Harvest Moon

When filming wrapped on “Fish Bait: The Movie,” the cast and crew celebrated with a toast. Our wine glasses contained a small amount of “apple pie.” The potent potable packed a punch while pleasing the palate profoundly.

Ole Smoky Moonshine Distillery - photo by Deacon Patrick Murphy-Racey Over the past year, I have boasted to friends and family outside Tennessee about the unusual elixir. Recently, a relative asked if I could bring some with me on a road-trip up north. I didn’t think it was a good idea until a press release arrived in my email on Tuesday and solved my problem. As of July 2, I can buy legal moonshine at Ole Smoky Distillery in Gatlinburg. Not only can I get some apple pie, but my wife might want to try sweet tea moonshine. When we had house guests last year, I was sent on a mission to find a bottle of sweet tea vodka for them.

Ole Smoky Moonshine Distillery - photo by Deacon Patrick Murphy-Racey The press release came with a link to several photos taken by Deacon Patrick Murphy-Racey. I found it amusing because I normally associate his name with photos of events around the Diocese of Knoxville. I have chosen three of his pictures to include here.

Ole Smoky Moonshine Distillery - photo by Deacon Patrick Murphy-Racey The photos show a gift shop complete with t-shirts, drinking glasses and “water” bottles. The exterior shot makes me think that “Ole Smoky Holler” must be between Lineberger’s Seafood Company and the Hollywood Wax Museum. I wrote about both the restaurant and the museum in 2007.

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GATLINBURG, TENNESSEE – Tennessee Moonshine will be available legally for the first time when Ole Smoky Distillery opens for business in Ole Smoky Holler at 903 Parkway in downtown Gatlinburg. The distillery will have a grand opening celebration on Friday, July 2 and will offer free tours, free samples of moonshine to adults over 21, and moonshine for sale.
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Ole Smoky will offer a number of moonshine products: original unaged corn whiskey moonshine, apple pie moonshine, sweet tea moonshine, and peach moonshine. Moonshine cherries will be available for purchase during the holiday season. The Ole Smoky recipes are the product of the hard work and experience of local families who have made moonshine in the mountains for over a century. Dave Pickerell, who served as the Master Distiller for Maker’s Mark for over 15 years, assisted with the refinement of the recipes in order to ensure a superior mountain- made moonshine.
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A highlight of the facility is the authentic working moonshine still where visitors will learn the science of the distilling process as well as the history and lore of moonshining in East Tennessee. Ole Smoky is the only distillery in the state dedicated to moonshine products. Proprietors Joe Baker, Tony Breeden and Cory Cottongim place a particular emphasis on celebrating their mountain heritage as well as the historical significance of the moonshine craft in sustaining families during hard economic times of the early 20th century.
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“Moonshine played an integral role in the daily lives of families in this region,” said Baker. “Too often, people rely on the stereotype of a backwards old man making a cheap, dangerous product. In truth, a lot of good people made and sold moonshine in order to feed and clothe their families.”
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Ole Smoky is the first federally licensed distillery in the history of East Tennessee, and is currently one of only four distilleries operating in the state. Jack Daniels and George Dickel received their licenses before Prohibition, and Prichards Rum opened their Tennessee facility in 1999.

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