Sugarlands Distilling Company begins nationwide of moonshine

Published: Jul. 22, 2014 at 3:28 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

The East Tennessee-based Sugarlands Distilling Company has made quite a splash since arriving on the moonshine scene.

The company has only been open a few months, but has already received numerous awards from some of the spirit industry’s most prestigious competitions.

Sugarlands Distilling Company opened its doors to the public in March 2014 and is currently rolling out its seven varieties of moonshine across the Southeast, with plans to be in every state by mid-2015.

The company's distribution strategy is being supported through a partnership with TAG USA, well-known for helping brands like Tito’s Vodka and Patron Tequila go national.

When it comes to the craft of moonshine distilling, Sugarlands Distilling Company boasts a deeply-rooted, authentic approach.

“This historic part of the country gave rise to the genesis of moonshine distilling and sharing that message is core to who we are as a brand,” said Ned Vickers, owner of Sugarlands Distilling Company, “Sharing our region’s history with the masses is an indispensable part of what we do through our people and our products.”

The distillery’s 100-proof product offerings include the company’s signature shine – Silver Cloud – a traditional, clear moonshine with smooth, mellow hints of sweet corn that tastes just like the Prohibition-era sour mash moonshines; and Jim Tom’s Signature Unaged Rye, the “legal” version of TV personality and master moonshiner Jim Tom Hedrick.

“We have been receiving a lot of positive feedback on Silver Cloud,” said Greg Eidam, head distiller for Sugarlands Distilling Company. “We knew we had created something special, and it’s rewarding to hear such great things about the exceptional taste of our shine. Of course, we’re also thrilled that it was just awarded ‘Best in Class Platinum’ at this year’s International SIP Awards.”

The five additional varieties of award-winning moonshine include: Appalachian Apple Pie, Blockader’s Blackberry, Butterscotch Gold, Old Fashioned Lemonade and Southern Sweet Tea.

Butterscotch Gold has quickly become a favorite among the company’s devoted following.

“This particular shine boasts a creamy caramel and butter flavor that smells like brown sugar and kettle corn from the county fair,” said Eidam. “The high demand for Butterscotch Gold has been incredible. It’s by far one of our top sellers.”

Already this year, Butterscotch Gold has garnered the “Platinum” honor from the 2014 Spirits International Prestige (SIP) Awards in the flavored moonshine category, as well as the “Bronze” award from the ” 2014 Los Angeles International Spirits Competition in the Whiskey/Whisky, Flavored Whiskey/Whisky, Bourbon category.

"Our mantra is that there are 'Stories in Every Jar' of authentic Sugarlands Shine. We encourage our customers to sip our shine while slowing down and truly enjoying the company of their family and friends – that’s what it’s all about," said Brent Thompson, director of strategy for Sugarlands Distilling Company. "Our focus has always been –and will continue to be – about crafting superior-tasting moonshine and that the great stories will follow. Our distillery is nestled in the Great Smoky Mountains, so for us, it's all about the complete moonshine experience."

Sugarlands Distilling Company makes its moonshine by first grinding grains like corn and rye in an artisanal stone mill, into meal that is then mixed with pure Smoky Mountain water. From there, some varieties are moved to a giant cooker, and then transferred to a fermenter to simmer for a few days. Each batch of shine is distilled a total of six times, ensuring high quality and unmatched flavor.

“Our moonshine recipes truly hearken to the days of Prohibition,” said Vickers. “Just one sip can you back generations. People tell us all the time how our product tastes the way moonshine is supposed to taste.”

For those interested in using moonshine to make a cocktail, Sugarlands Distilling Company has come up with several varieties of moonshine cocktails, each with instructional videos posted to their website. The most popular moonshine cocktails using Sugarlands Shine include versions of margaritas, mint juleps and spritzers.

In addition to the moonshine on the shelves, customers who visit Sugarlands Distilling Company can try multiple shine flavors at the distillery’s “Sippin’ Posts,” as well as shopping for branded clothing, novelty items and other merchandise. Sugarlands Distilling Company operates out of a 10,000 square-foot barn house, made from four seasoned East Tennessee barns and houses salvaged and repurposed to create a wooden patchwork of color and age.

More information about Sugarlands Distilling Company, its story, and videos of how to make moonshine cocktails can be found at