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Carolina Moon Distillery Opens for Business

web posted December 19, 2013

EDGEFIELD The Carolina Moon Distillery in Edgefield held a "soft opening" on Saturday and sold the first jars of their legal "Moonshine" and a Grand Opening is planned after the first of the year. "We sold a lot of alcohol Saturday," Co-owner Cal Bowie said. The true to form corn whiskey is produced in the back of the retail store on the south side of the town square, one jar at the time. The 750 ml mason jars sold at retail are just over 3/4 of a quart each.

Bowie and David Long (below) are the brew masters, or more aptly put - moon shiners, and with the current custom built 70 gallon still they can produce around nine gallons of 80 proof moonshine per run. "We're trying to get two runs a week," Bowie said making production close to 20 gallons a week or nearly 1000 gallons a year.

Asked how the idea for the distillery came about, Long and Bowie said it actually came from a bet. "You know that's the wrong thing to do around here," Bowie said with a smile. "You don't loose a bet."

The operation, though small at the present time, is planned to expand and include additional lines and flavors. "We're looking at making rum and a 100 proof line," Bowie said. "The 100 proof is more for the connoisseur, so we'll see how that sells." Other flavors, such as cherry and other varieties are also planned.

Each variety has to have the blend approved by the federal government in order for it to be labeled and sold, said Bill Hatch, Bowie and Long's cousin who is a partner in the business.

All of the ingredients in the mash, with the exception of sugar, is locally grown. "We want to support the local community as much as possible," Bowie said.

Bowie said the still operates at different levels during the brewing process. It will start producing about 140 proof whiskey and they stop brewing when the content reaches 60%. Then the different brewing levels are combined to produce the 80 proof final product. "We cut it (the brew)," Bowie said. "You mix 140 (proof) with 60, and, well, you do the math."  

At the time, the retail store will be open on Saturdays and during special events in the town. "I'd like to say we'd be open on Wednesdays, but I don't want to commit to that right now," Bowie said.

As sales and production increases, they hope to move into the wholesale market as well.

In addition to the distillery, there is a gift shop that features Carolina Moon products and gifts as well as local Edgefield pottery.

Their website can be found here at http://www.carolinamoondistillery.com/home.html and also on FaceBook.

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