Got a taste for the hooch and the ear of Steve Schwarzman or Hank Kravis? Head on down south and get in on the ground floor! Maybe throw some overalls over your 3-piece suit so you're taken seriously.
Backed by private equity, the business of running moonshine has emerged from the backwoods into the world of wine-style tastings, co-branding with celebrities and products including moonshine-soaked peaches and scented candles. A “Moonshine Murders” dinner theater is a hot attraction. Since Tennessee relaxed its liquor laws in 2009, about 10 distilleries have cropped up here in Sevier County, which draws millions of visitors annually to the lush mountains and the Dollywood amusement park. Flavors include blueberry muffin, piña colada, pumpkin pie and eggnog...Ole Smoky paved the way for a moonshine turf war when it opened in 2010, the first distillery in the area under the relaxed laws. Mr. Baker said the company’s moonshine recipe is a mashup of several used by his family over generations. The distillery has been expanding at a dizzying pace, thanks in part to investment from private-equity firm Centerview Capital in 2013. Ole Smoky opened a Pigeon Forge location and recently bought out neighboring distillery Davy Crockett’s Tennessee Whiskey.