonshine culture.
- Not just moonshine culture, but Appalachian culture.
- You know, I have guys that work for us that I need subtitles to understand what they’re saying.
They are so backwoods.” The intention feels right. The recipe is probably fine. But this “backwoods” family feels a bit disconnected from the rest of the tree, if you know what I mean. That’s the part of this shifting culture of moonshine that seems to hit Jim the hardest.
He doesn’t look like the kind of person who gets sad too often, let alone angry. But once the laws around moonshine come up, his face is a bit turned down. “That ol’ Popcorn Sutton, everybody’s heard about him. He’d pay me $200 to run. Hell, I couldn’t made that in a month workin’ my job of $8 a day. He kept everybody taken care of.
There’s a ball team—he bought their jerseys and everything. He took care of everybody up in that area, and it took him killin’ himself for anybody outside of it to care about him.” And therein lies the problem with laws like the ones around moonshine.
This chain of events is not uncommon. Once word of profit comes into play, those with influence take notice. The process starts with someone discovering a product made by an underprivileged community, commodifying it, and then releasing it to the public under the guise of originality, or in this case, honor.
But to be as transparent as the moonshine itself, be warned. If you’re buying a quart of Popcorn Sutton’s moonshine from a liquor store, his technique is not the one lingering on your lips. His craft left this world in the same Ford Fairlane he took his life in.
And the very law that killed him is the one that allows big business to benefit from his legacy. The final part of the distillation process is the purification. Once the final product has come out of the condenser, it’s standard practice to run it again. Jim completes the whole process twice. Brian runs his as many as four times and says that if you run it eight times, it might actually run a lawnmower.
At minimum, it’s going to clean your carburetor out. “People need to realize that what they’re getting isn’t necessarily the real deal. They’re getting an image of it, but it’s not the real thing.” Earlier in our conversation, when asked if he thought the moonshine currently available in liquor stores was the same, he said, “Is it technically the same? Yeah.
But the moonshine.you don’t pay taxes on it. That’s really the only thing that sets it apart.” But by the end of the chat, he circles back around, “People need to realize that what they’re getting isn’t necessarily the real deal. They’re getting an image of it, but it’s not the real thing. You’re getting a product that the government has meddled in so much that it’s not even the real thing.” Moonshine Jim isn’t nearly as vehement about the situation.
If you look into his eyes, that’s all you need to know. The change in his demeanor as we speak explains the whole reason he makes moonshine: it’s a way to operate independently from the chaos everywhere else. What Jim and Brian do isn’t a “fuck you” to the government.
- It’s not some kind of anarchist ploy.
- It’s the ability to exact your art, or your science, on your own terms.
- To make liquor and not have someone else’s nose in it.
- Moonshine should be an uncomplicated thing in a complicated world.
- But for the tradition to live on—for that “Indian corn” liquor to reach another generation, it’s got to be passed on.
That’s not to say that Jim is knocking on death’s door. He’s in his 60s, so he’s not going anywhere if the liquor has anything to say about it. But he’s the one to point out that tradition is how moonshine stays alive. “There’ll be somebody to carry it forward, cause it’s been goin’ on for at least the 1800s on. Shutterstock He’s working with a kid now in his early 20s. He says that he’ll be the next one to have the recipe, if he can keep his eyes out of his phone. That’s the only thing he worries about with this generation: they’re flighty. But he’s confident, even with some past ways of life fading away.
They don’t know nothin. You can see it in their eyes. That’s why you have to hand stuff down, from one to another. I don’t know. Moonshine is about a lost art. If you don’t get no young’uns doin’ it, it’s gonna be gone before long.” As the conversation comes to a close, that jar of moonshine is about eight sips emptier than it was when he originally pulled it out.
That’s all the moonshine two people need to seriously feel its effects. He sits the jar down next to the severed deer head from earlier that morning, caked with a bit of pink blood from where he hit it in the lungs. I don’t know what to do with my empty Natty can, so he takes it and says he’ll deal with it.
What is moonshine in Nashville?
Usually made with corn mash, it can be defined as a clear, unaged whiskey, and also goes by the names of mash liquor, white liquor, hooch, and white whiskey. Here’s where you can find moonshine in the Nashville area.
Can you buy hard alcohol in Nashville?
A. Selling Alcohol – Grocery stores, convenience stores, and gas stations may sell beer. They may do so from 8:00 a.m. to 11 p.m. every day of the week. And they may also sell wine, except on Sundays. Liquor or package stores may sell beer, wine and distilled spirits. It’s illegal to sell alcoholic beverages on January First, the Fourth of July, Thanksgiving Day, and December 25th. By default, all counties and municipalities in the state are dry. They must pass laws in order to permit the sale of alcohol.