Located in the heart of Anderson, South Carolina is Palmetto Distillery. Although this micro-distillery seems unassuming from the outside, the spirits that are being crafted here have received a plethora of national awards. From the signature White Lightening to Apple Pie Moonshine, there’s something for everyone at this Southern distillery, which holds the distinction of being the South Carolina Whiskey Distillery of the Year, as voted by the New York International Spirits Competition.
Trey and Bryan Boggs are two brothers and entrepreneurs from Anderson who are both dedicated business men and of course, spirit connoisseurs. Palmetto Distillery is a labor of love for the two brothers who were inspired by their Southern heritage to create Palmetto Distillery.
Palmetto Distillery’s history is rooted deep in the heritage of the Boggs family. Dock Boggs, a relative of Trey and Bryan was born in 1898. According to Palmetto Distillery, Dock was the youngest of ten children and began playing folk music in the early 1900s, and later became recognized by the Smithsonian for his musical contributions to the genre. While Dock was trying to break out with his music career he began working as a coal miner and this grueling work only paid $0.07 per hour. He quickly realized that he needed to find another way to earn money so he began making and running “bootleg.” Dock serves as Trey and Bryan’s inspiration to reignite their family tradition of bringing great tasting, high quality spirits to the masses.
Swig editor and contributor Kristen Baughman recently had the pleasure to visit Palmetto Distillery on a recent road trip through South Carolina. After winding through a few country roads, you’ll enter the small downtown of Anderson. Entrepreneurs have begun to revitalize the town and Palmetto Distillery takes pride in being one of these businesses. The distillery is housed in a historic building that is 13,000 square feet and set to grow with the demand. The century-old brick warehouse has been home to many other businesses like Anderson Armored Car (later bought by Wells Fargo), a Greyhound Lines bus depot and one of the first taxi cab companies for Anderson. You definitely need to visit the distillery to fully appreciate the history behind the building.
After making your way through the distillery and taking a brief tour to view the still, sampling is the best part. We ponied up to the bar and listened to our bartender tell us all about Palmetto Distillery’s spirits. We were slightly distracted by our bartender’s overalls and incredible long grey beard but we did manage to learn a few fun facts about Palmetto Distillery.
The distillery’s Palmetto Moonshine is South Carolina’s first legal moonshine. This “White Lightening” is determined to preserve the rebellious spirit and traditions of the Southern moonshine culture. Palmetto Moonshine is an un-aged corn whiskey made from a recipe handed down from generations of moonshiners, and this spirit is produced at Palmetto Distillery using a custom copper still that was built by a 5th generation moonshiner.
If you’re into flavored moonshines, Palmetto Distillery offers quite the variety including peach, strawberry, apple pie and blackberry. All of their products have a “Certified SC Grown” label, meaning that the product is locally produced. Our bartender also mentioned that the distillery uses local fruit juices in their moonshines. The stand out flavor for fall is definitely the apple pie moonshine, which our bartender mentioned goes well when poured over a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
Below is a recipe from Palmetto Distillery using the Apple Pie Moonshine that will surely get you into the fall spirit.
Recipe adapted from Palmetto Distillery
1 Part Palmetto Moonshine White Lightning
3 Parts Palmetto Apple Pie Moonshine
1 Part Cranberry Juice
Mix all ingredients, serve over ice. Garnish with apple wedge.
Aside from moonshine, Palmetto Distillery also produces their Palmetto Whiskey, which is South Carolina’s most awarded craft whiskey. This spirit is 21% rye matured in new French oak to achieve unparalleled taste and quality. The whiskey has an amber hue with notes of caramel and vanilla, and the smooth, lingering smoky finish keeps you coming back for just one more sip.
Below is a recipe for Palmetto Distillery’s Apple Pumpkin Spice cocktail using Palmetto Whiskey.
Apple Pumpkin Spice
Recipe adapted from Palmetto Distillery
1.5 oz Palmetto Whiskey
1.5 oz Spiced Apple Cider
2 tbsp Pumpkin Puree
1tsp Maple Syrup
1 dash Cinnamon
Cinnamon stick for garnish
Mix all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake until chilled. Strain and pour into a cocktail glass, garnish with cinnamon stick.