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The view out back at Casey Jones Distillery
The dock and pond at Casey Jones Distillery
Casey Jones Distillery
The copper still is the heart of Casey Jones Distillery, and the key to making our spirits so special. With the Casey Jones still, we capture the rich tradition of craft – a process through and through proven to produce a superior product. In Golden Pond, Kentucky Casey Jones was a legend. In a time when it was a risk to be this kind of legend, Casey Jones built an estimated 150 stills from the 1930’s to the late 1960’s.
Even today, every bottle of Casey’s Cut is handcrafted. Our locally-grown corn is ground at our Witty Lane distillery. The ground corn is then turned in to mash by Master Distiller and Casey Jones’ grandson, Arlon Casey Jones (AJ). Each batch of the moonshine that is cooked is personally loaded by one of the Casey’s crew. To make sure that every drop that is bottled is the best, each gallon that is run is separated – gallon by gallon. We only include the moonshine that meets our taste and quality standards. Most often that bottle that you end up with has been collected and bottled with AJ watching, if not doing the himself.
Take a tour through the Golden Pond, Kentucky history. We’re born in to this handcrafted spirit. We hope that you’ll take a tour, or take a sip, and join us in appreciating this legendary Kentucky moonshine.
“Remember that still behind the hills where we peeked to see their batch? The spellin’ bee, the model-T, and Luther’s watermelon patch?” – words from “Golden Pond” by Sgt. George Everett Harrell, U.S. Army Retired, May 5, 1949.
In our store, Casey’s Corner, we have available a compilation of stories written by Mr. Albert T. Joyce, called “My Version of Moonshiners”. Excerpts like the one above, as well as some of the stories featured in our News are taken from this book. Read more about Mr. Joyce’s thoughts on Mr. Harrell and the role he played in some of his hush-hush moonshiner activities, by visiting Casey’s Corner and taking home a copy of his book.
It took revenuers more than three decades to catch Casey Jones, the king of moonshine whisky still makers “between the river”. Before he was arrested and jailed…Jones said he made stills – called “outfits” or “docks” locally – in “just about every hollow between Grand Rivers and Dover, Tennessee”. He even built one in Lyon County, directly across the Cumberland River from Eddyville penitentiary – one he admitted was “a little too close to the law for comfort”.
Jones began making stills during the hard times that followed World War I. He had never seen a still before he turned out his first one. “I made the first one I ever saw,” he grinned. Throughout his lengthy career, Jones stuck with copper as a building material. He disdained the cheaper steel because it was coated with potentially lethal zinc. “Some of the boys used steel after boiling it in lye, but I never did,” said Jones.
Using a hammer, snips, crimping pliers and a soldering iron, Jones fashioned his outfits. “They’d carry me out to where they wanted the outfit built and carry me home after the job was done,” he said. Jones charged from $15 to $25, depending on the outfit’s size, and usually got a gallon or two of whisky as a bonus.
In prohibition days, when ‘shiners complained that copper coils couldn’t produce enough whisky to meet the demand, he perfected the cylindrical condenser that almost doubled production. The device proved so popular that he built hundreds of stills with two. Unlike still makers in other parts of the country, Jones preferred rectangular rather than round, mash cookers or “cans”. Also know as “coffin stills”, Jones said they’d “fit just right” in the bed of a wagon or pickup truck.
Excerpts from the Sun-Democrat in Aurora, Kentucky, June 24, 1977, written by Berry Craig.
“Not long after that, we had to move again. Over in there, seemed people was always snooping around” – excerpt from Mr. Albert T. Joyce’s “My Version of Moonshiners”.