This summer, I wrote a bit on so-called legal moonshine (link below). I wrote a number of things — some more clearly than others — but the take-home message was this: if laws permitted the manufacture of moonshine, it would cease to exist. Furthermore, dubbing legally produced spirits "moonshine" invites trouble from the get-go. Yes, of course, the public will be curious. But we're also curious about car crashes, burning houses, and train wrecks. Doesn't mean we want to get involved.
Spinning curiosity into cash requires overcoming generations of not just curiosity, but actual fear about moonshine as well. This is the stuff, after all, that supposedly makes one go blind and kills people. Marketing wholesome, tax-paid liquor as moonshine can be done successfully, but distillers and marketers who chose to try their hands at it would do well to think hard about why they'd want to do that, the makeup of their target audiences, and possible alternatives before forging ahead.
And there's the possibility that federal agents will want to arrest your ass.
Just ask Dwight Bearden, operations overseer of the Dawsonville Moonshine Distillery in Dawsonsville, Georgia. This past Friday, agents showed up on reports that moonshine was being made at the yet-to-open distillery.
I don't know whether the informant was just a spiteful prankster or simply ignorant, but the location of the distillery should've been a tip-off to the feds that they might take the complaint with a grain of salt: Dawsonville Moonshine Distillery is located smack-dab in Dawsonville's city hall.
In the end, the distillery was cleared of any moonshine selling, sampling, or production. The still is not yet complete, so, no, they weren't making any. Of course, a different business name might've prevented all that nonsense in the first place...but then this may just be PR gold. "Did I ever tell you," the story will one day go "about the time the feds almost shut us down?"
Best of luck to you, Mr. Bearden! We'll be keeping an eye on your progress.
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