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The Ups and Downs of Moonshine

Ole Smoky display

September 4, 2015 – When you put “mainstream” next to “moonshine”, the renegade spirit loses some of its cachet.  However, since most of us can’t access a local moonshiner but would like to experience white whiskey, mainstream is the way to go.  It is also safer.  No risk of ingesting antifreeze, lead and methanol, all of which are hazardous to one’s health.

The word in the industry via Shanken News Daily which keeps tabs on things like this, is that moonshine’s rapid growth is slowing down somewhat to the point where some big players are exiting or suspending their efforts in this category.  Jim Beam’s Jacob’s Ghost is one brand that is heading south apparently.  On the other hand, Bacardi is enthusiastic about their Tennessee white corn whiskey, Bonnie Rose, which debuted in July.  We featured it under Hot New Products and indications are they are ready to roll it out nationally.

Ole Smoky MoonshineThen there’s Ole Smoky.  It’s going gangbusters and the company is concentrating on building its presence in restaurants and bars.  Ole Smoky’s packaging is irresistible.  Who doesn’t want to add a 750 ml mason jar full of hooch to the bar, especially one filled with drunken maraschino cherries?

Gatlin-T-Wolf-Group-feat-525x300The good ol’ boys at Ole Smoky are no country bumpkins.  They are clever, creative marketers involving the brand with music and motorcycles – they’re the official moonshine of Harley Davidson.  And now, in hot pursuit of millennials, their latest campaign launched last month, features Gatlin T. Wolf III, a dapperly dressed, confident wolf that is the very essence of the modern drinking man.  According to a press release, “We all have a wolf inside of us that we want to let out, and Ole Smoky Moonshine’s Gatlin T. Wolf III will do just that.”

So what makes moonshine a different whiskey experience?  It is typically made from corn mash but not aged in oak barrels so it is white or clear like vodka and gin.  It is also very high alcohol or proof so it can pack a wallop.  It can be drunk straight or over ice, which usually transforms it magically to something quite smooth.  With the popularity of the cocktail culture, moonshine has a new role and Ole Smoky’s website has recipes