The Appalachian mountains of North Carolina have been home to the legacy of moonshine has risen and fallen alternately throughout history as the legality of spirits changed, but the long heritage of the long imbibed quasi-legal cousin of rum and whiskey has helped define the region for generations.
“I think a lot of it was just out of necessity and for survival,” said Randy Berry, co-owner of Marion’s Copper Creek Distillery in an interview with ABC13 “You’ve got a house full of kids, you’re going to try to feed them. They don’t make no difference from growing hogs or making liquor.”
According to reports, Copper Creek Distillery ran their 100th batch of moonshine right around Christmas. The Shufords, Berry, and Greg who co-own Copper Creek told the outlet that their distillery is the first (legal one anyway) in a four or five-country radius since prohibition decimated the industry over a century ago. In the last few decades, moonshine has seen a renaissance as laws relaxed and the craft became legalized in many states.
“I know a lot of people that makes moonshine,” Berry said, “But I don’t know many people that’s got licensed like we have on the wall and got their product on the shelf.”
The Copper Creek Moonshine Story
There’s a saying in more rural areas that when a skill or trait is naturally acquired through family or through labor that someone ‘Came by it honestly’ and based upon the stories going around, it would appear this applies to the distillation skills of Mr. Berry Shuford. Berry gained knowledge in his craft the old-fashioned way, from the older residents of Yancey County where he grew up who were willing to share their wisdom with him. From that base of local knowledge, he began by making homemade wine and cider and over fifteen years grew to be a skilled master distiller.
“There’s a process that we do to half of the grains, half the corn, that we really, really don’t want to put on TV, It’s kind of our secret,” Shuford explained.
The Moonshine On The Shelf: The Ultimate Legacy
According to Copper Creek Distillery, they presently offer five different flavors of the smooth moonshine.
“Our three premier products are an unflavored 90 proof IL-LIC-IT Shine, an 80 proof Grape Shine, and an 80 proof Apple Shine. We recently added our 100 proof IL-LIC-IT Gold Shine, and our hugely popular 60 proof Apple Pie Shine.”
And like any good hosts, they offer some fantastic serving suggestions like these three:
Hot Apple Shiner (For The Apple Pie Shine)
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup water
3 cups apple cider
1 cup (8 oz) Apple Pie Shine
Combine heavy cream and brown sugar in a saucepan and bring to a boil on medium heat. Stir in cider, water, and moonshine. Heat on medium until it begins to steam. Serve hot.
Moonshine Smash (For Their Grape Shine)
1/4 lime, cut into 2 wedges
5 mint leaves
8 raspberries or blackberries
1 1/2 oz. grape shine
1/2 oz. maple or simple syrup
Place the lime, mint leaves, and berries in cocktail shaker. Muddle them 4 to 5 times. Add the moonshine, syrup, and 4 ice cubes. Shake until cold, then pour everything into a glass (do not strain). Serve with crushed ice.
Shiny Toddy (For IL-LIC-IT Gold)
6 oz very hot water
1 1/2 oz whiskey
2 tsps honey
2 tsps of lemon juice
Mix all ingredients in a your favorite mug and garnish with a cinnamon stick.
We can’t wait to try it!