The owner of the Dawsonville Moonshine Distillery received the news she has been patiently waiting nearly two years for: You are legal.
On Friday, July 20, the State of Georgia signed the final paperwork for the distillery to begin production.
We just now have the green light, so we have to test the equipment, get the ingredients in and then we can start production, said Wood.
Anyone who knows anything about moonshine production knows putting the cap on top of the boiler is a critical step. According to Wood, that happened on Monday and testing is about to begin with production slated for August.
For Wood, the term production means that the still will be running, but she knows there are steps that must be taken before the distillation process begins.
You have to ferment everything and prepare the ingredients before you can even run them. We couldnt order the ingredients until we had final approval from the state, said Wood.
Wood also said she cannot offer tastings of the spirits until she receives final approval from the state. This approval is separate from the production approval she has already received.
This is new in Georgia, she said. There arent any real state regulations for tastings yet because no one else has tried to do it.
Dawsonville Mayor, James Grogan, said everyone has been waiting more than a year to get the project operational.
Im tickled to death to be honest, he said. Theres a lot of enthusiasm about the distillery, and we look forward to increased tourism throughout the city and especially to our Georgia Racing Hall of Fame. Its going to benefit downtown Dawsonville and the entire county.
Wood anticipates having tastings available as early as October 2012.
We really hope we will be able to offer tastings in time for Moonshine Festival, she said. However, it all depends on how fast the state approves it.
In the meantime, Wood encourages visitors to come see how moonshine is produced, legally.
You can come in and see us making it through the windows and we can teach visitors about the process.
The Dawsonville Moonshine Distillery is the first of its kind in the state. It is the only distillery that will allow public viewing of manufacturing the spirits.
Wood also said she is talking with several distributors and plans to have the product available in local liquor stores as early as late August 2012. We cant retail sell it, she said. We are only permitted to wholesale it, so we must sell it to a distributor, and they can sell it to the liquor stores. Wood is eager to begin production and feels she is finally seeing her dream evolve. This is so exciting for me and Dawson County, said added. The City of Dawsonville stood behind me and was so supportive of it. They saw how beneficial this is to our countys history. Wood believes there isnt a better location for the distillery. Dawsonville is the Moonshine Capitol, and stock car racing began through moonshining. What better place then right in the center of Dawsonville with the Georgia Racing Hall of Fame? Talk about history.