Environmental Leadership Center
Warren Wilson College
Campus Box 6323
P.O. Box 9000
Asheville, NC 28815-9000
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By Indira Marisa Srinath
You won't find the moonshine of Troy and Sons Distillery concealed in the trunks of cars roaring down narrow, winding Appalachian roads. This is not the work of bootleggers and rum runners or the days of bathtub gin and speakeasies. Troy and Sons distillery ensures that every barrel that flaunts their “t” and “s” insignia is sustainable, delicious, and, of course, 100% legal.
But how, exactly, do Troy and Sons manage to do all of this legally? Troy Ball says, “Technically, moonshine is an illegally made spirit, so my moonshine is made in the tradition of the spirit makers of western North Carolina. We are produced in a legal distillery, so we have the freedom to replicate this traditional practice.” In fact, Troy and Sons own the first distillery permitted in Western North Carolina since the days of undercover moonshine distilling. They run six distillations a week in their 2000 liter copper still and have partnered with the founder of the Highland Brewing Company, straying from what would traditionally be an underground process, to a full-fledged, legitimate spirit making business.
Not only are they a legal distillery, but they have a strong commitment to sustainability. To create their moonshine in the true Appalachian fashion, Ball had to look no further than the mountains that surrounded her Asheville home. Here, she found the perfect strain of corn for her moonshine, a corn called Crooked Creek Corn, one of the few corns that is originally American. Troy and Sons distillery is the only distillery in the world using this type of corn. Ball said “From my first distillation I used Crooked Creek Corn in all test batches. Now we grow our own crops and pray for rain!” Just as imperative to the moonshine as the corn, is the water used in the distilling process and, once again, Troy and Sons demands only the purest water to buoy their local corn. They use the crystalline, free-flowing water that trickles its way out of the Blue Ridge Mountains and into their still, creating sustainable, local, traditional Appalachian moonshine. In fact, Ball's moonshine is made in exactly the same style as mountain moonshine makers taught her. Says Ball, “The ingredients and procedures are the same. We even fabricated stills in the same way as in the early days. Now we use a sophisticated still so that we can produce in larger quantities.” Ball tested recipe after recipe from the North Carolina State Archives in order to achieve the perfect, traditional Appalachian Moonshine.
Troy adjoins her moonshine with other sustainable and local foods, best epitomized by their signature Farmers Market Tour featuring organic and local dishes straight from the Asheville farming community. Troy and Sons offer locality and legality. They don’t distill the throat burning, headache inducing, possibly lethal moonshine of the early Appalachian moonshiners. Their pledge to sustainability includes a promise to make the best moonshine possible. Troy and Sons make it as clear as the white whiskey undulating in the copper towers of their still, that the days of clandestine moonshine distilling by the golden illumination of the Appalachian moon are long gone—at least in their distillery.
For more information on Troy and Sons Distillery visit www.troyandsons.com