When Troy Ball moved to the mountains outside of Asheville from Texas, she didn't know much about moonshine. But once she made friends with her neighbors, they decided to teach her. She was not impressed by the spirit's overwhelming acrid taste, and eventually, she worked up the courage to share her thoughts with her neighbor. "He goes, ‘The good stuff is kept at home,’" she recalls with a laugh. "‘They keep the good stuff, and they give away the junk.’"

Ball's neighbor promised to bring her something better: the "keeper kind of moonshine," he called it. When he delivered the jar, Ball forgot about it until a group of ladies came over to help her prepare for a horse race (for many years, she was a competitive equestrian). "I poured it for them, and they drank the whole jar," Ball says. "It was such a different product; it was night and day."

Convinced the keeper moonshine—or white whiskey, as it's known to distillers—should be available to everyone, Ball spent the next two years learning the craft from her neighbors. In 2011, she shipped the first batch of Troy & Sons Moonshine. Since then, she's expanded the line into three distinct products under the banner of Asheville Distilling: Troy & Sons Platinum, barrel-aged Oak Reserve, and Blonde Whiskey (crafted from white corn and heirloom wheat).

Through a partnership with local farmer John McEntire at Peaceful Valley Farms, Ball sourced rare, heirloom corn to provide each batch with unique Asheville character. "We've tried to create a very authentic brand that's real and has a soul," Ball says. "That fits in beautifully with Asheville, an authentic soulful place."

Troy Ball | Asheville Distilling Company
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Troy Ball | Asheville Distilling Company