On Monday, Sean Koffel and Pat Dillingham, the founders of the Nashville-based American Born Moonshine, stopped by the Flyer offices to offer samplings just hours before a party officially launching the brand in Memphis.
American Born comes in three varieties: the 103 proof Original, the 83 proof Apple Pie, and the 83 proof Dixie, made with sweet tea. American Born is in local liquor stores, priced around $24.99. It's also served at various bars around town.
Sean, 31, and Pat, 30, say they met while students at Stanford, and while their backstory does include some moonshine-drinking, Pat says, "Our motivation is to honor the true story. It's not a story about a bunch of guys getting drunk."
The story, as they tell it, is a purely American one shot through with the spirit of independence, tracing back to 1680 in Jamestown and continuing through the Whiskey Rebellion, the Civil War, and Prohibition.
Indeed, the Original hews to tradition as an un-aged corn whiskey, and the Apple Pie, made with apple juice and a cinnamon stick, is based on one of the oldest moonshine recipes around. (As for the sweet tea Dixie moonshine, that was "the product of several nights of drinking," says Sean.)
The pair point out that everything about American Born is American-made — from the booze to the mason-jar bottle to the label.
The "Don't Tread on Me" emblem is embossed on the side.
The three stars from the Tennessee flag appear on the bottom on the bottle.
American Born's bottles also have a unique lid.
The top screws off, the better to pass the bottle around to share swigs. The lid also has a removable cork for more accurate pours.
The American Born site features cocktails recipes, including the General Lee, made with the Original and Red Bull.