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Moonshine and its ‘Kin’ Now Part of South Carolina Tourism Scene

Bob Gillespie Bob Gillespie
Bob is a former sports writer at Columbia’s The State newspaper. He enjoys golf at South Carolina’s 350-plus courses, and after a round, sampling craft beers from the Palmetto State’s breweries.
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The distilleries of the South Carolina Satisfy Your Thirst Tour
South Carolina moonshine is a treasured tradition from the mountains to the sea.

Moonshine has always been made in South Carolina, but it wasn't until 2009 that stills could come out of the backwoods and into the forefront of a new and long-awaited industry and tourist attraction. That's when South Carolina lawmakers unanimously passed the state's microdistillery law, heralding a new age of distillers who combine family recipes, traditional ingredients and local flavors to create a new generation of South Carolina spirits.

By 2011, The New York Times reported on Greenville's Dark Corner Distillery, whose operation was "according to Reuters ... the first time moonshine will be legally produced in the state."

Since the law went into effect, nearly two dozen small distilling operations across the state have come into being, producing spirits that trace their roots to backwoods men who drove fast cars filled with illegal, locally produced alcohol along back roads, all to quench customers' thirsts.

Today, these distilleries produce an array of products, from bourbon, vodka, gin, rum and other traditional spirits to a modern version of "white lightning"-corn-based moonshine. Much like its cousin, craft brewing, South Carolina's distillery industry is growing as locals and visitors discover new ways to enjoy an evening cocktail.

Here's a look at South Carolina's microdistilleries and the spirits they offer.

Upstate Distilleries

Chattooga Belle Farm Distillery/Moonrise Distillery, Long Creek

Hours: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday (distillery in Clayton, Ga.)

Products: Block & Tackle Corn-Based Whiskey, patriotic-themed bourbon, Oconee Bell Fruit Brandies, Apple A Gin

Palmetto Distillery, Anderson

Hours: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Wednesday, 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Thursday-Saturday

Products: Palmetto Moonshine (peach, apple pie, blueberry and strawberry flavors), White Lightning moonshine (105 proof), Palmetto Whiskey, Bootlegger Proof moonshine (130 proof)

Red Bordner Distillery, Boiling Springs

Hours: 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday-Saturday

Products: Red Bordner's South Carolina Blue Agave Silver and Gold, Single Malt Whiskey, Single and Gold Rum, Kick Back Cove Moonshine (11 flavors)

Rock Bottom Distillers, Gaffney

Hours: 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday-Saturday

Products: Heirloom Moonshine, Appalachian White Oak Char, Apple Pie Moonshine, Fruited Moonshine (strawberry, peach, muscadine, pineapple and blueberry)

Six & Twenty Distillery, Piedmont

Hours: noon-6:20 p.m. Monday-Saturday

Products: Six and Twenty Old Money whiskey, Heirloom Rye vodka, Six and Twenty Five Grain Bourbon, Carolina Cream bourbon cream

Sugar Tit Distillery, Reidville

Hours: 10 a.m.-7 p.m. , Monday-Saturday

Products: Simply Naked 100 Proof Clear Corn Whiskey, Whiskey Boy Clear Corn Moonshine (80 proof), Bootleg 120 (120 proof), moonshine in apple pie, pineapple, blueberry, butterscotch and Plum Crazy (plum and raspberry) flavors (80 proof), winner of American Distillers Institution gold medal for moonshine and bronze medal for overall products (whiskey, bourbon, scotch, etc.)


Carolina Moon Distillery in Edgefield ages its May Lady Aged Rum in charred peach wood from local orchards.

Midlands Distilleries

Carolina Moon Distillery, Edgefield

Hours: 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday

Products: Ol' 19Moonshine (80 proof corn whiskey), Rabbit Spit Moonshine Whiskey (116 proof), Ole Tom Whiskey, Black Betty Whiskey, Tally Ho Bourbon, Blockade Runner Rum, Ten G's Vodka. Also: cherry, peach and blackberry Fruit Shines

Hollow Creek Distillery, Leesville

Hours: 1-7 p.m. Thursday, 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Friday and Saturday

Products: Whiskey (90 proof), Hollow Creek Moonshine (90 proof), Apple Pie Moonshine (70 proof), Honey Moonshine (70 proof), Salted Caramel Moonshine (60 proof), Peach Moonshine (60 proof), Watermelon Moonshine (45 proof), Cinnamon Moonshine (80 proof), Hellfire Moonshine made with Carolina Reaper peppers (90 proof)

Straw Hat Distillery, Florence

Hours: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday

Products: Straw Hat Moonshine Corn Whiskey, Lemon Drop Moonshine, Sweet Tea Moonshine, Barrel-Aged Rum, Silver Rum, Red Raspberry Moonshine, Blackberry Moonshine, Apple Pie Moonshine, Limoncello

South Carolina’s first micro-distillery, Striped Pig Distillery is a must-try for the spirits-loving crowd.

Coastal Distilleries

Charleston Distilling Co., Johns Island

Hours: 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday and Tuesday, Thursday-Saturday (Opening April 2020)

Products: Vesey's Straight Bourbon Whiskey, Calhoun's Straight Rye Whiskey, Carolina Reaper Pepper Flavored Vodka, King Charles Vodka, Calhoun's Rye Whiskey, Jasper's Bourbon Barrel Gin, Jasper's American-Style Gin, Tolerance Whiskey Liqueur

High Wire Distilling Co., Charleston

Hours: 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday

Products: Hat Trick Extraordinarily Fine Botanical Gin, Hat Trick Barrel Rested Gin, New Southern Revival Brand Sorghum Whiskey, New Southern Revival Brand Bourbon Whiskey, Bourbon Whiskey (Madeira Finish), Hometown Vodka, Jimmy Red Corn Bourbon

Daufuskie Island Rum Co., Daufuskie Island

Hours: 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday

Products: Silver Edition, Spiced Edition, Gold Edition, Vanilla, Fuskie Fire, Gold Reserve and Kona rums, Hair of the Dog Vodka

Firefly Distillery, Wadmalaw Island

Hours: 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday

Products: Sweet Tea and Skinny Tea Vodka, White Lightning, Apple Pie, Caramel, Cherry, Peach, Strawberry, Blackberry and Ruby Red Moonshine, Southern Lemonade, Sweet Tea Whiskey, Bourbon Ball Whiskey, Straight Vodka, Ruby Red Grapefruit Vodka, Sea Island Rum (gold, spiced, java), liqueurs (banana pudding, coconut cake, chocolate pecan pie)

Lucky Duck Distillery, Yemassee

Hours: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday

Products: White Lightning moonshine, Peanut Butter Cup vodka, Sunset Margarita vodka, Chocolate Royale vodka, Java Joe coffee-flavored vodka

Striped Pig Distillery, North Charleston

Hours: 3-7 p.m. Thursday and Friday, noon-5 p.m. Saturday

Products: Striped Spiced Rum, Striped Gin, Striped Rum, Striped Vodka

Bob Gillespie
Bob is a former sports writer at Columbia’s The State newspaper. He enjoys golf at South Carolina’s 350-plus courses, and after a round, sampling craft beers from the Palmetto State’s breweries.