Legal ’shine in Dawsonville?
Bootleggers of yesteryear wouldn’t know what to think.
But it could be a possibility if the city council approves a proposal from Lumpkin County business partners who want to build a distillery in town.
Robert Suchke and Cheryl Wood pitched the idea during the Dec. 6 council meeting. No vote was taken.
“We believe this would provide the missing piece to Dawsonville heritage,” Suchke said. “You’ve got the Moonshine Festival, you’ve got the racing hall of fame ... why not highlight tradition with a legal moonshine distillery?”
Wood said the business would require a 4,000-square-foot building and a 200-gallon copper moonshine still for production. It could create 10 local jobs.
Council stopped short of approving the plan, but suggested the partners find a site and apply for a business license.
Suchke and Wood said they hope to find a location near Thunder Road. They said free tours of the distillery could be offered throughout the day.
Under current Georgia laws, a business that makes liquor cannot sell or provide samples to the public.
“We would have to sell to a distributor,” Suchke said. “The distributor then provides it to local retail outlets under current rulings.”
Suchke added that they anticipate current state codes may soon change.
“We’re on the cutting edge of a new wave of interest in this craft,” he said.
Making liquor is a family tradition for Wood. Her grandfather was “one of the most famous moonshiners in Georgia, and we have his traditional 150-year-old recipe we want to use.”
Councilmen James Grogan and Mike Sosebee said they saw no issues with the proposal.
“I don’t have a problem with it,” Grogan said.
Sosebee echoed the remarks.
Mayor Joe Lane Cox told the partners to “proceed with it.”
Suchke and Wood said they hoped to begin construction in July.
“We want a grand opening to coincide with the annual Moonshine Festival,” Suchke said.