Moonshine is one of the oldest beverages and most widely spoken about across America. The history of moonshine, how it came to be, and its resurgence in Hocking Hills is inspiring new places to create some magic of the past with Hocking Hills moonshine sold exclusively in Logan. Find out more about mysterious moonshine and how to try it for yourself.
The history of moonshine is infamous throughout southeastern Ohio. Small batches were handcrafted by bootleggers many decades ago. The generic term ‘moonshine’ comes from the term for homemade whiskey. Bootleggers often made it in the dark of night, out of the prying eyes of officials as the moon lit up the sky. This gave it the notorious name ‘moonshine.’ Soldiers used to sneak liquor into army camps within their boots or trouser legs, thus giving it the name ‘bootleg’ alcohol. No one recipe is the same for moonshine. The mountains of Appalachia and rolling hills of Hocking Hills were made in all sorts of ways, some of which are being resurrected once again with the pop-up of new places to procure some moonshine of your own.
Gov. John Kasich signed a bill to allow for distilling moonshine whiskey. A lawful distiller requires special permits, paperwork, application fees, a federal ID number, and more. Makers must submit recipes for the state’s approval. This is not your mama’s moonshine, but it comes with a rich history and tradition that keeps it alive in Hocking Hills. A private water source in Hocking Hills includes limestone caverns that are filled with groundwater beneath a St. Clair farm which provides a rich, clean resource for the moonshine. This makes it unique to their property so that even if someone wanted to make it themselves, they wouldn’t have the exact recipe without that water source. A big change from the moonshine of yore is there is no longer methanol used to make whiskey.
Hocking Hills Moonshine
Lucky for Hocking Hills, moonshine is alive and well. Returning to its roots, St. Clair uses two 100-gallon stainless steel tanks with sixty feet of copper pipes from the top of the tanks filled with cold water. Sugar and yeast are the main ingredients along with cracked corn and mineral water. The mast is poured into a still, locked up, and heated. The mixture vaporizes as it gets hotter to force steam through copper pipes. Once it goes through, the steam heads down the pipes and hits cool water, and drips into collection barrels. Locals Brian and Eric, along with their cousin Ray, wanted to open their distillery.
When recent laws changed they got their chance. In October of 2015, they opened their business in Logan. Tours are also offered of their distillery Hocking Hills Moonshine. The original motivation was to re-create a semblance of the moonshine made over 100 years ago. The distillery also won some awards with the Denver International Spirits Competition entry winning them a bronze medal for 120 proof ‘Buckeye Lightning,’ among others. They have four flavors at 45 proof and are selling it like hot cakes. They even have some old stills used during prohibition donated by family members to see what was used back in the day. Their moonshine is sold in over 120 state liquor stores and major cities. Next up could be a restaurant and steakhouse with home-grown beef off the farm and sold alongside their moonshine. People come to Hocking Hills for adventure but also to enjoy a present-day beverage that is full of history and flavor.