Your groups have had wine tastings, beer tastings, whisky tastings, rum tastings and then some. But are they ready for a moonshine tasting?
As the recent film Lawless demonstrated, the history of white lightning manufacture in the South is long and revered. Now, several hospitality operators in the Southeast U.S. believe that lightning's time has come. Even if they don't partake, groups convening in Tennessee, South Carolina, Georgia and Virginia might be interested in this fascinating bootlegger lore.
Start with Knoxville, where groups can experience the "White Lightning Trail," which includes the route traversed by reckless moonshine runners (NASCAR had nothing on them) and the tongue-in-cheek original "Mountain Dew" soda plant.
At Georgia's Ritz-Carlton Lodge, Reynolds Plantation, a moonshine tasting can include the reminiscences of Bubba Lee Boykin, a sixth-generation moonshiner whose "field tested" knowledge of lightning provides an amusing background to samplings of the brew.
Thanks to recent changes in laws regarding the production of spirits, distilleries offering "old family recipes" can now operate in the open. Distillery tours and tastings can be done at Ole Smoky Moonshine in Gatlinburg, TN; or Palmetto Moonshine in Anderson, SC; and Greenville's Dark Corner Distillery (also in South Carolina).
Photo: Ole Smoky Distillery