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First legal distillery reminds me of not-so-legal establishment

May 24th, 2010

We are working on a story for our print publication this week about Cathead Vodka, Mississippi’s first distilled spirits production facility.

Bottletree Bottling Co. soon will produce an initial run of 2,500 cases of Cathead Vodka at the unassuming warehouse off I- 55.

I think it’s going to be a really good story that Nash Nunnery is working on, but it reminds me of a story from my college days in journalism class.

The class was feature writing at Delta State University, and our professor was Dorothy Shawhan. The assignment was to find the most interesting person you can and do a story on them.

My brother, who is a few years (ahem) older than I, apparently knew this woman from his days in school who ran her own (home) distillery close to the community of Boyle, a few miles from Cleveland.

Sure enough, I found her. She was in her 70s at the time and willing to share her story with me as long as I didn’t share her name.

Deal.

It turned out to be a great story. She gave me all the details about how she had worked a deal with the local authorities to leave her alone and that she had worked relatively unbothered, for years.

She even gave me a gallon of her best work after the interview.

When I presented my story to my class the following week, I brought the product with me and served a Dixie-cup full to all in the class.

Needless to say, there was much coughing and hacking for those who chose to try the “good stuff.”

My father, the Dean of Students at DSU at the time, was not thrilled when I told him what I had done.

Having said that, he did try a sample!

That was 20 years ago, and I have no idea if the woman is still producing.

The folks at Mississippi’s first legal distillery probably won’t like being associated with not-so-legal beverages, but that’s what the story has reminded me of.

I hope you will enjoy Nash’s story next week from the Cathead Vodka business venture.

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