Moonshining is very much a part of the local culture in Southern and Appalachian communities. If you spend any time down in those areas, you’re likely to run into one or two people who will sell you some of the local specialty. Now stores are starting to sell the stuff, but it’s not exactly the real deal.
The AP reports that the popularity of Discovery’s “Moonshiners” have pushed small and large liquor makers alike into producing legal “moonshine” for stores. The newest brand is Climax Moonshine – made by Moonshiners’ star Tim Smith. His moonshine is distilled from corn, rye and barley malt, and comes in natural, grape and peach flavors.
Smith isn’t the only one making legal moonshine though. Over the last few years, local and big name distillers alike have started to bring moonshine-like liquor to stores across the country. The explosion in popularity can be somewhat tied to the TV series, but others simply just like the idea of buying liquor that was illegal for so many years.
Interestingly enough, Smith says that the illegal trade of Moonshine is still booming even after the introduction of legal variants. He even claims that it’s hard to keep up with demand. He might even have more trouble meeting demand now that he’s producing both legal and illegal moonshine.
Still, Smith says that there’s something special about his moonshine that nobody can replicate. He says that big distilleries jumping on the moonshine wagon understand how to make the chemical composition that makes up moonshine, but they don’t really understand how to make it.
It could simply be marketing talk as Smith readies to launch his own brand, but he may have a point. There’s a reason why you don’t buy non-Kentucky made bourbons. Distilleries outside of the state always miss that little extra something that makes Kentucky made bourbon so special. The same could go for moonshine – only those who have actually made a living off of illegal moonshine can really understand what goes into making it.
If you want to see what goes behind making Moonshine, check out this video from the Discovery: