During the prohibition years, visitors to Blue Ridge, Georgia, were hard-pressed to find a good bottle of ‘shine…legally, that is. Moonshine was made in secret up in the mountains, with the process – and its talented makers – hidden from law enforcement. Jack “Mimm” McClure was one of the early moonshiners in the area in the ‘50s and ‘60s (check out Grandaddy Mimm’s Distilling Co. for his passed-down recipes), as were many others whose legacies live on in today’s legal moonshine distilleries in North Georgia.
Dawsonville, Georgia, calls itself “The Moonshine Capital of the World,” and over the years, the area has distilled spirits of all kinds…everything from apples to corn to peaches to create brandy, whiskey, moonshine, and other alcoholic beverages that have boosted the local economy. Moonshine has long been considered a taste of the mountains in the South, and the distilleries that stand today showcase why moonshine production is such an integral part of the area’s history.
While producing moonshine wasn’t initially illegal, it was the avoidance of paying taxes on the liquor – imposed by the IRS during the Civil War – that got producers into trouble. Those who would not pay taxes and would not shut down ran their illegal stills at night, thus earning the nickname “moonshiners.”
Today, legal moonshine distilleries operate in and around Blue Ridge, Georgia, offering tastings, tours, a glimpse back in time, and mason jars of that “taste of the mountains” guests can take back to their Blue Ridge cabins to enjoy! Read on for some great local distilleries to visit on your next North Georgia vacation for a true taste of the Appalachian Mountains.
109 East Morris Street
Dalton, Georgia 30720
Located in historic downtown Dalton, Georgia, Dalton Distillery brings a 100+ year-old family recipe to moonshine fans. Raymond’s Reserve is their traditional family recipe, but they offer more – including the only Sunflower Spirit in the world, TazaRay, which is made from corn and malted sunflower seeds. They also now offer 5-times-distilled vodka called Responsibly Vodka.
Dawsonville Moonshine Distillery
415 HWY 53 E
Dawsonville, GA 30534
A small-batch, handcraft moonshine distillery in beautiful North Georgia, Dawsonville Moonshine Distillery focuses on quality moonshine and a family atmosphere. Visit the distillery to learn more about the distilling and fermentation process, enjoy a moonshine tasting, or find some local ‘shine to take back to your North Georgia cabin for a laid-back evening in the mountains.
The distillery boasts an unconventional location, too: in the same building as City Hall and the Georgia Racing Hall of Fame! They feature recipes that are more than 150 years old, passed down from generation to generation, and a moonshine line by Motorsports Hall of Fame Inductee and 16-time NASCAR Most Popular Driver, Bill Elliott.
Flavors to Try:
- Georgia Corn Whiskey
- Georgia Mountain Apple Pie
- Georgia Apple Brandy
- White Lightning
Grandaddy Mimm’s Distilling Co.
112 Wellborn St
Blairsville, GA 30512
Focused on quality, Grandaddy Mimm’s Distilling Co., located in the heart of Blairsville, Georgia, offers handcrafted, small-batch moonshine and vodka – always made in-house. They’re happy to help customers find the perfect flavor moonshine or spirit, give mixed drink recommendations, and provide tours!
Flavors to Try:
- Blackberry Moonshine
- Citrus Owltown Vodka
- Original Owltown Vodka
- Fresh Peach Cobbler Moonshine
- Mule Kickin’ Moonshine
- Authentic Corn Recipe Moonshine
- Apple Brown Betty Moonshine
- Wild Cherry Cobbler Moonshine
- Raspberry Guava Vodka
Lazy Guy Distillery
2950 Moon Station Road
Conveniently located in the heart of downtown Kennesaw, Georgia, Lazy Guy Distillery is set in 2 historic buildings that made it through the Whiskey Rebellion of the late 1700s and the Prohibition Era of the 1920s. Now they boast small-batch spirits – and offer some great mixed drinks options.
Flavors to Try:
- Embers GA Straight Bourbon
- Side Track Bourbon
- 5th Article 1887 Rye Whiskey
- Snow Cream
- Atlanta Gin
- Kennesaw Lightning
Clayton’s Moonrise Distillery likes to do things the old-fashioned way…the 1850s way. It may take longer, but craft moonshine is their focus to keep quality at the forefront. They taste-test throughout the process, finding out when the moonshine tastes just right. From finding the right barrel to ensuring the science is just right, Moonrise stays on top of each step of the process. They even use a sustainable recycling model to keep waste – and prices – down.
Moonrise Distillery has made a name for themselves, too, boasting more than 17 awards for their full line of products. Awards include: Gold medals at the Global Spirit Awards, the Great American International Spirits Competition, and the Micro Liquor Spirit Awards; a top 25 Rye Whiskey in the US in 2019, and more.
You can try their vodka, artisan gin, Georgia Bourbon Snow Cream, bourbon whiskey, rye whiskey, mountain and cognac-style brandy, barbecue sauce, pickles, jam and jellies, ice cream, and bottled margarita, Bloody Mary, rye whiskey tea, and bourbon lemonade.
North Georgia Still Company
103 Yahoola Trce
Dahlonega, GA 30533
With a mission like “To build the best still available on the commercial market, and back it up with a company whose service is second to none,” it’s no wonder North Georgia Still Company brings in top reviews. The family-run company offers home moonshine stills, including customizable options, distilling accessories, barrels, and more. Plus, they are dedicated to helping their customers best use their products to ensure they create the best home moonshine possible!
R.M. Rose and Company Distillers
890 Franklin St
Dillard, Georgia 30537
R.M. Rose Distillers holds the distinction of Oldest Registered Distillery in Georgia, bringing moonshine to sippers for more than 150 years. Part of their legacy, George Sudderth, was inducted into the National Moonshine Hall of Fame in 2016 – so history is certainly an important part of this local moonshine company! They claim the best water in Georgia – paired with a copper pot still and the best corn – is their secret to success!