Yalaha Bootlegging Co.’s moonshine earns silver medal

One contest, one medal.

Yalaha Bootlegging Co. recently entered a contest for the first time, and its moonshine received a silver medal in judging by the American Distilling Institute.

Owners Doug and Amanda McCormack operate Yalaha Bootlegging Co. at their Blue Bayou Farms, 8222 County Road 48, Yalaha. They began selling distillery products in October.

The institute, based in California, is well-known in the distillery business for its professionally judged contests, Doug says. Yalaha Bootlegging Co.’s entry was among 80 to 100 competitors in the moonshine category, he says.

“I was ecstatic. I loved it,” Doug says of the award, joking that the closest he ever came to winning something previously was honorable mention in art class in elementary school.

The McCormacks sell genuine moonshine and brandy, all made from certified organic blueberries grown on 13 acres on the farm. The 90-proof brandy is aged in charred oak cast barrels until it turns a perfect shade of amber. The 100-proof moonshine contains no gluten or grains, making for a smoother product, Doug says.

“It’s one thing to make this product, but to actually win an award, it was surprising,” he says. “I knew it was good, but I didn’t know it was good enough to win an award.”

In July, the company will debut Southern pecan aged moonshine, made by adding pecan-soaked wood chips to the barrels, Doug says.

Yalaha Bootlegging Co. offers tours and tastings of the moonshine, brandy, and other drinks. The site includes a farmhouse kitchen, a greenhouse for vegetables, and a rustic country store, where they sell homemade fruit pies, meat pies, produce, cheeses, and more.

Doug and Amanda have two daughters, Grace and Emily, and Doug’s brother Tim and sister-in-law Sandi make pottery and pies for the store. The store is open from 10am-5pm Tuesday-Sunday. For more information, call 352.324.4069 or go to yalahabootleggingco.com.

Amanda also was happy about the award, Doug says.

“She said, ‘All your dreams are coming true,’” he says.