Memorial Day

Memorial Day

I hope everybody had a Great Memorial Day weekend; we must always remember our soldiers. With out them we would not be able to do most things we love and enjoy most. We enjoyed the weekend with good friends and great food at Kentucky Lake. I play music whenever someone will listen. We had a great time playing music and just visiting.

We are now selling the Schmidling Malt mill on our website. This is a really nice little malt grinder that is high quality and very easy to use.If you need a malt grinder this is the one you should give much consideration to. Matt will be going to a class in Breckenridge Colorado. He will be learning more about full cooked mash and blending final product. He will also be learning a lot about the legal side of opening a Micro distillery and home distilling in general. Be watching in June for his update on this class. We are pretty excited about it.

We really want to learn more about this to be in a better position to answer your questions. Matt is a great asset to me here at Hillbilly Stills. and I just want to get him better prepared to help all of you. Matt should have some great pics and updates when he get back from his class.


Hey guys, sorry its been awhile. We have been so blessed and so busy its hard to squeeze everything in sometimes. I’m in Florida right now setting up a still for Indian River State College to test different grain strains and ways to make ethanol.

Its really cool what they’re doing down here, they have an entire department dedicated to alternative energy sources,really a nice school. They have also learned that here in Florida, since they are a Class 1 (I think that’s right) Research Facility they can get a permit to teach distilling of spirits and sell them! Tax Free!!!!! So if your a professor in a college its defiantly something to investigate, the interest is definitively there. But I was wondering how you guys think it would do? Having a home distillery class in a college? Let me know.

This is totally nothing more than my curiosity of what you guys think. I mean, you cant make a good spirit without tasting it, and you are talking about a college setting, meaning kids under 21 being involved. Looks like it could possibly be a headache, the flip side though is probably classes packed with students eager to learn about moonshine stills. I think it would do very well, even if you had to be 21 to take the class. I don’t know, let me know what you think. See ya next time!!

ADI Conference 2012

Hey guys, this is Matt and this is my first ever blog, I have no clue what I’m doing so I’m going to type! We just returned from the ADI Conference in Louisville KY and I must say it was very impressive and we had a great time! We got to meet some awesome people and even some of our customers! So nice to put a face to the names of people we talk to on the phone. We were humbled, to say the least, at the interest that was expressed in our products!

We put a lot of time and pride into our work and it’s something we are very proud of, but man, we had no idea how much everyone else liked it too. We were flattered!! We listened to the people we got to talk to and have come home and got right to work on some very exciting new products. I can’t tell you about them yet, although I’m about to bust a gut too, but I hope to soon.

We have set ourselves a goal to have them ready to debut for sale at the ADI Conference 2013. I will give a hint though, it involves a larger distillation column with some added function-ability, a much larger kettle, and a brand new heating system (not electric).

Well that’s all for now but I’ll be back soon, as I am now the new blogger guy for Hillbilly Stills!

Shine on, Unaged Whiskey

Shine on, Unaged Whiskey

Over the last few years, we’ve seen an explosion in moonshine, white dog and white lightning. All euphemisms for the same thing – namely, unaged whiskey – this category started with illicit distillers taking matters into their own hands to avoid high alcohol taxes. The clandestine production and transportation didn’t allow for any waiting around, so this generally harsh spirit never saw the inside of an oak barrel.
The authentic, backwoods stuff was known to occasionally have some pretty nasty side effects, such as blindness caused by methanol. Whereas a trained distiller knows what parts of a batch – the “heart” of the distillate – make for not only safe but delicious sipping, moonshiners were sometimes inexperienced and didn’t know what shouldn’t be consumed. And in some cases, less scrupulous moonshiners would actually add methanol or other unsafe substances to up the apparent strength of their hooch.
So, all that said, why would anyone want to touch the stuff? With a reputation as dangerous, harsh, and frankly a little gross, the appeal beyond novelty might not be immediately obvious. Well, the modern stuff that’s actually sold in stores – and has, therefore, been subject to the tax man and regulatory oversight – can be utterly delicious. Made in various grain configurations, it’s most often made primarily with corn mash. When drinking a whiskey that doesn’t benefit from the mellowing effects of barrel aging, you’ll notice that the character of the grain comes through much more clearly; corn-based whiskey maintains the sweet character of the grain off the still.
In order to be labeled a whiskey, laws require that it at least see the inside of a barrel for some time, but these brief oaky flirtations don’t do much in the way of changing flavor or color. Many excellent microdistilleries are experimenting with the stuff, as it means less storage space for aging in barrels and the ability to bring their distillates to market quickly. Because so many of them are being made by young upstart distilleries interested in experimenting with the art, you’ll notice a surprising amount of variety amongst moonshines. Some that we’ve grown to particularly appreciate are High West Western Oat Whiskey, Tuthilltown Hudson New York Corn Whiskey, and Finger Lakes Distilling Company’s “Glen Thunder” – tasted side by side, you’ll notice significant differences in character, but consistent drinkability. And while moonshine is only recently finding its way into cocktail culture, you’ll find it’s a fun spirit to experiment with. Try swapping it out in recipes for bourbon or other whiskies, or use it as a more flavorful substitute in vodka drinks.
White Manhattan
This twist on an old classic is near-clear and quite delicious.
1.5 oz unaged whiskey
.5 oz Benedictine
.5 oz blanc vermouth (such as Dolin)
3 dashes orange bitters
Shake with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass
New Moonshine Distillery Opens

New Moonshine Distillery Opens

Southern U.S. distillery to legally sell moonshine

Unidentified moonshiners are pictured near Glassy Mountain Township in the Dark Corner of South Carolina, in this photograph taken in the mid-1920s and released on July 28, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Courtesy of Dean Campbell

By Harriet McLeod

CHARLESTON, South Carolina | Fri Jul 29, 2011 12:46pm EDT

(Reuters) – Two entrepreneurs are taking advantage of new micro-distillery laws in South Carolina to make moonshine whiskey legally for the first time in the southern state.

