Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - 23

DREW STEVENSON

tilling began immediately after the American
Revolution, when the new U.S. government decided
to tax spirits. Though their market shrank postProhibition, moonshiners were still anxious to
d o d g e g ove r n m e n t t a xe s a n d re g u l a t i o n s .
Independent and defiant, distillers kept their kettles
hot.
Fortunately for law-abiding citizens, moonshine
can now be acquired legally. Semanticists may question if the product can still be called "moonshine,"
since it doesn't need to be created and moved under
the cover of night, but the product remains the
same.

Preserving the Mountains,
Natural History

IN 2009, TENNESSEE LOOSENED the regulations on

distilleries, and the Baker family opened Ole Smoky
in Gatlinburg the next year.
"Our families have been growing corn and making whiskey in the Smokies for over 200 years," says
founder Joe Baker in a Drinking Made Easy interview. "It is a part of our heritage, and our recipe
represents centuries of Appalachian tradition."
Ole Smoky uses locally sourced ingredients,
including hickory cane corn from Jefferson County,
Tennessee, a corn that has reputedly been growing
here for the last century. At the distillery in
Gatlinburg, visitors can tour and taste White
Lightnin' and fermented flavors, like blackberry,
apple pie, strawberry and peach.
On the other side of the mountains, Troy Ball
doesn't have moonshine running through her blood,
but she does use old-time recipes. A Texan transplant, Ball was intrigued by gifts of moonshine from
her new neighbors. When she tasted her first jar of
"the good stuff," the wheels began turning. "Here
was an opportunity to make an American white
spirit for cocktails," she recalls.
Ball's first challenge was getting someone to show
her how to make that good stuff. Her persistence
paid off when she found a willing old-timer and
"made a video of his boot" while he distilled.
One key for quality, she discovered, was to use
only the heart of the distillation, not the inferior
head or tail. "The old men knew there was this sweet
spot," she says.
Another key is a historic ingredient. Ball learned
that white corn was traditional for farm tables, while
yellow corn went to livestock. This led her to fourthgeneration farmer John McEntire, who grows white
heirloom Crooked Creek Corn, produced in the
area since the mid 1800s.
Troy & Sons products are shining, featured in
two cocktails at Disney Wilderness Lodge in Florida
and the pool bar menu at all Disney resorts.
To get a legal taste of smooth, soft Appalachian
spirits, go for Troy & Sons Platinum Moonshine at
their tasting room.

As any preservationist knows, the past is preserved by taking care of landmarks,
both natural and manmade.
Through their partnership with Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy
(SAHC) and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Asheville's Highland Brewery helps
preserve the area's natural history.
Since knowing and experiencing nature is the first step towards protecting it,
the "For Love of Beer and Mountains" partnership promotes both knowledge
and experience. The program features six seasonal beers, each named after a local
natural landmark, each with educational material on the packaging.
The sessionable Little Hump Spring Ale, for example, is named after Little Hump
Mountain (above photo), a grassy bald ridge with views of distant peaks in
Tennessee and North Carolina. SAHC began restoring this land four decades ago,
focusing on habitat management for the golden-winged warbler, a neo-tropical
migratory songbird.
As part of the program, Highland and SAHC host a hike up Little Hump
Mountain. The brewery hosts a release party in the tasting room, educating
partygoers about Little Hump and the work of the SAHC, with a portion of sales
going to the nonprofit. Staff from Highland also volunteer for workdays on the
protected properties.
"(Founder) Oscar Wong is a big community supporter," explains Drew
Stevenson, Highlands Community Outreach director, "and the mission of SAHC
was a natural fit for us. We owe who Asheville is to organizations like SAHC that
protect our mountains."
SAHC has been building healthy communities and natural habitats for 40 years.
They have protected more than 60,000 acres of land in North Carolina and
Tennessee, embracing five municipal watersheds and benefiting wildlife and
people alike.
Sugarland Cellars in Tennessee has a similar preservation program, theirs in
support of Friends of Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The Friends focus
on wildlife and natural resource protection as well as education and historic
preservation at the park. They protect black bears, elk and hemlock trees, preserve
Cades Cove and restore trails.
In support of the Friends, Sugarland Cellars creates four limited edition wines
annually with a label created by a local artist for each. Five dollars goes to the
Friends for each bottle sold. Since 2011, Sugarland has raised approximately
$30,000 to preserve the Smokies. -AT

MARCH/APRIL 2014 | 23



Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014

Cover
Table of Contents
From the Editor / Worth a Click
From the Farm
Digital Help Guide
Creature Feature
The Hike
Mountain Report
Great Home Buys in the Mountains
Festivals & Events
Country Roads
Sip the Best: Mountain Wines, Brews and Spirits
Experience North Georgia
Wild Ponies of the Grayson Highlands: The Photoessay
‘Favorite Restaurant in All The World’
Sadie, Ace Baseball Dog
Sleeping in the Museum (No, on Purpose! In a Bed!)
Mountain Garden
Cabin in the Woods: The Expansive Welcome of Primland
Guest Column
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - Intro
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - Cover1
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - Cover2
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - Table of Contents
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - 4
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - From the Editor / Worth a Click
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - From the Farm
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - 7
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - Digital Help Guide
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - Creature Feature
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - The Hike
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - 11
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - Mountain Report
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - Great Home Buys in the Mountains
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - Festivals & Events
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - 15
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - 16
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - 17
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - Country Roads
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - 19
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - Sip the Best: Mountain Wines, Brews and Spirits
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - 21
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - 22
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - 23
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - 24
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - 25
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - Experience North Georgia
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - 27
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - 28
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - 29
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - 30
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - 31
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - 32
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - 33
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - Wild Ponies of the Grayson Highlands: The Photoessay
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - 35
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - 36
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - 37
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - ‘Favorite Restaurant in All The World’
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - 39
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - 40
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - 41
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - 42
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - 43
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - Sadie, Ace Baseball Dog
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - 45
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - Sleeping in the Museum (No, on Purpose! In a Bed!)
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - 47
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - 48
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - 49
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - 50
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - 51
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - 52
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - 53
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - 54
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - 55
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - 56
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - 57
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - 58
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - 59
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - Mountain Garden
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - 61
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - Cabin in the Woods: The Expansive Welcome of Primland
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - 63
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - 64
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - 65
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - Guest Column
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - Cover3
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - Cover4
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