Determined to find the perfect moonshine recipe, Troy began testing recipes acquired from the North Carolina State Archives and residents from Madison to McDowell counties. She is grateful to all the home distillers who have shared family secrets, and the occasional mason jar, with her. On August 18, 2010, Troy distilled the perfect white liquor, using lost Crooked Creek Corn™, smooth as silk with vanilla oak undertones. May they all be 818 days. A limited supply of the original 818 remains and will be preserved at Troy & Sons Distillery.
Lost Since 1840
Crooked Creek Corn
True mountain moonshine is made from corn, and we hunted throughout the WNC mountains for the perfect strain – and found it just a few miles from Asheville. The corn had become virtually extinct everywhere except on the McEntire Farm...believed to be lost from Eastern Tennessee since 1840. Crooked Creek Corn™ is an heirloom open-pollinated white corn that has been grown on the McEntire farm for over one hundred twenty years. Analyzed by researchers at the University of Tennessee, this "lost corn" is an unadulterated, non-genetically modified original American corn, making our moonshine a true American spirit. Each batch of Troy & Sons moonshine is made using Crooked Creek Corn™ and locally milled Southern white corn
Distillers never fail to mention the quality of their water and the importance of this water in making fine spirits. Troy & Sons is situated in the middle of the world's oldest mountains, and the water from the Blue Ridge Mountains is pristine, pure and plentiful. The abundance of hidden creeks made distilling possible, and early settlers didn't have to travel far to find free running, wild water that is naturally cold and soft. As we say in the hills, we use the water first. Think about it.
White Corn For Families,
Yellow Corn For Animals
Without a question, white Crooked Creek Corn™ was grown for the family to eat and enjoy. Even through the 1960's, yellow corn was simply grown to feed animals found on the farm. Cows, pigs, chickens, goats and sheep were fed the lesser yellow corns, while the best gourmet corn of the times was grown exclusively for the family. This delicacy crop was milled to make corn bread, flour, and grits. We're fairly certain that discerning moonshine makers would have made their personal "keeper" whiskey from white corns too. You can taste the difference. We believe in using the best quality ingredients for our family and friends, just like the McEntire's have always done. At Troy & Sons, we made the decision to make our whiskey exclusively from white corn. It doesn't just make us different, it makes our whiskey great.
McEntire Farm is a special place. It's not just the beauty of the landscape, the rich history, and the family that calls it home. There's something about the land. We experimented with batch after batch of corn, and knew we'd found something truly wonderful when we distilled with Crooked Creek Corn. Working with John McEntire, we've since contracted with other farmers to grow our special corn. Turns out that Crooked Creek Corn is kind of picky about where it's grown. Experienced farmers around NC planted our heirloom corn, but it just didn't taste the same. We came back and found farms in our mountain ridges that shared the cool nights and warm, but not too hot, days of summer, farms like the one John McEntire's family has cared for over generations. We found land that holds a special place in the hearts of those who work it. Because there really is no place like home.
Great Balls of Fire
Moonshine has a reputation of burning a path down your throat – like great balls of fire. That's the cheap stuff, made in a hurry to sell to outsiders, and sure to turn a good night into a bad idea. Old timers kept their best whiskey for themselves and this white spirit was often of remarkable quality. At Troy & Sons, we produce "Keeper" whiskey, true small batch handcrafted spirits that any credible moonshiner would drink himself.
Troy Ball, The Woman
That's right – the smoothest moonshine you'll ever taste is handcrafted by, well, a girl. Troy has been called "a Force of Nature", which is a real polite way of saying she'll fight through any obstacle to reach her goal. In 2006, Troy won a Gold Medal at the Canadian National Championship 100 - mile Endurance Race. She has distilled batch after batch of moonshine, working to get the perfect blend AND managed to wrest a permit from the TTB. The woman is not a quitter, and her dedication to excellence resulted in Troy & Sons, creators of the world's finest white whiskey.
Charlie Ball, The Man
Charlie Ball, Engineer, MBA and green developer, found his second calling when his wife Troy decided to build a distillery. The copper masterpieces at the center of the distilling process were made by German manufacturer Kothe and designed to Charlie's specifications. By the end of 2012, Troy & Sons will be distilling with their original 2000 liter still and will have a new 5000 liter still in operation, making Charlie the manager of the most advanced and latest pot stills imported to the US. The technologically advanced electronic systems allow Charlie the utmost control over each batch, yet he also depends on the same talent that distinguished the best of the early distillers. It turns out that Charlie has a 'nose'. Over hundreds of runs, Charlie realized he could actually smell the moment when the Hearts reached their peak and as he began to distinguish the notes that heralded the arrival of the Tails, he knew the exact moment to cut the run. Charlie was truly born for this! As Charlie says, "Troy has the taste, and I have the nose" and together they create the world's finest whiskey.
Marshall, Coulton & Luke, The Sons
Marshall, the oldest, is non-verbal and confined to a wheelchair. Despite his challenges, he has published two books, Kiss of God (translated into five languages) and A Good Kiss. Marshall appeared on the Oprah Winfrey Show in 1999 and 2000. Perseverance runs in this family.
Coulton, also confined to a wheelchair, with autism and non-verbal, has a wicked smile and a determined soul. Coulton refused food from an early age and was fed with an eyedropper, sometimes taking four or five hours a day. His determination to resist food was only matched by his parents' desire to sustain him. In 2006, with help from Thoughtful House, an organization co-founded by Troy and Charlie, Coulton got the help he needed to both survive and thrive. Determination runs in this family.
Luke, the youngest, is a good-looking red head with an out-going personality. Throughout the process of creating the distillery, Luke has been there, offering advice both solicited and unsolicited, and has developed a fair amount of skill with the microwave as his parents are too busy to cook – if you don't count mash. Luke is eagerly awaiting his 21st birthday so that he can enjoy the offerings of Troy & Sons. Love of life runs in this family.
Oscar Wong, The Brewer
Oscar Wong, one of America's iconic brewers, spent thirty years working as an engineer before realizing his true path lay in brewing some of the finest craft beer in the world. Founder and "majority" owner of Highland Brewing Company, Oscar and his team rolled out their first keg in 1994 and now have the capacity to brew 20,000 barrels annually. Highland beers have won awards around the world. Discussions about distilling and business led to a friendship between Troy and Charlie and Oscar and his wife, Anna. Over time, it seemed to make sense – and promised to be a lot of fun – and a partnership came together. Troy, Oscar, and Charlie were joined by Frank Moretz, Oscar's friend and Highland investor, and Troy & Sons was formed.
John McEntire, The Farmer
John McEntire is the current patriarch of Peaceful Valley Farm and the seventh generation of the family to make his home on Crooked Creek. The sweet white corn that fed (and watered) his family for generations is found in our spirits and we are proud to bring a bit of our Southern heritage to a wider audience. Life is good here. The mill on the homestead has been in operation since 1896 and is still producing the finest grits you can stick a fork in. Crooked Creek Mills also produces a number of other heirloom-mill products for discriminating chefs throughout the Southeast.