The craft liquor movement continues to grow unabated, and the latest liquor to hit our shelves is a proudly South African moonshine. Winning 5 medals at the 2017 Michelangelo International Wine and Spirits Awards, the first of its kind Silver Creek Craft Distillery is rolling out a range of the moonshines, which have been handcrafted in small batches.
“The flavoured whiskey category grew by 40% in the US in 2016. It remains one of the fastest growing segments in the market and, as they say, when America sneezes, the rest of the world catches the cold. As with craft beer and gin, we believe moonshine could be the next big thang in South Africa!” says Silver Creek Craft Distillery founder and chief distiller Mark Taverner.
The range of six moonshines is led by the flagship Clear Shine, a smooth spirit that’s diluted to 50% alcohol volume and kept pure without any oak barrel maturation. Charred Shine, also 50%, is flavoured with oak barrel essence and is similar in flavour to a good Bourbon.
Silver Creek Craft Distillery also produces four Southern Moonshine Flavoured ‘Shines (24% ABV), flavoured with genuine American flavours made exclusively for the distillery in the American state of Louisville, Kentucky.
This fun foursome includes Apple Pie Moonshine, Bon Fire Moonshine, with a zip of hot cinnamon; Salted Caramel Moonshine; and, Chocolate Moonshine – a combo of dark chocolate and black coffee in a shot.
“Distilled in the traditional way, moonshine got its name during America’s Prohibition era when fiercely independent distillers could only ply their art under the cover of darkness, by the light of the moon,” says Taverner. “It made for a rough and dangerous spirit with a reputation to match; it was the time of Al Capone and speakeasies.
“These days however, moonshine is not illegal if it is produced by a licensed distillery that adheres to government stipulations. Today’s moonshine maintains the devil-may-care allure of its shadowy past, but is entirely safe to drink, and yes, even delicious,” Taverner says.
Tucked away in an old mine building in Gauteng’s Randfontein, the state-of-the-art Silver Creek Craft Distillery does everything by hand – from mashing and fermentation to distillation and bottling. This process allows for extra special care, which is why every bottle is signed by the distiller.
“We model our moonshine after the traditional Bourbon whiskey mash bill or recipe that comprises of 51% yellow and white corn, to which we add crushed wheat and malted barley. All our grain is locally sourced,” he says.
“The process we use to make our moonshine produces a far smoother spirit than its Appalachian Mountain predecessors, where the spirit was born. Silver Creek Moonshine is triple distilled.” Their crop of Flavoured ‘Shines is made to the same exacting standards.
“Once we have made the original moonshine in the distillery we add demineralised water, sugars and specially made flavours imported directly from the American state of Kentucky, which is generally regarded as the spiritual home of the moonshine tradition.”
For more information, visit the Silver Creek Distillery website.