I wish I had a great story about my great-great-grandfather having this great recipe for making ‘shine, but I don’t. I do, however, have stories of what happened when they drank good moonshine from some really good ‘shiners around this area, but I can’t tell ’em—MaMa said “NO!”
I will say my family has enjoyed and appreciated good ‘shine, bourbon, and whiskey as far back as I can remember, and that appreciation has been passed down to me.
Red Barn Likker started with me buying a 10-gallon still online, putting it together, and researching recipes from older ‘shiners. I figured this was going to be retirement likker and had two 53-gallon barrels to age it in.
Joey Cann, my right-hand man, told me it was some of the best likker he ever drank, so that got me thinkin’. Soon there was a little bit to sample in my office at JES and for all the company reps that came to call on us; the response was remarkable. One of my reps was a”‘shine connoisseur” out of Robbinsville, North Carolina, and knew others. Long story short: boys in North Carolina, Georgia, and Tennessee got a taste and were asked to score it on a scale of 0 to 10. All reviews came back 8 to 8.5, and one old boy said it was a 9 in the middle of the jar.
Now this made me ask who made the 10 in his opinion, and I was told that it hadn’t been found yet, but he was still lookin’.
The building we have on the square in Abbeville was built in 1856, and has served as a dry goods store, a Western Auto, and a couple of restaurants. We have given the building a facelift and it is now very proud to be Red Barn Likker, a South Carolina craft distillery.
The one thing that makes our ‘shine so SMOOOTH is the water we use to make it. I haul water from the farm that has been in our family since the 1930s. The underground spring has some of the best water I have ever drank, and making ‘shine with it is well worth the effort of the haul.
A special thanks to my wife Vivian for letting me chase this last dream.