The allure of moonshine eludes me, though when I've had the chance to sample the real backwoods item, I got it. But the current surge in moonshine sales isn't about that high octane, lip smacking, head cracking spirit of lore and legend. In fact, at the recently-launched Straight Up Texas spirit competition, the handful of moonshine entrants were indistinguishable from some of the corn vodkas currently on the market, with a bland, neutral resemblance to unaged corn whiskey. And with so many of the brands available in many flavors, it seems that's the model these 'shines are following.
Smaller chain restaurants are starting to include moonshine cocktails, made either with flavored versions or the straight stuff, and it's for certain the consumer for these won't be whiskey fans, but rather trend seekers who have tired of mixing fruit juice with flavored vodkas. Yet another reason why it may be time to once again reduce the number of vodkas on the back bar.
Moonshine may just be a passing trend, but if it steals share from anywhere, it's likely to be flavored vodkas. As for whether you need to take on some 'shine, consider your customer base first; younger legal age drinkers in certain parts of the country may flock to the concept, if presented correctly. We'll know better after more chains take on the moonshine challenge.