From STAFF REPORTS
Twin Creeks Distillery will celebrate five years in the Moonshine Capital of the World, Saturday, Aug. 3 at its tasting room in Rocky Mount.
The celebration will include a bootlegging art crawl, showcasing moonshining artifacts, stories, videos and photos, free wood-fired pizza w/ Southern Smoke Co. BBQ and catering, Cold-brew cocktails with Rocsato Coffee Roasters LLC, a music jam on the streets with a local string band and, of course, moonshine tastings.
Five years ago, Twin Creeks Distillery, Inc. was formed and in 2015. They produced and sold their first legal batch of liquor in Franklin County since Prohibition times. Owner and master distiller Chris Prillaman started his distillery in Rocky Mount and after a short relocation in 2017, he is back in the county seat, located beside Harvester Performance Center at 510 Franklin St.
“We have been through a lot in our first five years, everything from making the still and processing equipment using our ‘hillybilly’ engineering, to figuring out how to get our liquor on the ABC stores shelves,” Prillaman said in a recent press release. “We sure have learned a lot in a short amount of time.”
Twin Creeks currently crafts seven products available for sale at their tasting room. Their first Sugar Moonshine, a clear spirit, 90 -proof made with rye, corn and sugar, has won several awards over the last couple of years, including a silver medal at the American Craft Distillers Awards in 2018 and a bronze medal at the 2017 NY International Spirits awards. This is the first liquor that Twin Creeks was able to get onto the shelves at Virginia ABC stores and is now available in more the 85 stores across the state. Additionally, Twin Creeks makes a rye-based product called Sweet Mash Rye and a 100% corn whiskey they call Copper Corn. They have four fruit brandies that are produced seasonally from local fruit. In the past five years, in addition to the new products they have created and distilled, they have also expanded their distribution to West Virginia and Illinois and are working on distribution in other states by year’s end.
Susan Carter, Twin Creeks Distillery’s marketing manager, noted Virginia remains the majority of the distillery’s sales, adding building relationships have become important to Twin Creeks Distillery such as the partnerships with local farmers, whose white corn and fruit are used in production of the liquor.
“We want to succeed, but we also want the community we do business in to succeed as well,” Carter said. “Partnering with Community Partnership and the Harvester Performance Center, Twin Creeks is hoping to spread the word about this iconic community. We want people to come visit us but we also want them to experience this downtown area.”
Twin Creeks has planned several co-sponsored events with the Early Inn, as well as working with Larry Landolt of Tour Roanoke, to host a number of large tour groups this fall. Twin Creeks and the Early Inn expect to host more than 150 people this fall, who will get to see the distilling process.
Chris’ daughter, Anna Prillaman, who oversees the tasting room, and local BBQ expert Hunter Wray of Southern Smoke have also partnered together to promote local business. Twin Creeks Distillery recently hosted a pre-show event for the LeeAnn Rimes concert where more than 100 people attended.
The Aug. 3 event will again see Twin Creeks Distillery partner with Southern Smoke, which will be doing wood-fired pizza for the event. The event will be held from 5 to 9 p.m. at the tasting room in the Jones Building.
Anna Prillaman said the heritage and culture of moonshing is every bit as important as the spirits themselves.
“We will also be sharing historic photos and information, as well as videos about moonshining and bootlegging in the area,” she said. “We are working with the community to compile their family stories as a part of this tribute to Franklin County spirits history.”
Anyone wishing to share their family story as a part of this compilation should email Prillaman at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Twin Creeks Distillery is looking forward to the next five years.
It plans to release a new blended whiskey this fall/winter named after a dear family friend.
“We could not have done this business without the help from so many people in this community,” Prillaman said. “We are proud to live here and glad we can share our passion for making liquor with the community and visitors alike.”