The legacy of moonshine, also known as “white lightning” or “hooch,” is as old as the South itself. The home-distilled liquor started in the Appalachian Mountains and was banned for its lack of regulation in alcohol content. When moonshiners started altering their car engines to outrun the police, this led to the creation of stock car racing and eventually NASCAR. Today moonshine has received a resurgence in popularity due to the show Moonshiners and new, legal varieties of the potent drink.
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Dawsonville Moonshine Distillery is one such company that used old family recipes to produce a legal version of their moonshine. Owner Cheryl Wood is a ninth-generation moonshiner whose recipe has been passed down from her grandfather Simmie Free. She employed Dwight “Punch” Bearden, a lifelong moonshiner, whose run-in with the feds at age 17 gave him his notable nickname.
A bottle of the Georgia Corn Whiskey will set you back $25. Moonshine is not, however, for the faint of heart. You can’t relate it to any other type of liquor. It’s smooth with a slow burn, so definitely don’t sniff it too deeply before you sip it! It will have you choking and gagging instead of savoring.
Tours of the facility are free and include tastings of their Georgia Corn Whiskey. This is currently their only product, but they are planning to expand to peach, strawberry, lemonade and apple pie flavors in the future.
If You Go
Dawsonville Moonshine Distillery is located at 415 Highway 53 E, Suite 120, Dawsonville, Georgia 30534. It is located one hour from Atlanta, not far from Amicalola Falls. If you’re coming from Atlanta, take Georgia 400 north towards Buckhead/Cumming. Continue on Georgia 400 N/US-19 until you turn left onto Georgia 53 west. The distillery will be on your right in the complex that contains the local government and stock car racing museum.
The distillery is open Monday through Saturday from 10 am to 4 pm and on Sundays from 12 to 4 pm. Purchase a tasting package through Groupon for the best deals.