Franklin County in Virginia’s Blue Ridge has long held a reputation as the Moonshine Capital of the World.
The county boasts a unique history of bootleg whiskey production and secretly running it through the backcountry roads across the North Carolina border. It was moonshine running through this part of the country that helped lead to the creation of stock car racing and NASCAR.
You may have seen our local moonshine history on the big screen a few years ago in the 2012 movie Lawless, starring Tom Hardy, Shia LaBeouf, and Guy Pearce.
Now, visitors to Virginia’s Blue Ridge have the opportunity to enjoy locally-made, legally-produced liquor at the new Franklin County Distilleries tasting room in Boones Mill.
The company has had its product on ABC store shelves for the past couple years, but with the passage of recent legislation, it’s now able to operate a tasting room, providing locals and guests a beautiful facility and a menu that features a variety of types of alcohol for sampling and crafted cocktails, as well as bottles and merchandise available for purchase.
Franklin County Distilleries (FCD) features corn and rye whiskey recipes that are local family recipes that have passed down through generations. The only difference between these classic whiskeys and the traditional “moonshine” is that the company is paying taxes. Nothing illegal about "white lightning" anymore! :)
In addition to the whiskey, the company also produces a Roanoke Rum, Apple Brandy (their best seller), Red Grape Brandy, and has other exciting things coming in the future.
The tasting room is located in the heart of Boones Mill on U.S. 220. The space features a bar, a great outdoor patio with a firepit and space for live music & food trucks, and the interior includes some amazing, antique moonshine pieces. You’ll definitely want to get a picture with the mobile French still (pictured at the top of this post) that was built in 1912 and still contains all its original parts.
The menu offers a variety of drink combinations and tastings. You can opt for straight pours of the various spirits, or have them mixed in with signature cocktails. Don’t miss the El Fuego del Maize (The Fire of the Corn) - a Southwestern inspired drink made with jalapeno, habanero, cilantro, lime juice, house-made syrup, and corn whiskey. Another favorite is the Apple Pie - a cocktail with muddle apple pieces, apple cider, apple pie simple syrup, and either Apple Brandy or Corn Whiskey.
Can’t decide? Try a flight featuring a combination of spirits!
Due to Virginia licensing, visitors can only consume three ounces of spirits, but the team at the tasting room has a process in place and will guide you through the steps while ensuring you have an enjoyable, flavorful experience.
In addition to delicious, handcrafted drinks, Franklin County Distilleries also plans to regularly host live music and food trucks on the weekends, and will be a great destination in spring, summer and fall months with its outdoor patio, which is also pet-friendly.
Here are a few other details to help you plan your next visit.
25156 Highway 220
Boones Mill, VA 24065
Parking is available on both sides of the building.
Sunday: 12:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.
Monday - Tuesday: Closed
Wednesday - Thursday: 10:00 a.m. - 9:00 p.m. | Begin serving at 12:00 p.m.
Friday - Saturday: 10:00 a.m. - 10:00 p.m. | Begin serving at 12:00 p.m.
Take a look at the Calendar on the Franklin County Distilleries website for information about upcoming events. The tasting room will regularly host live music, food trucks, and special tastings. The calendar is also a good resource to know when FCD is participating at other drink & craft spirit festivals.
The Town of Boones Mill is definitely worth a stop during your drive on Highway 220. In addition to Franklin County Distilleries, there is also great craft beer on tap nearby at Hammer & Forge Brewing Company and some of the best burgers in Virginia’s Blue Ridge at Holly Jo’s Creekside Grill. You’ll find unique fine art, photography and handmade crafts at the Inkular Gallery, which is also located in Boones Mill on Highway 220.