News 12 First at Five / Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2014
EDGEFIELD, S.C. (WRDW) -- In the shadow of the courthouse, next to a building that once was the Baptist Association, Cal Bowie is making moonshine.
"Judge Robert Devore, in 1925, said that in Prohibition days, 'Edgefield liquor was mean enough to make a rabbit spit in a bull dog's face,' and we're trying to hold onto that lore here at Carolina Moon Distillery,” says Bowie, who started to venture along with his business partners.
But the still along with the dozens of mason jars full of moonshine are perfectly legal.
"The General Assembly passed a law about five or six years ago that allowed micro-distilleries in the state to actually take place, and we jumped on board with that, and all the red tape and government hoops we jumped through,” says Bowie.
In just days, this shop on the Edgefield Town Square will open its doors to the public.
"But it seems like nationwide that the lore of moonshine is really coming back into effect,” he says.
Bowie says unlike bourbon or rum, his drink of choice doesn't have to age in a barrel.
"There were plenty of batches of liquor that didn't work out just right before we figured this thing out,” says Bowie.
Eight gallons of his ‘White Lightning’ is ready in only about four hours.
Bowie says Edgefield has welcomed him with open arms. He says there's been no opposition to having a distillery downtown. In fact, he says his business will help preserve the area's history and show off its pottery too.
"I guess it goes back to everybody's family history in Prohibition days. That was a real money-maker, and families depended on it years ago,” he says.
Moonshine is a growing industry in South Carolina. Right now, Bowie just offers 30-dollar jars of plain 80 proof and samples of some sweeter stuff until he can get the proper paperwork to sell full jars of that too.
"We have an Apple Pie, we have a Bloody Mary, we have a Margarita, and a Moontini is what we're calling it,” says Bowie.
The distillery's grand opening is this Friday from 5 PM to 7 PM. Their normal business hours will be every Saturday from 11 AM to 5 PM, but Bowie says that could change if he's successful.
Bowie and his partners also plan to eventually make bourbon and rum. He hopes to someday license his moonshine to local bars, restaurants, and liquor stores.