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Local drinkers trying legal brands

Are Fort Wayne’s good ol’ boys lining up for a swaller of moonshine?

As a matter of fact, yes – at least for the legal kind.

It’s not legal to make your own moonshine in Indiana, says Francie Lengerich, owner of the Brewers Art Supply in Fort Wayne and an avid home brewer and winemaker.

“There are people who say you can make a gallon or two for your own use, and there are probably a few who do,” she says.

“To distill at all, you need a license, and we discourage it. … . It’s not like beer where you can make a certain amount at home and be legal.”

But Rocky DiPrimio, manager of the Cap n’ Cork liquor shop in Covington Plaza, says that every week, the business sells five or six bottles of the high-proof corn-distilled moonshine made by craft distillers.

“Men are the drinkers,” he says. “I don’t think I ever remember selling it to a female.”

Cap n’ Cork, DiPrimio says, carries several kinds of moonshine: Ole Smoky Tennessee Moonshine White Lightnin’; Midnight Moon, based on the family recipe of NASCAR driver Junior Johnson; and Georgia Moon, the oldest of the bunch.

He thinks the appeal is partly the redneck outlaw legacy and partly novelty.

Many of the liquors are sold in eye-catching Mason jars and some are packed with floating fruit that contributes to the liquor’s flavor, he says.

Midnight Moon, for example, comes in plain or cherry, strawberry, blueberry, blackberry, cranberry and apple pie varieties.

The brand’s website, JuniorsMidnightMoon.com, says the original recipe – that’s the plain stuff – got Junior sent to jail once and his daddy five times.

The site also lists recipes for several hard-boiled drinks: the Moonlight Martini, Junior’s Cherry Cola and the Moonshine Mule, to name a few.

Then there’s the Chocolate Cherry Moon – with Cherry moonshine, dark crème de cacao, chocolate mole bitters and half-and-half – that suggests an entirely different drinker demographic.

Cap n’ Cork co-owner Joe Doust says he’s had the opportunity to taste a couple of craft moonshines right out of the distiller during tours of manufacturing facilities in Kentucky.

“It’s absolutely fresh and clean and wonderful,” he says of modern-day moonshine.

rsalter@jg.net

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