Our first day in Branson included some time to check out the shops downtown. Our hotel was within walking distance, and the weather was very agreeable for November. We decided to head directly to the Branson Landing, which is an outdoor shopping center that sits along the water’s edge. One of the most unique shops we found was Smith Creek Moonshine.
Still Just A Still
As we strolled through the shopping center, we noticed the old school still in the window of the store. This was enough to draw us in to check out the store. Inside we found that the display included some background information about this liquor production process. When you hear the name moonshine, many people picture a still hidden in the backwoods of the Ozark, Smoky or Appalachian Mountains. While this may have been quite often the case, the production of moonshine also took place in the cities across the nation during prohibition.
Smith Creek Moonshine plays off of the historic period of this business. Most of the decorations in the store evoked thoughts of olden days, and simpler times. While the focus of the store is on the sale of their modern age moonshine, they also feature a sampling of other items. Glasses, apparel, and even candles can be found scattered around the shop. These make good souvenirs and conversation starters.
Belly Up To The Bar
The main draw in the store was definitely the tasting area. A long wooden bar was barely visible with the large number of customers standing around. I made my way over, and squeezed in. My new neighbor noted that there was plenty of room for a new drinking buddy, although I would argue that we were reaching capacity. During my time at the bar, there was certainly an ebb and flow of samplers.
Our hostess was busy dispensing shots of moonshine, as she described each flavor. The exhibition is done in a round robin style. If you remember which flavor you started on, sooner or later she will make it through all of the others in order. With each new flavor, our hostess would describe what to expect, as well as offering ideas for flavor combinations. Some of these sounded intriguing, while others I would pass up. As the flavors flowed, my neighbors became friendlier, as well as a little chatty. After a while, we had cycled through all of the flavors I wanted to sample, so it was time to step away from the bar. It was amazing how well our hostess was able to describe the nuances of each flavor. Of course, her descriptions may have worked to create a pre-existing expectation, which we searched for as we sampled. Either way, most of the flavors had a distinct tartness, and a slight bite.
Smith Creek Moonshine Combinations
Along the walls of the store there were large displays of their namesake products. Each jar was designed to look like old school moonshine, as it has been so often displayed in movies. Mason jars of numerous flavors are displayed in groups that are designed to make tasty combinations. The free tasting was doing its job, as I noticed quite a few shoppers selecting multiple jars for purchase. It had been a nice way to wile away a few minutes, while being entertained by the hostess. Perhaps we will try this again during our visit to Gatlinburg in 2018. Have you ever tried moonshine?