The Dark Corner Distillery will open next month in Greenville, where engineer Joe Fenten, 27, and longtime home beer brewer Richard Wenger will produce and sell small batches of 100-proof moonshine from a custom-made copper still.
The distillery, housed in a 1925 building, will also include a tasting bar and a museum dedicated to the history of the Dark Corner, the local mountains that were once full of moonshiners, feud and mayhem, Fenten told Reuters.
The area was settled, along with the nearby Smoky Mountains of Tennessee and Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, by Scots, Irish and Welsh who migrated down through the Appalachian mountain chain from Pennsylvania in the 1700s.
“They thought it was their inalienable, God-given right to make whiskey,” said Fenten, a Dark Corner native. “It was a hard life. If you could make an extra 10 cents more for a gallon of whiskey than you could for a bushel of corn, then why not?”
Moonshine traditionally was the term used to describe illegally distilled corn whiskey often made covertly by the light of the moon. The product made at the new distillery will be un-aged corn whiskey, but will be taxed and regulated.
The area came to be called the Dark Corner in 1832 by South Carolina politicians seeking to nullify federal law and who cursed the people of the mountains as Unionists, said Dean Campbell, a Dark Corner native who is the distillery’s official historian.
Whiskey taxes after the Civil War and then Prohibition in the 20th century made the place more lawless, Campbell said.
News accounts in the 1920s called the Dark Corner “a little Chicago” because of federal agents’ raids on stills, killings, and gun and knife fights that broke out after church, he said.
Illegal moonshine is still being made there, Campbell said. In June, sheriff’s deputies busted a still in Landrum, South Carolina, and confiscated 2,000 gallons of illegal white liquor along with $150,000 in cash.
State lawmakers in 2009 altered existing liquor laws in a way that lessened the financial burden on small distilleries, paving the way for the Dark Corner Distillery to set up shop.
Despite the drink’s reputation, legal moonshine makers also have popped up in other states, including Oregon, Wisconsin, Montana, Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia, New York and North Carolina.
(Editing by Colleen Jenkins and Cynthia Johnston)

Kentucky Bourbon Festival

Kentucky Bourbon Festival

Bardstown prepares to party: 20th anniversary of the Kentucky Bourbon Festival September 13-18, 2011

Barrel racing is one of 39 events that will take place during the Kentucky Bourbon Festival’s 20th anniversary celebration.
Photo: Bardstown-Nelson County Tourist & Convention Commission
BARDSTOWN, KY – AUGUST 2011 – The Kentucky Bourbon Festival celebrates its 20th anniversary, September 13 to 18, in historic Bardstown – the Bourbon Capital of the World – and invites you to come celebrate the Spirit of Kentucky. Thirty-nine events are planned, including two new ones: “Half Pint of Whiskey History with a Shot of Humor,” hosted by noted historian Dixie Hibbs at Wickland Home of Three Governors; and “Any Way She Likes It,” a private bourbon tasting just for the girls (although significant others are welcome) hosted by former Master Bourbon Taster Peggy Noe Stevens and the Bourbon Women.
” With the rapid growth of the new Bourbon Women’s association, it seemed like a natural fit,” says Noe Stevens. “I plan to have great fun teaching women about bourbon and taking them on a deep sensory dive into distinguishing flavors.”
Don’t miss events
With signature Kentucky warmth and hospitality, the five-day festival celebrates “America’s Official Native Spirit.” Highlights include the Kentucky Bourbon All-Star Sampler™ with an opportunity to meet the master distiller’s of the bourbon industry; Mixed Drink Challenge™ competition to create the next world-class bourbon cocktail; Boots and Bourbon™ country event; the Culinary Arts, Bourbon Style Cooking School™; Bourbon, Cigars and Jazz™;
and the black-tie Great Kentucky Bourbon Tasting and Gala™.
Roll out the barrels
Family-friendly fun includes the Balloon Glow, which kicks off the festival on Tues., Sept. 13 and, on Fri., Sept. 16, the Whiskey City Cruisers Car Show, touring the Oscar Getz Museum of Whiskey History, including displays featuring Abraham Lincoln, and the World Championship Barrel Relay. On Sun., Sept. 18, enjoy hands-on activities at the Family Fun Area and the music of the Bourbon Idle contest on the lawn of Spalding Hall.
Rounding out festival fun: music by the Kentucky Headhunters (Saturday), The Spirit Garden™, Let’s Talk Bourbon™, a golf tournament, poker run and a Kentucky Bourbon Breakfast at Spalding Hall on Sunday.
Kentucky Bourbon Festival 20th Anniversary
Festival website:  
DateTues., Aug. 13-Sun., Aug. 18. Opens 7:30 p.m., Tues. with Balloon Glow. Concludes Sun., 5 p.m.
Place: Bardstown, various locations, including Spalding Hall
Cost: Varies by event.
Note: Kentucky Bourbon Festival offers a “Safe Ride Home” program Wed.-Sun.
Dawn Przystal800-638-4877 x 114
Linda Harrison, 800-638-4877 x 109