It was once just that lethal liquor your weird backhills cousin passed around at family reunions, but moonshine has been going legit in recent years. The mason jars helped, but so did apples. "It's our number one selling moonshine for Midnight Moon," says Joe Michalek, the founder of Piedmont Distillers. He's talking specifically about his apple pie flavor, which is one you'll find across most moonshine brands. "It’s bigger than my largest competitor’s entire line," he continues. "Our line of what I would call craft moonshines was based off traditional moonshine flavors, and apple pie has been a flavor that’s been around for, well you want to say decades, but it's more than decades."
John Cochran, CEO of Ole Smoky Moonshine, is also seeing incredible success with his company's two apple pie varieties. "At our distilleries, apple pie is usually number one and number two every day," he says. "And now we distribute in all 50 states, and apple pie is our number one in the country."
Although both men stressed that apple pie is a traditional moonshine flavor, they do think it's helped ease skeptical consumers into the moonshine category. "Moonshine is more approachable than people think it’s going to be and that’s because most people made it out in the hills, and they were making stuff that wasn’t so tasty," says Cochran. "The lower-proof or even high-proof moonshines that are flavored and named with something familiar, yeah, sure, it’s a nice entryway to the category. Apple pie is cliche for a reason. People love apple pie."