2017-09-06 / News

Distillery expanding to Myrtle Beach, Lexington

By SAM ADAMS


Kentucky Mist Moonshine’s Colin Fultz stands behind the counter at the distillery’s Whitesburg operation as he discusses plans to expand the firm’s brand to storefronts in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina and Lexington, Ky. Kentucky Mist Moonshine’s Colin Fultz stands behind the counter at the distillery’s Whitesburg operation as he discusses plans to expand the firm’s brand to storefronts in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina and Lexington, Ky. The only legal distillery ever in Whitesburg is about to branch out to Lexington and Myrtle Beach.

And Kentucky Mist Moonshine has already branched out from just moonshine to three premium vodkas that are getting noticed at national tastings.

Kentucky Mist owner Colin Fultz said the company has worked out letters of intent to open “branding stores” at The Summit at Fritz Farm on Nicholasville Road in Lexington, which also includes a Whole Foods, Brooks Brothers, and Ted’s Montana Grill, and at Broadway at the Beach in Myrtle Beach, a shopping and entertainment area that includes a Hard Rock CafĂ©, Wonderworks, and Ripley’s Aquarium.

Fultz said the new locations are a way to avoid the headaches involved with distributing to liquor stores, where the product has to be priced higher, and has to compete with dozens of different brands on the same shelf.

“South Carolina seems really good, because we don’t even have to have a distributor,” Fultz said.

Instead, the company will open a gift shop and tasting bar designed to look like the distillery in Whitesburg. The liquors will still be made here, and then shipped there, where they will be bottled and labeled for sale in that store.

“Our goal is still going to be to draw people to Whitesburg to see how it’s made,” Fultz said.

The process will be similar for the Lexington store. The bulk of the work will be done in Whitesburg, with the store being more of a gift shop than an actual distillery.

“They’ll have a tasting bar like this, and it’ll be something similar to this,” Fultz said, waving his hand toward the natural wood and exposed brick of the 1925 car dealership building where the Whitesburg distillery is located.

Like the alcohol, the materials for the store are locally sourced as much as possible. The bare wood was purchased as rough lumber from a company in London that resells rough lumber from Pine Mountain Lumber in Whitesburg, and other companies. It was planed in Letcher County, and local craftsmen – including Fultz’s father – did all of the construction.

Fultz and his employees hand make the liquors using all local ingredients, and a recipe handed down from his grandfather, Henry Holbrook, who was a moonshiner, bootlegger, and turnkey at the jail. He was sent to prison for moonshining during prohibition.

The newest addition to the line is KVok, a vodka brand that includes three distinct types of vodka.

Vodka has traditionally been colorless, odorless and flavorless, but KVok is a little different. Vodka can be made from almost anything. It is commonly made from sorghum, wheat, corn, rice, rye or wheat, but sometimes potatoes, fruit or plain sugar are used for the mash. While regular KVok is made from corn, there is also a cranberry-infused version, and a super premium barreled vodka called Whitesburg 1902.

Aged in used oak bourbon barrels, Whitesburg 1902 is named in honor of his grandfather, who was born in 1902. Both that version and the cranberry vodka received gold medals at the SIP Awards in California this year. Corn Mist, the traditional corn whiskey made by Kentucky Mist, earned a gold medal from FiftyBest.com.

Recently, Fultz was making a mash for a run of bourbon. He has several different batches in the works to try to find a recipe that suits him. But don’t look for Kentucky Mist Bourbon anytime soon. Bourbon must be aged for four years, but Fultz said aging in a oneliter barrel for 8 months is equivalent to four years for taste testing.

“I don’t know that we’ll ever make bourbon, because I want to make something nobody else is making,” he said.

The moonshine qualifies, because he uses real fruit instead of flavorings or juices, and he does the entire process in-house, from making the mash and distilling, to infusing the fruit, filtering, bottling and labeling.

“I think the problem with the moonshine is a lot of places in Tennessee will buy their alcohol and flavor it,” he said. “Nobody does what we do here – distilling it and infusing it with real fruit.”

Kentucky Mist opened a web site in mid-August and can now sell online in 18 states from Maine to California and from Washington to Florida.

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