For backwoods booze without the kick, try White Mule Distillery in Purdy, Missouri.
Master distiller Joe "Fred" Owens has created a product with a finish so smooth, you'll be surprised it's moonshine. Owner Gary Grantham starts visitors in the smokehouse, where corn mash is smoked over local hickory, before moving into the distillery, which sources water from an on-site spring. Tours finish in the cozy tasting room, where patrons can sip the distillery's main line, Mountain Maid, named for the infamous Barry County clairvoyant Jean Wallace.
White Mule Distillery sits on 25 rolling acres in the rural Ozarks; Grantham lives in the log cabin next to the tasting room and fetches ice from the family kitchen when the bar runs low. All the grain used for mash is sourced from area farmers, and White Mule donates 10 percent of its profits to rural schools. The company's ultimate goals are to create a quality grain-to-glass experience that supports local agriculture, creates jobs and promotes regional tourism.
Story and photography by Rose Hansen. This article appears courtesy of Feast Magazine. Feast Magazine is dedicated to broadening the conversation about food and engaging a large, hungry audience of food lovers.