This past Saturday we set out for something a little different. We were participating in a chili cookoff at our church that evening so didn’t want to venture too far.
The story of how we chose Muddy River Distillery is a little interesting. Monday before, being a Holiday, we were looking for fun places to visit. Not that many wineries open on Monday, so we started looking at deals on Groupon and ran across a tour and tasting deal for Muddy River Distillery. The name was familiar as we had met a gentleman Sunday at Burntshirt Vineyards who explained to us how he contracted with Muddy River Distillery to produce his brand of Paw Paw Murphy’s Moonshine. We quickly snatched up the Groupon deal only to discover tours were only available on Saturday. No worries, as only an hour away just up in Belmont, the tour and tasting fit perfectly into our Saturday schedule.
We invited some friends to meet us and all four of us arrived with a sense of excitement. The distillery is located in an old textile mill facing the “muddy” Catawba River. Honestly though , the view of the river from outside the distillery is quite beautiful.
The first thing noticed as you enter the distillery is a strong scent of molasses. Although I’m thinking the scent is artificially derived at the entry door, yes rum is the distilleries main product. Their rum is derived from carefully chosen molasses. Once checked in for your tour, everyone gets their very own Muddy River Distillery shot glass to keep, and for sampling after the tour.
Owners and proprietors Robbie and Caroline Delaney, started from scratch with no investors and no debt. Robbie leads the tour, because as he states, Caroline is the boss. All joking aside, Robbie explains that women in general have a more refined palate, and they rely on Caroline approving each new batch of rum. It isn’t bottled until Caroline says it’s good enough, and these guys are proud of their rum, with good reason. Robbie talks about the three stills, Liberty, Democracy, and the new workhorse 450 gallon still named Independence.
After the tour, it’s time to taste. Four different rums are produced and distributed in the Carolinas. Silver Carolina Rum is a small batch award winning rum produced in a one of a kind still. Queen Charlotte’s Reserve Rum is barrel aged for one year. The Coconut Carolina Rum was my favorite and their Spiced Carolina Rum was Jenni’s favorite. We brought a bottle each of our favorites home with us.
As we previously mentioned, the distillery is by contract producing moonshine for the Paw Paw Murphy’s brand. Samples of the moonshine are also included in the tasting. Afterwards visitors are allowed to mingle around the distillery and we took full advantage to snap a few pictures. As some of their rum bottles are dipped in wax, check out the nice letter they received from Makers Mark.
Robbie encourages everyone to visit the small micro-brewery located in the same complex just behind the distillery. Knowing our friends Will and Pam love a good craft brew, we quickly decided to give the York Chester Brewing Company a try. They were featuring a flight of four craft brews paired with Girl Scout cookies. Loving both beer and Girl Scout cookies, we just couldn’t resist. The brewery though small, does feature some outdoor seating.
We highly recommend this day adventure for a fun outing. Belmont is likewise a charming small town just SouthWest of Charlotte. Also certainly look for Muddy River Distillery rums in your local ABC store. I’m giving this day adventure an 87, a solid B+. Call ahead or check the schedule online to plan your tour, Well worth the fun!