While it’s over the state border, Knoxville’s Metro Pulse details the history of moonshine and its new, legal incarnation. Asheville’s also seen the rise of local distilleries over the past few years, and had its own role in the “Thunder Road” lore of yesteryear (most of the scenes of the 1958 Robert Mitchum movie were filmed in the area), and the article provides some more context to legal moonshine’s return
From the Metro Pulse
At the heart of the rustically appointed Davy Crockett’s Tennessee Whiskey in Gatlinburg are five 400-gallon wood-slat tubs—four fermenters and a mash cooker—the massive implements employed in producing both its standard whiskey products and the newest addition to its line: Davy Crockett’s Tennessee Moonshine. … It might seem odd discussing the finer points of making moonshine in such a setting, when many folks would say that liquor legally distilled in the light of day—in the middle of downtown Gatlinburg, no less—is not truly moonshine at all.
But the fact is, so-called “legal moonshine” is trending. The reasons are manifold, but the phenomenon seems to have really taken wing around 2009-10, when many states, cash-strapped by a poor national economy, sought new revenue sources by loosening laws on the distillation of spirits.
Tennessee was one of those states. Whereas distilling had formerly been legal in only a few counties (Moore County, the home of Lynchburg’s Jack Daniels facility, was one of the notable exceptions), it became newly legal in dozens of other counties as well….