Making a moonshine run used to involve an illicit late-night drive on the Carolina back roads while carrying a cargo of homemade corn whiskey. But these days, Myrtle Beach visitors and guests at The Breakers Resort can simply and legally take a short ride to Palmetto Distillery on the south side of town and openly taste and purchase some of the state's finest shine.
Moonshine, once considered forbidden fruit (or fermented corn) to consumers, has gone mainstream in recent years following changes in state liquor laws that have allowed illegal whiskey-makers to come out of the shadows and into the spotlight. The explosion of legal moonshine has been particularly prominent in the Carolinas, once considered hot spots for white lightning.
Such is the case for Palmetto Distillery, which opened the first legal moonshine operation in South Carolina and launched its location in Myrtle Beach in 2014. Founded by the Boggs family in the Upstate of South Carolina in Anderson, the company was inspired by changes in state liquor laws and the family recipe of Dock Boggs, a turn-of-the-20th century coal miner and musician who distilled homemade shine to help make ends meet.
Dock Boggs never imagined a day when his pride and joy would be sold legally over the counter. That was the work of his great grandsons, brothers Trey and Bryan Boggs, who started the first “legal” family operation in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains near Dock's old homestead in Anderson in 2011. The original recipe may have changed to meet legal requirements, but the Boggs' family heritage has been preserved in every jar of moonshine, whiskey and other concoctions.
In 2014, Palmetto Distillery opted to expand operations into the ultimate mainstream destination of Myrtle Beach, where the masses visiting from all over the world would be able to sample some of South Carolina's finest. Located on South Kings Highway near The Market Common and Myrtle Beach State Park, Palmetto Distillery has become a bit of a tourist attraction in its own right.
Offering tastings, tours and exhibits paying homage to the history and culture of moonshine, Palmetto Distillery gives visitors a sampling of moonshine in more ways than one. Patrons can try Palmetto Distillery's line of flavored shines and spirits, and visitors over the legal drinking age of 21 can purchase a few Mason jars to enjoy at home and share with others. Be sure to snap some photos of the whiskey-making process to remember your trip in case the moonshine goes to your head.
Among the most popular purchases in the package sales department is the Boggs' family-recipe White Lightning, which has been reduced to 105 proof (52.5 percent alcohol) from the 200 proof (100 percent alcohol) original version. Aged in oak barrels to produce that distinct smoky flavor, Palmetto Distillery's long line of shines includes the traditional corn, rye and wheat varieties. They also offer other flavored moonshines, like the popular Apple Pie, Peach, Strawberry and Blackberry.
Not only are the Mason jars tasty on the inside, but the outsides are decorated with the South Carolina state flag's palmetto and crescent to serve as a keepsake of your visit. Souvenirs are also sold in the company store, and free tours are available during regular hours of operations — 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday. For more information, visit www.palmettomoonshine.com.
Guests at The Breakers Resort can bring back some of Palmetto Distillery’s finest to their room to enjoy throughout their Myrtle Beach vacations. Sip some on your private oceanfront balcony for a nightcap, and take home a few jars home as gifts for friends. It’s just one more way to enjoy your stay at The Breakers Resort, Myrtle Beach.