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Whiskymag 137 July _Aug 2016

Piedmont Distillers

Catdaddy Moonshine

Junior Johnson’s Midnight Moon

Piedmont Distillers,


Piedmont Distillers, Inc is a small distillery that produces it's hand-crafted spirits in an authentic, small-batch copper pot still. It is the only "legal" distillery in the state of North Carolina.


The distillery operates in the small town of Madison out of the former train station that was built in 1915. The town is located in Western North Carolina at the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains.


“Madison is exactly what you might imagine.  A small, Southern town filled with kind folks, many of whom have lived here their entire lives,” says Joe Michalek (Founder).  “As the only legal distillery in North Carolina, we are proud to manufacture our spirits in a town with a history as rich as the moonshine we produce.”  


Piedmont Distiller's mission is to create a family of completely new products that stir the imagination and deliver the most unique and satisfying experience ever.


Their first product, Catdaddy, is a specially crafted Carolina Moonshine, draws on a private- batch recipe that contains ingredients not used in any other product. True to the history of moonshine, each batch is born in an authentic copper pot still and the hand-crafted process ensures they deliver the highest quality moonshine in every bottle.


Catdaddy Carolina Moonshine


In 2005, Piedmont Distillers introduced its first legal moonshine, Catdaddy Carolina Moonshine.  This moonshine embraces the artistry, folklore and craft of its illegal cousins.  Even the name is entrenched in history.  Legend has it only the best moonshine earned the right to be called “The Catdaddy.”  


Every batch is born in an authentic, copper still and is crafted in small batches.  Catdaddy is 80 proof and triple distilled to deliver an ultra-smooth drinking experience.  The secret recipe uses ingredients not found in any other spirit.  Joe Michalek, Founder and President of Piedmont Distillers, won’t tell you what’s in it, However he will tell you the taste is a little sweet with a hint of spice.  Michalek says, “It is really special to watch and listen to people as they try Catdaddy.  The first thing they say is, “Wow, that’s delicious”, the second thing is, “It’s really smooth” and finally, “What is that taste?”  The taste is familiar, but people can’t put their finger on it.  All they know is that they like it.”  


Catdaddy Carolina Moonshine can be sipped straight or mixed to create a number of cocktails.  Its most popular cocktails include the Kitty Cosmo, Catdaddy & Cola or Catdaddy & Irish Cream.  Catdaddy has even been used by some the best eateries to create culinary treats such as, French onion soup, crème brule, caramel sauce and marinade for ribs and chicken.


From the general public to cocktail aficionados to restaurateurs, Catdaddy’s folklore, specially crafted quantity and one-of-a-kind flavour have captured the imagination of all those who encounter it.


Junior Johnson’s Midnight Moon


In May of 2007, Piedmont Distillers and NASCAR legend Junior Johnson (now part owner) joined forces to introduce Junior Johnson’s Midnight Moon, Carolina Moonshine.  


“I am really proud to own part of this company,” Johnson said.  “I’ve done a lot of things in my life, and my history in the moonshine business is no secret.  Back in the old days, we learned to drive cars fast because we’d go to jail if we didn’t’  Now, I own part of a legal moonshine company that makes the best shine ever.  I’m no longer using pot stills down by the creek.  We triple distil the family recipe in a copper column still.  It’s smoother than vodka and better than whiskey.   It’s the shine I always wanted to make.”


“Having Junior as a partner in Piedmont Distillers has been great,” Joe Michalek, Founder and President of Piedmont Distillers said.  “He’s the real deal.  Not only is he an expert in making moonshine, but he really enjoys meeting his fans.  It has been awesome to see hundreds of his fans come to our store signings over the last several months.  People love Midnight Moon and keep coming back for more.  Junior’s truly a legend, not only in NASCAR but also in the moonshine trade.”  

Like many of the other early stock car racers, Johnson grew-up tending to the family’s whiskey business.  He helped his father work the stills during the day and ran ‘shine at night.   Johnson’s incredible driving skills enabled him to stay two steps ahead of the revenuers.  Johnson was eventually arrested while helping at the family still.  He served 11 months of a two-year sentence and then later received a presidential pardon from Ronald Reagan for his 1956 moonshining conviction.


Junior combined his understanding of how to make a car run flat-out with his legendary driving skill to become one of the most successful drivers and owners in racing history.  As a NASCAR driver, Johnson won 50 races and 49 poles.  He is tied with Ned Jarrett for 10th place on the all-time victory list.  


After retiring from driving, the legendary driver became a legendary team owner.  His drivers won 139 races and six series championships.  Cale Yarborough won three straight titles for Johnson in 1976, ’77 and ’78.  Darrell Waltrip won the other three championships in 1981, ’82 and ’85.  Prior to their broadcasting careers, both Jeff Hammond of FOX Sports and Tim Brewer of ESPN won multiple championships as crew chiefs for Johnson.  


Junior Johnson’s Midnight Moon follows the Johnson family’s generations-old tradition of making moonshine.  Every batch is born in an authentic, copper still and is crafted in small batches.  Midnight Moon is triple-distilled to create an ultra-smooth, pure, clean tasting spirit that can be sipped straight.  Junior Johnson’s Midnight Moon is 80 proof and non-flavored so it can also be easily mixed with a lemonade, tonic, cranberry juice, lemon-lime soda, etc.


Catdaddy Carolina Moonshine and Johnson’s brand, Junior Johnson’s Midnight Moon is available in liquor stores, bars and restaurants in 11 states; North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Illinois, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, Kentucky, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida.  It is also available via special order in Pennsylvania and Washington State.  

Piedmont Distillers, Inc.

203 East Murphy St.

Madison, NC 27025


Phone: 336-445-0055


No Visitor Facilities