Moonshine. The word conjures up old time images of the Deep South backwoods; a dilapidated shack in the blue bayou, a bubbling copper still filled with corn whiskey and someone somewhere picking spooky banjo tunes. These days if you’re traveling in the south, and are on the hunt for some local brew, you don’t need to head out to the closest hillbilly hangout. Moonshine has gone legit.
Rock Town Distillery in Little Rock Arkansas has taken corn whiskey into the 21st century, using a state-of-the-art distillation process to make a superior quality spirit that’s clean and so very smooth. Rock Town opened its doors in 2010, becoming first legal distillery in Arkansas since Prohibition. In the few short years of operation the distillery has won numerous awards for their crafted liquor. Their success is owed to what Phil Brandon, Rock Town’s owner, says is “moonshine made right”.
Technically moonshine is the name for illegal whiskey, and Rock Town Distillery, being legal and all, calls their corn whiskey Arkansas Lightening. The Distillery also makes vodka, bourbon, a mean gin (Double Gold winner), and my personal favorite, Apple Pie Lightening, a yummy taste combination of apple and cinnamon with a wicked, eye opening kick of moonshine. Rock Town’s award winning products can be found in stores throughout the states of Arkansas, Oklahoma, Illinois, Missouri, Mississippi, Tennessee, Georgia and Florida.
Distillery Tour and Bottling Party
Recently I spent an afternoon touring the distillery and got to participate in one of Phil’s fun ‘bottling parties’. Bottling parties are a great way to meet the team and experience one of the more exciting stages of the distillery process up close and personal.
We poured carefully, determined not to spill a precious drop, the crystal clear and very potent Arkansas Lightening from Rock Town’s shiny copper still, corked, labelled and packed each bottle. What a great experience! I can now boast that I’ve had a hand in making some sweet southern moonshine.
If you’d like to join in on the bottling fun, you can. Just add your name to Rock Town’s bottling email list, and the first ten volunteers to respond to their weekly email blasts will get to bottle to their heart’s content. The Distillery supplies pizza, cocktails and fun.
Rock Town also offers tours of their distillery throughout the week:
Wednesday through Friday at 4 p.m.
Saturday and Sunday at 1:30 and 3 p.m.
No reservations required.
Admission is $7 for adults and free for children, and tours also include a tasting of all the distillery’s products for those 21 and older.
Rock Town Distillery is located at 1216 E. Sixth St. in downtown Little Rock. The tasting room is open from 1–5 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday. For more information, call (501) 907-5244.