The Spirits Are Alive In Burke County This October

Burke County, NC

South Mountain Distillery curates the best kind of spirits, based on generations of practice here in Burke County.  Don Smith, a 4th generation moonshiner, opened the distillery in 2016 after years of operating other businesses, as a way to embrace his roots.  He wanted to make traditional moonshine, sticking to his family’s recipes, and to teach people all about the history of bootlegging in the South Mountain area of Western North Carolina. This grew into a large-scale operation in their Connelly Springs Distillery and retail shop, where he now sells 10+ different spirits, each with their own distinct flavor.  Many have been made with the help of other moonshiners, such as JB Rader, who was a good friend and protegé of the late Popcorn Sutton, a moonshine legend; as well as Crazy Chuck and Kelly who are on the Discovery Channel television series Moonshiners and the Country singer Colt Ford.  These collaborations have helped put South Mountain Distilling on the map but Don will still make sure you taste his family’s Sinister Shine and Table Rock Rum.  He loves to tell visitors about his grandfather’s run-ins with prohibitionists and the hidden stills across the countryside once operated by poor farmers trying to support their family by running liquor.  These stories give his work meaning, which is fueled by a desire to preserve Appalachian culture and keep the dead alive through stories and the liquid they once risked their lives to produce.  

South Mountain Distillery is featured in many ABC stores across the southeast, visit their website at to see where to purchase their spirits or to arrange a visit at their distillery in Connelly Springs.

For more on spirits in Burke County, call (888) 462-2921, or go online to:

– Katherine Christie

The Burke County Tourism Development Authority is located in Morganton, North Carolina, and serves the tourism interests of Burke County, NC.  Morganton is hailed as, “The Trailhead of Western North Carolina”, centrally located in Burke County. Our Visitor’s Center is full of information about unique attractions and activities in the area. Stop by and visit us! or visit

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