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The Hocking Hills region has long been known for its moonshine. Once illegally produced in the hills by bootleggers, now the infamous drink is being made legally in the heart of Logan.
Hocking Hills Moonshine is a relatively young company that uses old time techniques to make a timeless drink. “If you think Moonshine is supposed to taste bad and burn all the way down, you’ve never had good moonshine,” exclaimed Brian St. Clair, who co-owns the business with his brother Eric and cousin Ray.
Brian gave VCNB a tour of the distillery and retail store in Logan, providing a combination history lesson and chemistry class. He demonstrated how their award winning moonshine is made, starting with a recipe of cracked corn, sugar, yeast, syrup and fresh water from the family farm.
It’s the water and the small batch production that give their product the sweet, smooth flavor that has made it increasingly popular. Brian indicated that it’s the local water that helped the nearby town New Straitsville claim the title Moonshine Capital of the World back during the Prohibition years.
Brian actually got to meet and learn from some of the old timers who perfected the craft when he started out as a volunteer at the New Straitsville Moonshine Festival in the eighties. “The Moonshine Festival Committee needed volunteers. The festival had a permit to make moonshine whiskey for display purposes only and they needed help,” Brian explained. “I learned from Prohibition era old timers who did it for years,” he said, explaining that until 2010, it was illegal to produce Moonshine in Ohio.
In 2015, Brian, Eric and Ray opened their business and have worked constantly to improve their product and grow the business. Today, their bestseller is 120 proof Buckeye Lightening. They also offer 45 Proof Granny Apple, 45 Proof Blackberry, 45 Proof Peach and 90 Proof. Efforts are underway to offer additional flavors.
Ohio law limits sales to state liquor stores in Ohio and their products are currently available in over 200 stores across the state. Their product can also be purchased in their store. When you visit, allow a little extra time to take a free tour of the facility and to look around. Both the tour and store are family friendly. Speaking of family, the business is a family run affair with help from Ray’s mom Cheryl as well as Brian and Eric’s sister Tammy.
The store features some locally made items as well as Hocking Hills Moonshine shirts and other merchandise. They also have a load of interesting antiques to look at and photograph. One wall is actually constructed of wood siding and a door from a nineteenth century grain bin from the family farm. Brian said that he, Eric and Ray used it as a club house when they were kids and that it seemed appropriate to incorporate into the décor.
They even have a backdrop, complete with antiques, that is perfect for group pictures. An old pot, antique farm implements, milk cans and even a coal miner’s bucket are among the unique items on display. Visitors can also see the awards they brought home from the Denver Spirits International Competition. Over three hundred competitors were judged and their Buckeye Lightening took the Bronze Medal while their 90 Proof brought home the Silver. Earlier this month, the business was recognized as the Hocking Hills Chamber of Commerce’s New Business of the Year.
If you can’t make it in to their Logan location, look for them at some events in 2017 including a bike rally in Ironton and the Sam Jam bluegrass festival in Pike County. Follow them on Facebook to learn about new products and to keep up with new locations where their moonshine is sold.
Hocking Hills Moonshine is located at 519 E Front Street in Logan. Call them at 740. 603.4483 or check out their website.